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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In the Name of the Horns

Horns ward.

The Sign of the Horns has been a sign of power since long before it became a Heavy Metal cliché.

Because horns aren't just for beauty or display.

They're weapons. They ward because they warn. Theirs is the power of protection.

You could call the Horns a mudra. (In Witch we usually just say: hand-sign.) You could call them an invocation. (You know Who I mean.) In Anthropologist, you could call them an apotropaic: a turning away, an averting.

The Horns have been warding off the hostile, the unchancy, the ill-favored, for centuries, if not millennia.

You can mutter “Horns ward [me]” or “Horns protect [me]” if you like. It certainly won't hurt.

But only make the Sign and the Horns will do their work, seen or unseen, spoken or unspoken.

Some might call this a fire-fight-fire scenario: like warding like, the unchancy against the unchancy.

Witches being unchancy people, I've even seen the Sign made against me a few times, usually on the other side or behind the back where they think I don't see.

But of course I always do.

I just smile and move on. I know your magic. Horns? I've got my own: you can see them if you know how to look.

But that's the Law of the Forest: power against power, horns against horns.

In the Name of the Horns.


With thanks and a tip of the black pointy hat to J"B"H.



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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.


  • Thor Halvorsen
    Thor Halvorsen Sunday, 22 May 2016

    As a Deaf Pagan, I have to add that not only do they represent the pagan horns, Heavy Metal horns, but in the language of the American Deaf, in American Sign Language, it also means bull-**. Just saying.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Sunday, 22 May 2016

    Ever a good averter, to be sure.
    And it does make the grass grow.

  • Tony Lima
    Tony Lima Thursday, 26 May 2016

    Yeah, yeah, horns symbolize mostly good things, one of which is feared by many is in super-sexual capabilities that may even survive dead - This means directly or indirectly what I call PSEM or Psycho-electromagnetism (Yang) awareness and practice @ large.
    It's ruled by partisan attitudes, yet how the most creative people just had or just feel to the ways of partisan values firstly, then they become like dear Dads and Moms as they age.

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