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.
A Snuff Film with a Happy Ending, or: Mel Gibson Likes Naked Guys

You can't fool us, Mel Gibson. We've been around the maypole a few times, and we've seen your films.

You really like naked guys, don't you?

Well, hey, I'm with you on that one. But here's the other horn of the stang: You really like to hurt naked guys, don't you?

Sorry, Mel, you lost me on that one.

"Holy" Week is coming up, and with the prospect of churches in covid lockdown just like everything else, chances are that lots of Christians will be pulling the old Bible-epic CDs off the shelf.

(No gloating here, O pagan reader: when Beltane rolls around, you'll be dusting off The Wicker Man too, along with the rest of us; admit it.)

No doubt many will be watching that 2004 classic of sanctified pornography, The Passion of the Christ.

(Amazing, isn't it, how that second article transforms an otherwise commonplace phrase into sheerest bombast? And if you think the title is bombastic....)

Give it a look-see, if you can stand it: every lash-stroke laid on with love.

(On second thought, don't bother; just take my word for it.)

And the close-up of the hammer driving the spike through Jim Caviezel's outstretched palm: that's Mel's hands doing the ghastly work. Oh, I see the theological point—laid on, as usual, with the subtlety of a sledgehammer—but, ye gods. To your god you're doing this? Gee, Mel, I'd hate to be your boyfriend.

Years ago I used to date a guy whose flatmate was big into BD/SM. The flatmate had an entire wall covered with dozens and dozens of crucifixes.

Crucifixes and sado-masochism: even a poor hapless pagan boy like me could see the connection.

Ye gods, I'd think every time I went past the crucifix-wall, I'll never understand Christians.

Still, you've got to give Mel credit for genre-bending. A snuff movie with a happy ending: who else but Mel Gibson could dream of such a thing?

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The Emperors Are Bare: Some Larger Lessons of the Covid Outbreak

Maybe there are too many human beings.

Virtually all of our current ecological problems—climate change, among them—come down to the fact that the number of human beings on the planet far outstrips Earth's carrying capacity. If we don't do something about it ourselves, "Nature"—i.e. the gods—will take care of it. (They're doing that now.) Is that really what we want?

Maybe globalization isn't such a good idea after all.

If the world's supply of Thing One is made in Country A, and suddenly for some reason Country A can't produce Thing One any more, then there's a problem. Maybe relegating manufacturing to Somewhere Else isn't really in our long-term best interest. Maybe we need to make locally what we need locally.

Maybe raising most of our food Somewhere Else isn't such a good idea after all, either.

Before World War II, most American cities were surrounded by farm belts. As supply chains stretch thin, can we see why this might be a good idea today?

Maybe routine air travel needs to become a thing of the past.

Face it, routine air travel is responsible for the spread of covid-19. Maybe the airlines are an industry whose time has passed.

Maybe the age of Global Religion is over.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, All good points, and well said. Praise be to the Goddesses and Gods. I've been saying a lot of the same things about

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Walk-Around

Here's one of those rare universals in human religion: you honor something sacred by walking around it.

In technical language, this is known as circumambulation, from the Latin circum, "around" + ambulatio, "a walking" (cp. amble) < ambulare, "to walk." In plain old English, the Sacred Language of the Witches, we could call it a "walk-around."

Probably the most famous walk-around in contemporary religion is the sevenfold circumambulation of the Ka'aba in Mecca during the annual hajj. But this is just Islam's version of something that pretty much everyone, everywhere, does.

A standing stone. A sacred tree.  A sacred spring. A statue. A temple. You honor them by walking around them.

There don't seem to be many particulars in this observance. In Western traditions, generally it's done with the right hand toward whatever Hallow it is that you're circumambulating, i.e. deosil. It's best to go around some sacred number of times: three, nine, thirteen.

Needless to say, you don't just walk. There's inner work here to be done while you're doing your walking: prayer, meditation, the singing of a hymn.

Of course, this isn't just something that humans do: it's much larger than that. The Moon circumambulates Earth, Earth walks-around Sun. The Sun circles the Galactic Center. Circles within circles within circles.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    And dogs....
  • Katie
    Katie says #
    I have the mental image of a cat turning and turning around their chosen napping place. We know cats take sleeping seriously. The
  • Kile Martz
    Kile Martz says #
    For some time now, when I visit my spiritual home, it's been my habit to walk around the perimeter of the ritual circle three time
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    An added dimension to casting circles.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Meditation in a Time of Plague

Stand before it, the Life-Tree: of all trees, biggest and best.

Step in under those Branches.

Lie down beside that mighty Bole, beneath those spreading Branches.

Lie down, look up, and see.

See the Bole beside you.

See the Branches above you, raying out in each direction.

See the Circle of Branches around, the great round rim of twig-tip.

Bole, Branch, Circle. Do you see?

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When It Comes to Corona Virus, Your Magic Will Not Protect You

Gods. Pagans.

I've been hearing stories. So, I'm just going to say it.

Magic will not protect you from corona virus.

Magic will not protect you from corona virus.

Magic will not protect you from corona virus.

Not your magic. Not nobody's.

Magic will not protect you from corona virus because that's not how magic works. Magic is a finger on the scales of possibility, not a headlock that wrestles reality into submission.

For gods' sakes, hear the voice of experience. Back in the early days of the last Great Plague, I can remember hearing from a number of Radical Faeries that “Faeries can't get AIDS.”

Well, they were wrong. Faeries did indeed get AIDS, just like anybody else. Their Faerie magic did not protect them from the AIDS virus, just as your magic alone (whatever its variety and vintage) will not protect you from corona virus.

Let me add that every single one of those guys is dead now. They all died—predictably—of AIDS.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Work of Love

More than 35 years ago, we kindled a fire in the old way, wood on wood.

That same fire has burned here at Temple of the Moon ever since.

Candle lit from candle, fire from fire: the long, slow, patient work of years, keeping the Fire burning.

At midnight tonight, by order of the governor, the state of Minnesota goes into covid lockdown. All non-essential businesses are to be closed. All temples and other houses of worship will shut their doors. People will shelter in place.

So today I head across the River to pick up a case of temple candles. Some things are too important to lay down.

Here at the temple, the twice-daily offerings will continue. The prayers, the praise will not end.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Nine Measures of Weirdness

There's an old song from Roman-age Judea that's cited in both the Talmud and Robert Graves' classic novel of Goddess revisionist history, King Jesus, called “Ten Measures of Wisdom.”

It goes like this:

Ten measures of Wisdom

were given to the world:

Israel took nine,

the rest took one.

 

So it continues through the various nations of the world:

 

Ten measures of Lechery

were given to the world:

Arabia took nine,

the rest took one.

 

Ten measures of Sovereignty

were given to the world:

Rome took nine,

the rest took one.

 

Ah, fun with stereotypes. My personal favorite:

 

Ten measures of Magic

were given to the world:

Egypt took nine,

the rest took one.

 

Now, I don't know how long you've been around the pagan community. But let me ask you something.

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