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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Breaking the Wheel

At Paganicon in several weeks' time, we'll be doing something profoundly non-pagan: anti-pagan, even.

We'll be singing seasonal songs out of season.

The pagan's work is to Turn the Wheel: to make sure (inter alia) that the Sun comes up in the morning. (Whether to read this literally or symbolically is up to you.) The greatest pagan sin is to try to stop the Wheel or (worse) to break it.

It's our conviction that to sing the right songs in the right season helps to Turn the Wheel. So to sing the songs of other seasons now in this season raises some deeply theological problems.

Well, the pagan world is a place of gradation. What needs to be done, you do in the best possible way that you can.

For my upcoming workshop All Around the Wheel: Sacred Songs and Dances from the Midwest's Oldest Coven, we'll be singing songs from all the firedays, not just the current one. That's the point of the entire endeavor: to teach songs for the whole year.

So here's what we're going to do to make it magically palatable.

First, we'll cast a circle. In the circle, one steps outside of time, so (hopefully) what we do within it will have no deleterious effect. For the benefit of late arrivals, we'll post signs on the doors: You Are Now Entering a Cast Circle. Please Do So in a Sacred Way.

We'll start off with songs for the Spring Evenday, the current fireday. Then we'll sing our way through the year—Beltane, Midsummer's, etc.—until we're back to Spring, back where we should be.

Then we'll open the circle.

In the language of Ptolemaic astronomy, one could look upon what we're doing as an epicycle: a Wheel with a Wheel.

Oh, I don't doubt that we'll hear some jocular accusations when the big blizzard hits in early April. But there we are.

Sometimes being pagan means taking risks.




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Tagged in: Paganicon prodea
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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