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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If Paganism Had a Motto...

In the Old Language of the Witches, a verbal artist (i.e. a bard) was called a sceop: literally, a “shaper.”

Likewise, “creation” was sceopung, shaping; “creator” scieppand, a shaper. (In Modern Witch, we would say sheppend.)

For the ancestors, to make was to shape: to mold what already is. This view of art—and of creation generally—stands at variance with the more recent notion of creation ex nihilo: from nothing.

As myself a shaper, and long-time observer of the creative process, I find it axiomatic that, in fact, nothing comes from nothing. Even the most original art always derives from what went before, if only by reaction.

As the ancestors saw it, the artist's work is to shape the old to the new, and the new to the old.

In this way, the present becomes a conversation of past with future.

“I love things that look old and new at the same time,” my friend Sparky T. Rabbit once said to me.

If “paganism” had a motto, that might well be it.






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Tagged in: Bard creativity Hwicce
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.


  • Andrew
    Andrew Friday, 05 January 2018

    "In the Old Language of the Witches"

    Witches weren't confined to speakers of Old English.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Saturday, 06 January 2018

    No indeed. As the Egyptian tells Big Anna in Edgar Jepson's Horned Shepherd, "All the world is the country of the Wise": there are witches among all peoples.

    But Old English was the language of the Anglo-Saxon Hwicce, whom some (among them maverick archaeologist Stephen Yeates) would call the tribe of Witches.

    In our day, through happenstance of history, English has once again become the mother language of the Witches.

    What a world, what a world.

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