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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Assessing Visions: A Field Guide

So: someone you know has Seen or Heard Someone.

We have it from the ancestors that these things do indeed happen from time to time. Maybe they've happened to you. (I've had my share of visionary experiences over the years.) When it comes to trustworthiness, though, we're clearly talking case-by-case basis. How do you tell the real from, not-real?

Forthwith, some pointers to help guide the way along the thorny path of personal revelation.

Cui Bono?

Is the visionary generally trustworthy? Who stands to benefit here? If I tell you that your patron deity has spoken to me and wants you to cut me a check for $1000 (make checks payable to: Steven Posch), well: does that really sound like something a god would say? Who is this Posch guy, anyway?


Time for a Change

Has the supposed vision made a difference in the life of the visionary? Is the visionary a better person, or the same old schmuck she always has been? Real visions of real gods make real changes in the real lives of real people.

Something Old

Is what the visionary says consistent with what we already know from the Lore about the god that's supposed to be speaking? If not, something's wrong.

Something New

Why would a god speak to someone without having something new to say? Experience suggests that, unlike (alas) human beings, gods rarely speak without a reason.

Whose Agenda?

If the gods have individual being, as Received Tradition would have it, should we not assume from this that, like other beings, They act out of Their own motivations and self-interest?

From this last derives probably the single most important operative caveat when it comes to visionary experiences:

Just because a god tells you to do something doesn't necessarily mean that it's the best thing for you to do.

We are the pagans, and the gods still speak to us just as They always have.

Even if it's really a god speaking, though, that still does not relieve us of our responsibility to think critically and to ask questions.

And is that not, in fact, exactly what They expect of us?


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Tagged in: dreams and visions UPG
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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