Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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The Language with No Word for 'I'

Faery Mounds


'Do Love Thee'

The Prydn have no word for “I”.

The Prydn are novelist Parke Godwin's answer to Margaret Murray's question: What if those that we have come to call “Faerie”, the Old People of the Hills, were actually the aboriginals of the Land? What would, what could, such a culture look like from within?

Godwin's Arthurian novel Firelord (1980), its prequel The Last Rainbow (1985), and associated short stories—"Finnegan's Hearth" (1977) and "Uallanach" (1988)—are well worth the reading; not so much for their Arthurian content—Rosemary Sutcliff does it all better, at greater depth, and much more true-to-period in Sword at Sunset—but for the entry that it offers into the fhains and crannogs of the Prydn.

Their mind-set is wholly collective. Their language has no word for “I”, “he”, “she”, or “they”.

A's Pronouns Be:

We  Thee   A

A's a good dog. Really, do love thee.


Everyone's Favorite Subject


In Magick [sic] Without Tears, weird Uncle Al Crowley—the man that put the "icky" in "magickian"—recommends to would-be students of the arcane that, as an exercise in magickal [sic] training, they should pick a common word—he recommends “I”—and eliminate it from their vocabulary.

For each slip, he says, they should gash their forearm deeply until it bleeds.

Well, you can put that knife back in the drawer where it belongs. (That's just Uncle Al being Uncle Al.) Indeed: for a narcissist like Crowley to lay aside the First Person must have been utterly hellish.

Still, one has to wonder. What would the world be like if, for even a brief time, we all voluntarily laid aside Everyone's Favorite Subject?


The Other Epidemic


There's an epidemic raging in America today, and I don't mean covid. This one's just as bad, and (in the end) has probably killed more people than the Red Hag herself.

I mean the epidemic of Othering.

Republicans other Democrats. Democrats other Republicans. Evangelicals other non-Evangelicals. Hets other homos, homos other hets. Leftists other Rightists, Rightists Leftists. etc., etc., ad nauseam and unto ages of ages.

I don't need to tell you how socially corrosive this epidemic of othering has become. Othering destroys. Othering kills.

The Mother's truth: we're all in this together. How, then, do we inoculate ourselves against this mental pandemic?

Well, for one, we start by refusing to make ridiculous generalizations about one another.


In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Comes out as a 'We'


I'm checking in at Paganicon 2023. As an optional add-on to your name tag, you can specify pronoun preference, if you like.

Oh, pronouns. Talk about self-obsession. Talk about privilege. Talk about entitlement. Somehow, I always want to tell people: Here, meet my friend Fatima. She's a sub-Saharan mother whose children are dying of starvation.

Go ahead: tell her about your bloody pronouns.

(My own working parameters: Tell me your name and [if any] pronouns, and I'll do my best to use them to your face. That's as far as your jurisdiction extends.)

Our obsession with pronouns is a symptom: in the othering pandemic, we other even ourselves.

Well, quite frankly, I'm tired of hearing about you, just as you're probably sick of hearing about me, and talking about Them is just another deadly exercise in Othering.

Time, then, for some mischief. Just how big a spanner can I throw into the social works?

I pick up the pen and write.

My Pronouns Are:



Seriously, enough about You and Me. Let's talk about Us for a change.






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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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