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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How the Horned One Came to Big Valley

 

 

In the firelight, our call begins almost as a whisper.

Horned One...Horned One...Horned One...

Borne on the drums, it rises, insistent.

HORNED One...HORNED One...HORNED One....

The witches are calling to their god. Out of some primal core of longing, a hundred voices throb together as one.

HORNED! ONE! HORNED! ONE! HORNED! ONE!

 

From the woods, a horn calls.

He...Is...Here!

A second horn calls, answering the first, then a third. A clutch of people, men and women, emerge from the trees, bearing torches. Riding, unbelievably, above them....

As His bearers approach, their pace quickens. Soon they are running, running toward us.

 

At a distance of more than 30 years, I remember the horns calling back and forth to one another, the bobbing torchlight, the frenzy. I shake my head at the dangers. That wooden palanquin didn't even have edges for bracing the feet. We would never take such risks today, never. Truly, it was a madness, the madness of a god.

 

I know what I would see if I looked at the faces around me: wonder, incredulity, fear.

But I do not look. None of us do. Our eyes want nothing more than what they already behold, the longing of centuries.

On the altar, He shines, unbelievably tall. His naked male beauty catches the heart. Between His antlers, constellations wheel.

In the wondering silence, His voice is gentle.

Come to Me, My People.

As one, we mass forward.

 

The Big Valley sabbat was the first old-style Witches' Sabbat of modern times.

The year was 1989.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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