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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Making the Gods a Priority

When's the last time that you went out of your way for the gods?

Hospitality, Courage, Generosity: even in our times of political incivility and social dissolution, we find these ancestral virtues admirable.

Piety, not so much.

Piety: making the gods a priority in your life.

Piety is a little-valued virtue in our day. When you look at the way that many supposedly pious people act, one can certainly see why we've come to view piety as ostentatious, restrictive hyper-religiosity.

But the ancestors felt differently. For them, piety was among the foremost of virtues.

A sense of piety is a way out of the anthropocentric world of so much of contemporary culture. It reminds us that human beings aren't everything; it keeps us connected with the rest.

Piety isn't just about saying prayers and making offerings, although that's part of it too. When Earth and Sea, River and the Winds, are numbered among your gods, the implications just go on and on.

To take only one example among many: I'm wont to say that in this household, we recycle religiously.

Many, I suspect, would take this as a hyperbolic usage meaning assiduously. And certainly that's true, too.

But really, I mean it literally.


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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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