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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Jealous Religions and the Secret Pagan

Sunset...Andes Mountain photo & image | landscape, sunrise & sunset, nature  images at photo community 


“Those f*cking guards!”

My Kemetic friend is furious. He's telling me about his dream-come-true, once in a lifetime trip to Egypt: finally he's able to be in the temples for which his soul has yearned for years.

But he couldn't worship there, he couldn't offer. The guards would intervene whenever they saw anything even vaguely religious occur.

Oh, the curse of the jealous religions.

Pagans, of course, have had such obstacles placed in our way for millennia.

Fortunately, there's a way around.


One of my favorite books as a kid was Ann Nolan Clark's 1953 Newberry Award-winning Secret of the Andes. Little did I know at the time how central it was to be in my career as a pagan-in-training.

Our hero is a young Peruvian boy whose family, since the Conquest, have been the secret guardians of the hidden treasure-cave of Atahualpa, the last Inca emperor. Before he can enter into knowledge of his family's secret responsibility, he must first undergo the Testing.

In one unforgettable scene, an old man stands facing East. In his heart and mind, he recites the ancient prayers of the ancestors that welcome golden Inti, the splendid Sun, back into his waiting world.

To the stray observer, though, remarks the narrator, he looks like nothing more than an old indio, standing by the side of the road.


This is the immemorial wisdom of the secret pagan: Let the enslavers think what they will. In our hearts and minds, we can be free.

Thus will the Old Ways live, until our freedom come again.


Hidden pagan, stand impassive beneath the gaze of the profane, the unclean. In the secrecy of your own heart and mind, make the offering. To the guard, son of a jealous god, you will appear a sight-seeing tourist, nothing more.

Later, in a time and place of freedom, make the offering in true.


Some day, in his people's hour of greatest need, the King Who Sleeps will arise from his centuries-long slumber.

When he does, he will find his treasure, faithfully preserved, still waiting.



For Sirius










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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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