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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On Pagan Guilt

Many come to the new paganisms as refugees from other traditions, hoping for a new life free from the burden of guilt.

Oh and woe, I've sorry news for you, my friend: pagans feel just as guilty as anyone else. We just feel guilty about other things.

Some things that pagans feel guilty about:

  • Using “disposable” diapers.
  • Not buying organic.
  • Not doing what you said you would.
  • Driving vehicles dependent on fossil fuels.
  • Driving instead of walking.
  • Throwing away the container of slimy mold from the back of the refrigerator instead of composting the mold, and washing and recycling the container.
  • Breaking an oath.
  • Using the cheap bottle of wine for the libation instead of the good stuff.
  • Wishing on “Hypocrite Mitch” McConnell a long, unhappy life full of suffering, instead of a clean, quick death.
  • Lying by omission.
  • Nuclear waste.
  • NIMBYism.
  • Not eating healthily.
  • Throwing stuff away. (Every pagan knows that you can't ready throw anything away.)
  • Buying stuff you don't need.

Ah, my friends, but Pagan Guilt is guilt with a difference. Non-pagan guilt is about breaking rules.

Pagan guilt is about not living up to your own values.

Another advantage: Pagans don't feel guilty about feeling guilty.


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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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