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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Steven Posch

Steven Posch

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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The Mystery of the Golden Goddess

Many are the mysteries of the Russian land.

But of these, none is greater than the mystery of the golden goddess.

They say that long ago in a sacred grove on the banks of the Volga was kept a golden goddess.

Far and wide spread the fame of this golden goddess, and from far and wide did people came to see this wonder, and to offer to her.

And this was the manner of their offering: that they would hang all manner of gold from the branches of her grove.

And when the priests who tended this goddess had gathered to themselves sufficient offerings, they would melt them down and make from them yet another goddess around the first, the former enclosing the latter.

In this way, the golden goddess grew ever greater down the years, goddess within goddess within goddess, and with her grew her fame.

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Dark Stranger

There's a Dark Stranger standing in the living room.

He who, yesterday, stood between Earth and Heaven, now stands between ceiling and floor.

The son of the forest now comes indoors.

His fragrance fills the house.

Soon we will bestow him with lights, and all the royal heirlooms of the feast: every one a prayer.

But for now he stands in shadow, and naked beauty.

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The Witchiest Number

Call it triskaidekaphilia.

Lucky thirteen.

Thirteen is an oddball number, which is why witches like it so much. The ideal coven: the god and his twelve companions.

“Six and seven,” witches used to say: a greeting, back in pre-Blessed Be days. For reasons obvious to those in the know, this was a covert expression of Craft identity. In Italy they said “Five and eight” instead, for the same reason.

The ancestors counted in tens and twelves. Twelve was the “long ten,” as 120 was the “long hundred.” That explains why the teens don't start til thirteen; it used to be “three-ten.”

So thirteen means, “the cycle begins again.” Thirteen is both an end and a beginning.

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    We used to have Triskadelaphilia parties in our homw every yoear on any Friday the 13th. It was fun! I wrote an article on it just

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The Great Rite of the Moment

In the end, the goddess and god of the witches are Being and Being-in-Duration: Mother Nature and Father Time, one might say.

And we live in the Great Rite of the Moment.

We think of Time as composed of Past, Present, and Future.

But that's not how the ancestors saw it.

Their archaic world-view is preserved in the English tense system.

The Old Language of the Hwicce—the original Anglo-Saxon Tribe of Witches—had only two “tenses”: past and non-past.

That's why we say I was and I am, but when we want to talk about what has not yet happened, we have to say I will be.

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Winter is Icumen In

Winter is icumen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm.
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.

Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damn you, sing: Goddamm.

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Too funny, Thanks for sharing! Tasha

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The Christian Pagan

An old boyfriend of mine actually became pagan because of the Jehovah's Witnesses.

His mom never read any of the “literature” that they dropped off for her, but he did. It talked about paganism a lot.

Don't dye Easter eggs, they're pagan, it said. Don't have a Christmas tree, it's pagan. Don't celebrate Halloween, it's pagan.

“This pagan stuff sounds pretty good,” he thought.

 

The single most fascinating chapter in Michael Dowden's book European Paganism is the one titled “The Christian Pagan.”

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  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    I han't read Dowden, but you have convinced me to do so. However, if i understand you, I find myself between the two of you. I th
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    If you mean Dowden, Gus, I think that that's very much his point: that there are more differences than similarities between the ol
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    We are called NeoPagans for a reason. This rather central distinction appears lost on the author.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Easter Eggs, Christmas trees, and Halloween, all the fun bits of the year I enjoyed growing up and someone frowns on them for bein

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Rhymes with 'Pagan'

Well, kind of.

bacon

brazen

Canaan

Copenhagen

Dagon

dragon

flagon

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