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
Paganonormativity

Oh gods, it's Posch being outrageous. Again.

 

An important part of learning to think in Pagan is what I'm going to call Paganonormativity.

The presumption of Paganness.

There's no need to say, “This song is sung only at Samhain and at pagan funerals.” It's enough to say, “This song is sung only at Samhain and at funerals.”

“Pagan funeral” is redundant. (Hey, we invented them.) All funerals are presumed to be pagan unless otherwise specified.

Thinking in Pagan, gods is normative; "God" gets quotation marks, as derivative.

In human history, paganism is normative. Non-paganism is the aberration.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Thing About Leadership

The priest-in-residence of our regional pagan land sanctuary was taking us to see the sacred spring.

Never having been that way before, we kept stopping to look, for indeed, there was much to see.

The priest kept going. He never looked back. Eventually we lost him.

In time we found his trail, and he brought us into the secret valley where, among its lost orchard, the Ancient Tree bears its golden apples, and the Hidden Spring flows sweet and pure.

In this Season of the Ancestors, I remember my teacher, Tony Kelly (1943-1997).*

He, too, led without looking back.

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Interesting observation. I prefer to lead by example rather than any other way. That way you don't have to worry about losing sigh

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Bragging on the Warlocks

So, I'm going to take a little time to brag on my brother warlocks. In traditional language, this is known as a vaunt.

I'm just now back from a weekend with the warlocks at Sweetwood sanctuary, among the incomparable autumn vistas of the hills and misty hollows of Witch Country's Driftless area.

The weather was miserable, cold and damp. It rained torrentially most of the time.

I haven't had so much fun in months.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Moving the Longstones

I don't know how you go about moving standing stones where you live.

Here's what we do around here.

In these things, of course, it's always best to start in a sacred way.

Before the day's work begins, we gather around the stone. We lay out the eventual foundation offerings on the foot of the longstone. Then we pass around a horn of beer, and everyone takes a sip.

The rest of the beer we pour out over the stone.

Then we pack up the foundation offerings, and the day's work begins.

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Wonderful! Thanks for sharing.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I should add that we've taken to doing the same little ceremony at the end of the work day, as well.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    We're building a shrine at our regional pagan land sanctuary. The Stone will be the pivot point where Earth marries Sky, where Peo
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Why are you moving them? just wondering...

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Are You Bi?

So far as I can determine, it was the late Ray Buckland (1934-2017) who first coined the ghastly word duotheism to describe Wicca's two-deity, God-Goddess system.

Well, Uncle Ray accomplished many things in his 83 years, and all New World pagans owe him a deep debt of gratitude.

But a poet, he wasn't.

The term duotheism first saw print in the introduction to his 1974 The Tree: A Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft. In the absence of any earlier citations, my guess would be that it arose out of the theological ruminations that went into the making of Seax Wicca.

Alas, this amateurish botch of a coinage still sees light every now and then. It still makes me cringe every time.

In fact, the coinage was unnecessary. In the language of religious scholarship, a two-deity system is known as a bitheism. To this poet's ear, at least, this is a much less painful option.

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Poly, me too, in that while I believe the All is One, it is made up of the Many, yes?
Pagan Ms. Manners: Does Skyclad Mean Barefoot Too?

Dear Pagan Ms. Manners:

Does skyclad necessarily mean barefoot too?

It's hard to raise a cone when you can't feel your feet.

Frostbitten in Fargo

 
Dear Bitten:

Having grown up in the North Country, where "Minnesota skyclad" means no parka, I can thoroughly sympathize with your problem.

Here's the thing to remember: skyclad liberates because it gives you the freedom to adorn the body without having to cover it.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I hear that most of those advice columnists just make up most of the letters.
  • john stitely
    john stitely says #
    While your articles are always thought provoking, , the answer to the question seems obvious and is summed up in the proverb,
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    A writer could hardly ask for higher praise. Thanks for writing, Angela.
  • Angela
    Angela says #
    Every time I see an article title pop up and am intrigued enough to click and read, I don't dont often pay enough attention to see

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Reweaving the Reft in Time

The ancient Greeks dated years from the (mythic) foundation of the Olympic Games.

The ancient Romans dated years from the (mythic) foundation of the city of Rome.

We, however, date our years from the (mythic) birth of Christ.

Call it “Common Era” if you like, but clearly we need a more fitting way to count sacred time. We need some other pivotal mythic event from which to number our years.

For my pentacles, the best proposal to date comes from Merlin Stone's seminal 1979 essay “9980: Repairing the Time Warp,” in which she proposes that we date our old-new year-count from the beginning of agriculture.

For better and for worse, agriculture has changed everything that came after it. It's an event of both historic and mythic proportion. Better yet, it's something that we all share.

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Interesting idea, and perhaps impractical for actual use, however interesting all the same.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Well, since all dating systems are, in effect, arbitrary, I suppose some would recalibrate their calendar in the wake of new archa
  • Kayly
    Kayly says #
    But the changing dates are the problem. If we set our current year as 12,017 and in ten years, they find that agriculture is 10,0

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