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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A Venery of Pagans

 Reader Alert: Contains material some may find offensive.

I was reading my favorite "non-pagan-but-regularly-writes-about-pagans" author, S. M. Stirling.

"[T]he Brannigans were a family as prominent as any in Sutterdown," he wrote, "and usually contributed the senior High Priestess and High Priest of the town's clutch of covens" (Stirling 352).

"'Clutch of covens,'" I thought, "that's good." Like “clutch of eggs,” presumably.

They call them "venereal terms" (from the hunting, rather than the amorous, form of venery): poetic miniatures of collective being. An exaltation of larks. A murder of crows. A parliament of owls.


A clutch of covens.

A venery of pagans. (Some might say: "...venality....")

An argument of witches.

A herd of cowans.

A cackle of crones.

A purism of Reconstructionists.

A bristle of brooms.

A hangover of Druids.

A pomposity of high priestesses.

A collage of eclectics.

An exclusion zone of initiates.

A hatching of newbies.

A grove of Green Men.

OK, your ball.

Wanna play? 


S. M. Stirling, The Golden Princess (2014). Roc.

The locus classicus of venereal terminology is, of course:

James Lipton, An Exaltation of Larks (1968). Penguin.

Above: Lucas Cranach, The Golden Age (circa 1530)



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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.


  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven Thursday, 13 August 2015

    I just finished reading that book, too!

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Friday, 14 August 2015

    "A battery of drummers."

    This one's directly from Brazilian Portuguese (e.g. Candomble usage: bateria).

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