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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In Which We, the New Pagans, Get One Line

 The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt: Wilkinson, Richard H.:  9780500284247: Books


It's hard to deny the allure of ancient Egypt, a culture both physically and spiritually so self-sufficient, so self-contained, managing somehow to be simultaneously exotic and familiar. Here, if anywhere, it would seem, does one find a paganism complete unto itself, entirely unreferential to any other spiritual perspective.

Though I've never been Kemetic myself—I have even been accused (jestingly, to be sure) of anti-Kemetism (!)—my pagan career does indeed owe a debt of gratitude, if indirectly so, to the Black Land and its culture, Zilpha Keatley Snyder's 1968 teen novel The Egypt Game having opened my eyes to the possibility of actually doing pagan ritual today.

So, while Richard H. Wilkinson's 2003 The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt may not entirely live up to the promise of its title—complete, after all, being a pretty broad claim—it does indeed serve as the most compendious storehouse of the Two Lands' gods and goddesses that I know of.

Pagans—by which I mean us, the modern pagans—even get one line at the end.

From the last paragraph of the book's final chapter, “Epilogue: A Lasting Legacy”:


There is also a vast modern interest in ancient Egypt which often focuses on the civilization's gods and goddesses—ranging from the detached study of scholars of comparative religion to the fervent efforts of latter day pagans who desire to resurrect the ancient cults (Wilkinson 243).


"[T]he fervent efforts of latter day pagans who desire to resurrect the ancient cults." As acknowledgments go, it may not seem like much. But acknowledgment it is, and (for once) acknowledgment without sneering tone or patronizing condescension.

It's taken a lot of time and work to get to this point, and gods know that there's much remaining to be done. But here's what we've managed to achieve: we, the new pagans, have made ourselves a fact that even non-pagans can't deny.

When you think about it, that's really a pretty impressive accomplishment.



Zilpha Keatley Snyder (1968) The Egypt Game, Atheneum

Richard H. Wilkinson (2003) The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, Thames and Hudson


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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.


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