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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Better to Take No Omens

 Palamedes, knucklebones and virtual dice rollers | Original D&D Discussion

A True Story


The priests of a certain sanctuary wished to build a shrine on a particular piece of land. Accordingly, they summoned a diviner to take omens for the project.

“Build elsewhere,” said the omens. “Build here, and in five years' time, there will be no shrine.”

Now, the priest-kind misliked this divination, for the site was indeed a choice one. They brought in a second diviner who, as you will not be surprised to hear, soon found omens more to their liking.

Without even offering sacrifices of propitiation, as one might expect, the priests soon oversaw the building of a fine shrine in the chosen location.

Five years later, this shrine was destroyed by a flood.

Let you doubt my tale if you wish; I heard it from the diviner himself.

Better it is to take no omens, than to take, and disregard, them.


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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.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Monday, 01 August 2022

    I remember reading that the Romans were known for rejecting omens they didn't agree with. And making terrible mistakes when they defied the omens they didn't like.

    I also remember reading in one of my high school classes that the Puritans also believed in omens up until the witch trials. If I remember correctly hail broke the windows of Cotten Mathers house 4 times while lightning burned it down 3 times. The Puritan leadership instead of taking this to mean that they were doing wrong decided that they should stop believing in omens.

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