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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Imperfect Canes

As we learn—or relearn—our native paganisms, the lessons sure do come from some strange places.

After surgery, a friend needed a cane. He told me what he wanted and I went down to the store to get it for him.

It soon became clear to me that his dream cane didn't exist. Eventually I bought the one that was closest to what he wanted, on the principle that, when you need a cane, it's better to have an imperfect cane than not to have the perfect one.

Planning this year's Samhain, we needed a song to call the ancestors.

In a traditional society, of course, we would call the ancestors with the song that they themselves had handed down to us. We'd all know this song, and it would have the quality and the worthiness that centuries of honing can give.

Alas, that song—along with so much else—is now lost to us.

Instead, we have a new song which, frankly, isn't as good as I would like it to be: the dilemma of much modern paganism.

Still, at the moment I don't have a better one to put in its place.

So, for the time being, we'll use what we have, and be grateful for it.

After all, it's better to have an imperfect cane than not to have the perfect one.




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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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