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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The Baby in the Basket

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

In the gospel of Luke, an angel appears to some shepherds to tell them where to find the Child of Promise.

"Here's your sign," says he. (Sorry, monotheist angels are all male; Jewish ones are even circumcised.) "Look for a baby lying in a feedbox."

Now there's something you don't see every day, Chauncey.

So (angels aside) where would one look for a pagan Child of Promise?

Some people quote prophets, but pagans tend to quote the poets. They're the ones that talk most about the gods, after all.

And in this case, at least one poet (Robert Graves, to be specific) provides a clear answer.

Look for the Mother to cradle her Newborn in a harvest basket.

Liknites, he is even called in Greek: He of the Líknon, the winnowing basket, cradled in willow.

(I suppose that in pre-agricultural times, it would have been a gathering-basket.) 

The meaning here is not far to find. Next year's harvest is born with this year's Sun. The future begins now.

Well, there's your sign, O you who would seek to find the Young Hero, the Child of Promise, the Midwinter-Born.

Look for the baby in the basket.


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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.


  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham Wednesday, 23 December 2015

    I love your posts!

  • Ian Phanes
    Ian Phanes Friday, 25 December 2015

    I've said for years that Graves was a prophet for modern paganism.

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