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Steven Posch - PaganSquare - Join the conversation! - PaganSquare

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.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Two Stories in Collision

 I

Craig's mom was up from Texas to see the new house: a proper Episcopalian lady, gracious, mannered, savvy. She'd heard about the pagan guy that her son lived with, but you could tell she was working hard to reserve judgment.

One afternoon, while I was off at work, the doorbell rings. Naturally, she says: “I'll get it.”

She opens the door. The man standing there is holding the dripping, severed head of a deer.

“Hi, is Steve at home?” he says.

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Bwahahahaha. Are you going to tell us the Rest of the Story?

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Song of Brigid

Last year I came across a traditional Irish hymn to Brigid, Gabhaim Molta Bríde. Struck by its haunting tune, taut metaphors, and the precision and restraint of its lyrics, I sat down with a prose translation and an Irish dictionary to work up an English version that would fit the tune while remaining as true as possible to the original text.

The song was first collected in the 19th century. How old it may be is impossible to say. But reading M. L. West's magisterial Indo-European Poetry and Myth, I cannot fail to be impressed by just how faithfully this hymn preserves the characteristics of ancient Indo-European hymnody. In style and content, Song of Brigid compares with the hymns of the Rig-Veda.

It delights me that the song applies as well to goddess as to saint. One can hardly help but admire a hymn that can be sung by pagan and Christian alike.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Standing Stones

What's more pagan than a standing stone?

I say, let's raise them all over the place. Front yards, back yards, large, small, public, private, no matter. We need our standing stones. A landscape needs its standing stones. Shrines. Axes mundi. Herms. Facts on the ground.

Garland them, wreathe them, anoint them, rub them with ocher. Lay offerings at their feet. Wrap them (yes, I've seen it done) in strings of lights. Dance around them. Pray to them. Standing stones.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Novelist Alan Garner (Brisingamen, Owl Service, et al.) writes that in the part of Cheshire he comes from, every standing stone ha
  • Linda Boeckhout
    Linda Boeckhout says #
    I love standing stones. They represent both cultural and geological history of the land (as they are often found where a glacier u
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    An excellent thought! I like it!
Crown of Lights: or, How the Witches' Goddess Got Her Candles

The variously-named February cross-quarter festival draws near, and in covensteads all over Witchdom they're polishing up the candle-crowns.

Often called a Lucia Crown, from its association with the Swedish pre-Yule feast of St. Lucy, the candle-crown would seem to have its origins in the late Medieval period. At least one Byzantine emperor is said to have worn one during audiences. One guesses that the crown's haloing effect was not lost on envoys.

We next find the crown of lights in early modern (16th-17th century) Germany, where it is worn by the Christkindl. Protestant Reformers eager to dethrone the gift-giving St. Nicholas from his December 6 feast and the hearts of children, replaced him with a Christ Child figure who brought gifts on Christmas Eve. (The custom of Yule gifts goes back no further than this.) In folklore, the Christkindl became a fairy-like character, generally personified in real life by a young girl. Early illustrations often show her dressed in white, wearing a crown of candles, distributing gifts to children.

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Why Witches Keep Cats: A Folktale of the Latter-Day Dobunni

They say that long ago, before things were as they are today, the Moon fell in love with her brother.

She tried everything she could think of to get into his bed, but he was having none of it. Only Cat shared his bed, no one else.

So Moon goes to Cat one day and says: Cat, trade shapes with me.

And Cat, being Cat, says: What's in it for me?

Says Moon: Someday I shall bear a great many children, and my children will always make a place for you at their hearths.

And Cat, being Cat, says: What else?

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  • Miles Gerhardson
    Miles Gerhardson says #
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    So it is.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

They call it "Jewish Christmas": Chinese food and a movie.

I suppose, then, that Witches' Christmas would be Indian food and a movie.

I don't know what it is about witches and Indian, but there sure does seem to be something. No doubt there are individual Jews who don't do Chinese (overexposure as children, probably), and doubtless there are witches out there who don't relish alu gobi.

But bring some palak panir to your next coven potluck and then tell me I'm wrong.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    1835 Central Ave NE. If you mean the "Holy Land" bakery/deli/butcher's/ grocery, yes, that's it. Best Middle Eastern grocery in to
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    My favorite Indian grocery in town is Little India on Central Avenue. They have everything. Miles, any chance you're going to be
  • Miles Gerhardson
    Miles Gerhardson says #
    I am hoping to wrangle the $$...Is Little India...by that Jerusalem "complex"?...U going to Paganicon?
  • Miles Gerhardson
    Miles Gerhardson says #
    Where do you do your shopping for ingredients? I live in Minneapolis...and would appreciate the "hook-up"..not wanting to "run all

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Visible Gods

So I'm standing there naked in the kitchen.

Mind you, this isn't something I make a point of doing. It's the end of January, and this is Minnesota. Early in the morning, the kitchen is just as cold as the rest of the house, no place to stand around naked.

You have to understand that at this time of year, the North becomes a desert. Our intense cold wrings every trace of moisture from the air. If you don't slather on moisturizer, you turn into an ice-mummy. Fortunately, there's no need to resort to bear-grease, like in the old days.

So, I'd just toweled off from the shower and rubbed down with body-lotion. Waiting for my skin to absorb it, I ran downstairs to plug in the waffle iron.

That's when it happened.

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