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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Into the Dark

Gods, it's dark.

These mornings I'm mostly up by 5: dark outside, dark inside. We've already lost Summer's long twilights. Now the Sun goes down and wham! it's dark, with nary a time between.

In a moon's time, paradoxically, I'll be able to navigate in here at this hour without turning on lights, what with all the ambient urban light reflected from the snow.

But for now, with the leaves still on the trees, and the creeper on the side of the house, I'm moving by feel.

Every few years, we hold our Samhain on an island at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. In the stone-built WPA hall with its central hearth, it's easy to forget what century you're in.

What I always notice most is how dark it is.

Last time, we must have had 50 candles burning on the tables to light our feast: a spendthrift extravagance of light for this most festive of feasts. Even so, it's dark. I think about the ancestors, who viscerally understood this annual descent into darkness in a way that we, with our electric-lit lives, hardly can.

Walking up the street this morning, the beauty of the waning Moon in the southeastern sky pierced my heart like a spear, the pearly, opalescent colors of crescent and disc precisely mirroring those of the pre-dawn sky. Only early-risers truly appreciate the Wane.

Meanwhile, the Green Man dons his festive coat-of-many-colors for Summer's last hurrah. Call it the wisdom of the ancestors.

If we've got to go down, we'll go with a party.

 

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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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