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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“Mother of Allah!”

 My Goddess Gave Birth To Your God -The Ancient Sage

 

Umm Allah!”

As a general rule, I think it's sound policy to be respectful of other people's gods, but, after all, a story's a story, and history's history. As an Anishinabe elder once told Minnesota storyteller Kevin Kling, with a story and a sense of self, you can survive anything.

In the Arabic-speaking world, it's customary to refer to people in day-to-day conversation not by their personal names, but by the name of their oldest child: hence Umm (“mother of”) or Abu (“father of”) Whomever. So prevalent a custom is this that (I'm told) those without children will often be assigned a fictitious child as namesake.

(A pagan mom once explained to me the logic of this. In a given community, you may or may not know the parent, but—the kid-pack being a free-wheeling entity of its own that goes pretty much everywhere—everybody knows all the kids.)

Even so, there's something about the phrase Umm Allah (roughly: OOM aw-LAW) that strikes the Muslim ear as deeply disturbing, if not downright blasphemous. (I would really recommend against using it while walking down the street in Kabul these days.)

Arabic-speaking Christians do use the phrase, of course. By the internal logic of Christian thought, it makes perfect sense: if Jesus is God, then the mother of Jesus must be the mother of God. Christians being Christians, of course, people have, down the centuries, killed one another by the thousands over this phrase.

Naturally, the pagan story is different. (With a story and a sense of self, you can survive anything.) Though no proponent of bumpersticker theology, I will admit that seeing My Goddess Gave Birth to Your God on the back of someone's car brings a smile to my lips every time.

Well, the Great Mother is Mother of All the Gods, even ones (I won't mention any names) that don't exist, or—to be, perhaps, slightly more nuanced about it—exist only in other people's heads.

We're the pagans, that's our story. If that gives us a leg up on others, well, that's history. Pagans came first: nothing can, or will, ever change that fact, even if they kill us all. Gods know, they've tried.

And, in a very real sense, has not Earth—our beloved Earth—given birth to every god the human heart has ever dreamed?

 

 

Turns Out Earth's Pulse 'Beats' Every 27.5 Million Years, But Why? |  HowStuffWorks

 

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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.

Comments

  • Victoria
    Victoria Tuesday, 28 December 2021

    This post make zero sense of many levels:

    1. "We should be respectful of other peoples gods, but" There should be no buts or that just makes us as bad as those who follow the Abrahamic religions.

    2. Arabic naming conventions are far more complex than your post suggests.

    3. "if Jesus is God, then the mother of Jesus must be the mother of God" What? Jesus is not God, to suggest otherwise is a naive or ignorant interpretation of the Christian religion. The human Mary is the mother of Jesus, she is neither older than God nor the source of her son's divinity

    4. "Christians being Christians, of course, people have, down the centuries, killed one another by the thousands over this phrase". No they haven't, schisms occurred in Christianity over the question of the divinity of Jesus not whether or not Jesus's mother was the mother of God.

    5. "The pagan story" . There is no universal pagan story or mythology; we are not people of the book.

    6. "Well, the Great Mother is Mother of All the Gods". Really in what mythology?

    7. "Even ones (I won't mention any names) that don't exist, or—to be, perhaps, slightly more nuanced about it—exist only in other people's heads" who are you to say whose gods exist, are you borrowing from the Christian playbook now and negating all gods but your own?

    8. "We're the pagans, that's our story". Are you speaking for all of us now?

    I've been a pagan for a long time and read many posts and this one is up there with the most pointless and inane I've ever read.

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