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 Book of the Horned One

All right, I'll admit it; I was pontificating.

“The Horned One's book is a book of names, not a book of stories,” I was saying, drawing an implicit contrast with those other people's scriptures.

But of course I was wrong.

You know the Book I mean. You take the oath, you're blooded, and you set your name to the Book of Names, the tribal register of Witches.


I've seen the Book, and hefted it myself (it's heavy): covers of old black leather (some say buck-skin, some say goat), bound and hasped with bronze (or is it iron?). Open it, and read the names, page after page after page, in columns: yellow and sepia and brown. (Blood doesn't really dry red.) There's my name and yours...and you and you and you. And ohmigods, there's Aunt Natalie: I didn't know she was. Page on back, leaf by leaf, and you'll see our history writ in names, back and back until you come to the first of all, First Witch.

And you know Who That was.

And each of those names a story. The story of my life; the story of yours, written down in blood. The life of our thede, our people, our tribe, comprised of all those names. Our people's sacred history is the stories of our lives, and we write them as we live them, we ourselves. Is your story one you'll be proud of, when they tell it after you?

Every name a story: and that's where I went wrong. The Black Book of the Horned is so much more than a register of names.

It's a book of names and stories.

Today, forever, and aye.










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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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