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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An Open Letter to New Pagans, from an Old Pagan



To All Those Just Now Discovering Paganism:

Welcome to the real world.

If your experience is anything like what mine was 50 years ago, you're feeling a lot of excitement right now, and a sense of homecoming.

But you're also wondering: What am I getting myself into? Is this stuff for real? Am I fooling myself?

Well, I can only speak for myself, but let me tell you this much: The longer you do it, the realer it gets.

Yesterday, I took down Yule. (Up here in the North, we still keep the old, Long Yule.) Earth, the Sun: these are the heart of Yule, of course. Boxing things up, taking the tree out, I found myself thinking back to Midwinter's Eve, and to what we did then: the fire, the greens, the dancing.

Carrying the boxes upstairs, seeing through the southern windows that strong young Sun shining down on the snow-covered Earth, I melted with love. I couldn't help but think: This just gets realer and realer all the time. At this point, I couldn't be anything else, even if I wanted to; and why ever, for gods' sakes, would I want to be something else?

At this point in your pagan career, my friend, you're gathering up pieces. Some fifty years on, I find myself beginning to have a sense of how all those pieces fit together. The inner integrity of their pattern—what philosophers call “depth coherence”—simply takes my breath away.

Welcome home, new pagan. You're not deceiving yourself; you're not walking into a fantasy.

Wherever your pagan journey may take you, welcome back to where you belong. It doesn't get any realer than this.

Luck of the journey,

Deer Stands Up (Steven W. Posch)






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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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