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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Revolution at Harbor Creek High


high school Archives - JSTOR Daily


I lost a lot of high-school friends to the so-called Jesus Revolution.

We were all searching for Truth in those days. (It's a very high school kind of thing to do.) My identity as a pagan was already well-formed by then; I wanted nothing of their neo-con return to their parents' ways that they thought was so radical—there was nothing revolutionary about the Jesus revolution—or their embrace of feeling at the expense of thought.  Me, I wanted both.

(For the same reason, I'll never forgive Bob Dylan for his sometime embrace of Christian Fundamentalism. The attractions of Christianity I can well understand, but why choose the stupidest kind? Some betrayals are deeper than others.)

Those were my friend friends. My thinking friend I lost to yet another conversion. There's no Existentialist like a high-school Existentialist.

J__ was a self-taught intellectual. (It certainly had nothing to do with our high school curriculum.) He kept preaching at me (gods, I hate preaching) about the great German philosopher Nitchsky, and Frenchmen Ondry Giddy and Jean (rhymes with "bean")-Paul Sart (rhymes with "fart"). “Who put the 'stench' in Existentialism?” I kept teasing. J__ was not amused. Nor was he impressed with my observation—pagans being the People of the Long View—that fad philosophies come and go, “Existence precedes essence” being only the most recent, and certainly not the last, of that bandwagon parade. No, he thought that he'd found Truth.

(Eventually, the need for community won out over conviction, and J__ went crawling back to his natal Evangelicalism. So time makes cowards of us all.)

So in those days, I was a pagan alone. The lake, the woods, and the deer in the woods pulled me through, as they always have, but my post-high school life became a quest for my People.

Not Truth, then, for me, but the True.

In time, I was to find them, find you, find us: the True, the Original People.

Auntie Em, there's no place like home.



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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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