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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What Do You Swear On When You Take a Public Oath?

You're giving testimony in court, or maybe you're assuming public office.

In both cases, it's customary to swear on a holy object.

So, Pagan: on what do you swear?

Strike me dead if I'd swear on one of their accursed books.

Strike me dead if I'd swear on a book at all.

In the old days, there were statues of the gods in law courts for people to touch while taking their oaths. In these barbarous days, a small one would do, I suppose: provided it were handled with respect.

You can swear on the coven sword, I'm told. (An Alexandrian trope, I believe.) Good luck with the metal detectors.

Me, I'd swear by the Oldest, as our people have sworn forever.

So witness Earth (bend and touch her).

So witness Sky (raise hands).

 

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Tagged in: oaths Old Gods
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

  • Ian Phanes
    Ian Phanes Wednesday, 13 June 2018

    I've thought that an altar pentacle could work for a witch.

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Wednesday, 13 June 2018

    I once read that the ancient Egyptians took their oaths on an onion. Something about those concentric rings in an onion.

    I like yours about taking oath by land and sky, though I might include the waters that circulate between the two.

  • The Cunning Wife
    The Cunning Wife Thursday, 21 June 2018

    Traditionally, Slavic people would take a lump of earth in hand while making an oath and then eat it. I like it.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Friday, 22 June 2018

    Makes sense: who is as stable or trustworthy as Earth?
    And, of course, she knows everything.

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