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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Dark Light

There's a phenomenon of pagan ritual that I've noticed again and again down through the years.

I'll call it the “dark light.”

The pagan calendar (day begins at sundown) and pagan schedules (most of us work day jobs) being what they are, we do a lot of our ritual at night. This means that we do much of our ritual by firelight.

Bonfires, candlelight, torchlight. Which is it to say that, by the usual electric-lit 21st century standards, there isn't very much light.

And yet consistently, again and again, as I think back to any given ritual, I find myself remembering more light than could possibly have been there.

But it's not just a matter of memory. In ritual, colors are brighter. Bodies, faces, things seem to glow as if from within, transfigured.

I think of the Grand Sabbat. Cross-legged up there on his altar, the Horned glows, I swear it. I swear it. He's lambent: the light comes from Him.

No doubt dark light is a physiological matter: firelight reflects differently than Sun-light or Thunder-light (i.e. electricity). No doubt some of it is psychological: in low light, we see more focusedly.

Still, there it is. In ritual, things shine.

With a dark light, they shine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

Comments

  • Greybeard
    Greybeard Sunday, 01 April 2018

    Call me old fashioned. The taper candles are to hold for reading text or ritual script. I don't care if the newer members prefer to use small LED flashlights to read in circle, I still use the candle. It just seems more "witchy."

    Control of fire is the archetypal human characteristic. Even the electric lights are produced by some human controlling a fire somewhere.

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