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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If the Secret of Eleusis Were Revealed to You, What Would You Do?

 A Thought Experiment


Here it is: the only surviving text of the Mysteries of Eleusis, unlawfully committed to writing by the last hierophant after the destruction of the Sanctuary in 394 ce. After 1600 years, the Secret of Eleusis is finally revealed.

You are now the sole guardian of antiquity's most sacred mystery, knowledge of which (it is said) confers immortality.

What do you do now?

Do you guard the Mystery, or do you pass it on?

If the latter, how? Publicly, or in secret?

Do you publish the mystery, thus earning the praise of scholars everywhere, but also revealing it to the eyes of the unworthy?

Or do you remount the Mysteries? Publicly or privately? If so, how?

Where? In Eleusis only, as of old? In Greece? Anywhere? Everywhere?

Can Mysteries removed from their landscape remain the same?

Can Mysteries removed from their culture remain the same?

Can Mysteries be translated and remain the same?

How do you decide who may be initiated? Do you vet, or take all comers?

If so, whom? Pagans? Hellenes? Anyone?

In antiquity, the price of initiation was high. Do you charge a price? If so, what? If Donald Trump paid that price, could he be initiated?

In antiquity, the sanctity of the Mysteries was guarded by oath, and enforced, if necessary, by the power of the state. How would you safeguard the sanctity of the Mysteries in our day?

The mother of all mysteries is revealed to you.

My friend, what do you do?


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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.


  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza Saturday, 09 March 2019 was *I* deemed worthy to receive revelation?...
    It would depend on that...

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Saturday, 09 March 2019

    How so?

  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza Saturday, 09 March 2019

    If I'm told outright by my initiator why I was ready and worthy for this revelation ( I was old enough/smart enough/decent/chosen/gifted/kind/paid the fee/whatever), then that would be what to look for in someone when it came my time to pass it on...

    But if it was never revealed to me why specifically I was worthy..well, that would require a profound amount of self- reflection on my part to figure out why I was granted this..and that process may open up a deeper understanding of the mysteries and my relationship to them...which hopefully would grant me a better set of eyes and heart to find who else was ready to receive them..
    That's what I think, anyway...

  • Tyger
    Tyger Monday, 11 March 2019

    If the knowledge of the mystery gives immortality, then I would be obligated to guard the secret. Immortality is not something one wishes for. It is a duty. I would not put that on someone else, unless...I no longer could fulfill that role and someone else has been found who can do it better and is willing to take up the torch.

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