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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God(s) Rest Ye, Unitarians



If you don't yet know Christopher Raible's no-holds-barred parody of the Christmas classic, from his 1964 Songs for the Cessation of Strife, you probably should.


God(s) Rest Ye, Unitarians


God(s) rest ye, Unitarians:

let nothing you dismay.

Remember, there's no evidence

there was a Christmas Day.

When Christ was born

is just not known,

no matter what they say.


Oh tidings of reason and fact,

reason and fact,

glad tidings of reason and fact.


There was no Star of Bethlehem,

there was no angel song;

there couldn't have been wise men,

for the trip would take too long.

The stories in the Bible

are historically wrong.




Our current Christmas customs

come from Persia and from Greece,

from Solstice celebrations

of the ancient Middle East.

This whole damned Christmas shpiel

is just another pagan feast!




Some years back, while teaching a Songs for the Winter Solstice workshop at one of the local witch stores, I had the pleasure of meeting Christopher Raible's granddaughter. Her grandfather had passed away a few years before, but she assured me that he would have been absolutely delighted to know that the pagans were singing his song.

So no, we haven't culturally appropriated from the Unitarians (now there's a verbal abomination for you); we have permission.

Of course, the song's anthropology is a little dated. Our current Christmas customs do not, in fact, come from Persia, Greece, or the ancient Middle East. Mostly (to speak for the US, anyhow) they derive from Germany and the British Isles.

Well, there's a stickler for historical accuracy in every pagan circle. When used judiciously, this kind of intellectual integrity must be regarded as a strength; at the very least, it keeps us honest.

So, with the very kind permission of Rudd Rayfield, who wrote it, I hereby offer a breath-of-fresh-air update for Raible's third verse, which to my mind actually improves on the original:


Our current Christmas customs

come from Germans and from Norse,

from Solstice celebrations

when the Sun has run its course.

This whole damned Christmas shpiel

is quite the pagan tour de force!


Just like they sing it in Paganistan.



With thanks and a tip of the black, pointy hat, to Rudd Rayfield








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Tagged in: Yule carols
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.


  • John Zelasko
    John Zelasko Friday, 10 December 2021

    Yule tide greetings!
    Anyone curious about the true "reason for the season" may want to use the Youtube search engine with wordings like, "Christmas is Pagan" to get a variety of quite good videos that are truly enlightening. I also use Bing videos from Microsoft, but many of the offerings take me to Youtube. Nevertheless, as an astrologer and amateur astronomer, I agree with the findings.

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