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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Younger Lores

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

UPG: Unverified (or: Unsubstantiated) Personal (or: Private) Gnosis.

New information on old topics.

I've gone down on record as contending that UPG is important—indeed, necessary—to contemporary pagan observance, but that it deserves a better, more worthy, name.

Well, I've got one to propose.

 Land, Lede, Lore

Every living paganism, ancient or modern, lives at the meeting-place of Land, Lede, and Lore.

Land: Connectedness with a specific place. Realized paganisms are local.

Lede (= tribe, people): Connectedness with a specific people. Realized paganisms are tribal.

Lore: Connectedness with a corpus of inherited information. Realized paganisms are traditional.

The Elder Lore

What we may call the Elder Lore, or the Received Tradition, is the inherited corpus of wisdom—knowledge of gods, songs, stories, rituals, holidays, and the like—that we receive from the ancestors, the Elder Paganry.

“Nature” is not self-interpreting. It is through the Lore that we understand the world. Vast, conservative and yet flexible, the Lore is easily the learning of a lifetime. Its very endurance guarantees its sustainability.

That said, the Elder Lore is no closed corpus. It is a living body which throughout the millennia has changed and adapted to meet current circumstances.

So even in ancient times there was also...

The Younger Lore

What we may call the Younger Lore constitutes the new insights, ideas, and understandings that arise in a given community over time. The Old Lores have not come down to us intact. To give them life again, we—the Younger Paganry—need more, and this can only come from ourselves.

Admittedly, the new songs that we sing may not be the same songs that the ancestors sang.

But if they're good enough, and true to the Lore as we know it, they may well themselves withstand the test of time and eventually enter the Lore.

The New Lore can never, by definition, be either as prestigious or as authoritative as the Elder Lore.

But in time, Younger becomes Elder.

Because, as they say, all Lore was once New.




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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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