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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Does Planet Earth = Goddess Earth?

One day, while Mother Earth was visiting Athens...

So begins a story from Robert Graves' Greek Myths. Theologically speaking, I find these words profoundly disturbing. I thought so when I first read them years ago; decades on, they still trouble me.

The same problem arises in Isaac Bonewits' Litany to the Earth Mother:

R: You who are called Gaea among the Greeks....

V: Come to us!

R: You who are called Tellus by the Romans....

V: Come to us! etc.

So let me get this right: we're calling Earth to come to us. Call me opaque, but if there's a logic here, I fail to see it.

In both cases, we proceed from the presumption that, in some sense, Earth-as-Goddess is different to, and distinguishable from, Earth-as-Planet.

Such a view, I suspect, is premised on a binary body/spirit worldview: Planet Earth as the Body of Goddess Earth.

But are the gods spirits? If so, what does that mean?

Personally, I long ago rejected body/spirit duality as a profoundly dangerous idea. It seems to me that such a belief leads ultimately, and inevitably, to a devaluation of the physical.

Well, you can draw your own conclusions. To say that an idea is dangerous says nothing about its veracity or lack thereof.

Is Goddess Earth coextensive with Planet Earth?

Me, I would answer, Yes: in Hindu terms, they are “non-different.”

Agree or not, how you answer this question will say much about how you see the world.










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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.


  • Chris Sherbak
    Chris Sherbak Thursday, 21 November 2019

    This dichotomy/tension continues in ADF today: there's a spot in the Core Order for "The Earth Mother" and I regularly have issue with it and my fellow religionists. I typically do >>notChardin's "noosphere" and/or Tim Zell's Gaia from CAW. For me She is not quite those either, but some earth-bound/connected spirit/entity that I can often feel around me as I'm out and about and trying to be open to Her. (And really, it doesn't feel all that energy as gendered but Earth Mother is how RDNA hetero-normalized it so I'm just going along because of history/convention/tradition.)

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Thursday, 21 November 2019

    I tend to view Spirit as quintessence the fifth element. Along with Earth, Air, Fire, and Water I see it as part of the matrix of reality.

    Because of an intense dream I had way back in the 70's I view the Earth as male in the form of Earth Father Serapis and address the world that way every morning.

  • Jamie
    Jamie Thursday, 21 November 2019

    Mr. Posch,

    I follow the Divine Iamblichus' beliefs on the nature of Godhood. Mother Earth governs the physical matter of the surface world. She is not the land itself. The land is the clay, She is the potter at the wheel. Even She Herself follows the plans laid out by other Goddesses and Gods, higher up the divine chain of command.

    Best case scenario: An appropriate subordinate being (be it archon, angel, hero, or daimon), designated by Her, will attend your prayer/summoning ritual/magical spell.

    The Goddesses and Gods have a universe to run, and a natural order to uphold. Our little human dramas and spiritual needs are not generally worthy of Their personal attention.

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