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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Mudra of Mystery

It's the hand-sign that, in the language of the Mysteries, means: Mystery.

The ritual has just reached its high point. The Mystery has been revealed.

How do you communicate: What you have just seen is a mystery, not for revelation elsewhere?

You can't simply say, Don't talk about this.

Then you'd be talking about what shouldn't be talked about.

No. Instead, you give the gesture. You say it with signs.

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Cowans Need Not Apply

The “Roommate Wanted” notice was written in Theban.

In Theban: the “secret” alphabet of the witches.

On a bulletin board in a corner laundromat in a pagan neighborhood in a large American city near you.

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The Secret Heart of Samhain

The god stands naked at the temple door.

Crowned with antler and autumn leaf, he leads us, also naked, out and down.

Into the Underworld. Into the cave. Into the belly of the Earth.

Darkness of darkness.

He kneels to her. He raises his flame.

It dies.

In darkness, we sing. Asking for life, we sing.

In darkness, the apple passes, and we eat. Life has a price.

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Living Gold

Consider the common marigold.

New World native, bearer of mythic names, flower of the dead.

In the 18th century, Swedish botanist Karl Linne named the genus Tagetes, for Tagus, the Divine Child of Etruscan mythology, who sprang from a plowed furrow one day and gave law to the Etruscan people.

The common English name means “Mary's gold.” Mary, of course, is the de facto goddess of Christianity, but since Robert Graves' day certain witches have known their goddess as Mari as well.

Well, these flowers are her living gold.

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Dancing with the Devil

How do you become a witch?

Soon told.

On Friday night, you go up to the old Indian graveyard at the top of the ridge.

You take off all your clothes, and you dance for the Devil.

Then you put your clothes back on, and go back home.

The next Friday, you do the same, and the Friday after that. Seven Fridays in a row you do this.

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A Reading at Samhain

Och, now. So you've been busy this year, sir. Running for President, and all. And elections nearly upon us.

Well, let's see what the cards have to say.

Oh. Oh dear. Well, no, sir, I'm afraid not. Though it's grieved I am to have to tell you so.

No, no, no one else implicated here, sir: whatever's coming, it's all of your own doing. Coming back on your own head, it is, plain and simple. Nothing to do with anyone else, blame who you may.

Oh, my. Financial losses I see here too, sir: major ones. All a direct result of this year's doings, if I may say so. Irreversible, they are. That's money lost you'll never see again, oh no.

Well, sir, it doesn't look good. In short, sir, you've damaged your brand, and there'll be no coming back. At the top of the Wheel you were, but it's all down, down, down from here, and I don't see another coming-up for you, ever, at all, at all.

And the cards don't lie, now, sir. Indeed they don't.

Here, here, now, we'll not be having with that kind of talk around here. I'll say goodbye to you, sir. You'll leave now, you will.

Goodbye. Goodbye.

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A Forgotten Samhain Classic

It's the Eve of Samhain in the Royal Hall at Cruachan.

The fires burn, the mead flows freely; already people have begun to draw indoors. For this night, of all nights, is indeed dark and full of terrors.

While waiting for the feast to be served, Aillil proposes a feat: Who will dare to tie a withy around the ankle of the corpse that hangs from the gallows on the hill of Cruachan?

One by one the heroes try. One by one, they return in fear and failure.

Then Nera mac Niadhain says: I'll do it.

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  • Haley
    Haley says #
    Wonderful recommendation, Steven, thank you.

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