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 Danger of Thinking in Pagan

the guests had one month fewer

they do not speak the language of nature

(Saami poet Nils-Alsak Valkeapää)

 

Och, maybe I've just gone too far into the mists.

Cowans just don't make sense any more.

I find that I can't even bring myself to write (or say) “God”—with a capital G, like a name—as cowans do, without the quotations. The way that they use the word is wholly a misuse, a misconstrual, of an old word, a fine word, our word, which never meant, nor means, nor can mean what they mean by it.

That's the problem of thinking in Pagan. Once you start to do it, it makes so much sense that, in time, nothing else does.

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  • M.T. Noah
    M.T. Noah says #
    i can't say i'm a decades long person in this fold. but i can't say i'm not. the 1/2 trained grandchild of someone who also cann

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In Praise of Tribalism

Among the chattering classes on both the Left and the Right, it's become fashionable to decry what they call “Tribalism,” meaning solipsistic hyper-partisanship.

You'll notice that none of those doing the decrying actually belong to a tribe.

Those of us who do know that, in fact, they're wrong.

Tribalism is not the problem. Tribalism is the answer.

It's the lack of true tribe that is the problem.

Human beings are tribal animals. We're born with a need to belong: to be part of the life of an ongoing people, a group larger than a family but smaller than a nation. This provides us with a sense of belonging that nothing else can satisfy.

Since the longing to belong is inherent, when we don't have it, we seek it out. The tribe-substitutes that we end up with instead are all too often either something destructive—like a gang, or the Party—or something ephemeral and utterly trivial, like the Game, or the Concert.

Pagans, I would contend, are an emergent tribe, at least in potentia. Thou mayst not be a pagan alone. All pagan religions are tribal religions: they come with an inherent affiliation to a particular people. A paganism without a people is an incomplete paganism.

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Record Attendance at Twin Cities Pagan Pride Leaves Stomachs Rumbling

Minneapolis, MN

Well, it was a beautiful late summer day at one of the great local beauty spots, so there were plenty of non-pagans at Minnehaha Falls regional park yesterday, too.

Even so, pagans turned out in such numbers for the 17th annual Twin Cities Pagan Pride celebration on Saturday, September 8, that the only food vendor in attendance had run out of food by mid-afternoon, leaving behind plenty of hungry pagans.

Numerous merchants reported record sales.

Reportedly, Pagan Pride organizers had originally contacted a second food vendor, who had declined to participate on the grounds that such an event would not generate a large enough turn-out to be financially worthwhile.

Moral: Pagans turn out. Pagans like to eat. Pagans spend money.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Saturday I went to the 60th annual Armenian Festival. Armenian refugees wanted a church of their own and raised the money to buil

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The Original People

We are the pagans.

We are the Firstborn.

We were here in the beginning.

We have been here all along.

While humanity endures, we will always be here.

We are the pagans, the Firstborn: the Original People.

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Living Deliciously

Wouldst thou live deliciously?

So the Dark Lord* whispers into Tamsin's ear, from behind, at the climax of Robert Egger's 2015 film The VVitch: A New-England Tale.

(Anyone who knows the Master well will recognize that nape-nuzzling whisper from behind.)

Forget all the nonsense about the Devil and temptation. We enter here into the realm of the Animal God.

See Him that we call the Horned as the collective body of animal life on planet Earth.** Embrace Him—embrace Life—and live deliciously.

Or reject Him and what He has to offer, and endure a joyless existence of crabbed misery.

“Buddha” was wrong. Yes, life is full of suffering, but there's joy, too. Embrace the Horned, embrace the life which as animals, is our inheritance by right. Embrace bodily existence, for all it's worth.

This is the gift of the Horned, lord of this world: the gift of a god.

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Building the Temple of Your Dreams

OK, here you go: I'm writing you a check. I want you to build your ideal pagan temple, spare no expense.

So what would it look like?

Would it have columns? Standing stones? Would it have a dome? Would it even have a roof at all?

What is it made from? Wood, stone, brick? Poured concrete?

What is its footprint? Is it circular? Square? Rectangular?

What's around it? A grove? An encircling temenos wall? Gardens? Is there a sacred spring, a sacred tree, a sacred stone?

What does the inner sanctuary look like? Is it large, the gathering place of many, or is it small and intimate? Are there windows? Is it dark and private, or filled with air and light?

What existing temple does it most resemble? Stonehenge? New Grange? Karnak? The Parthenon?

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, My ideal temple would be inconspicuous. An ordinary commercial structure hidden in plain sight, preferably near a rive

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Govan and the Fairy Horse

In the court of the royal dún was found one morning a strange stallion, known to none. He was a well-made beast, and beautiful, but strangely-marked, white with red ears, like the cattle of the sidhe. But he laid back his ears and bared his teeth, if any dared approach him.

Only for young Govan, of all the king's warriors, would he stand still.

So Govan mounted the horse, saying, Take me where you will.

The gates were opened, and they left the dún. To a green hill the strange horse bore him, and as they approached it, the hill opened, and they entered.

Govan found himself in a high and mighty hall, filled with fair people in many-colored clothing, and in the high seat a lordly woman, fairest of them all.

Welcome, son of Gawan, she said, so he dismounted and stood before her.

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