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 Which Our Intrepid Blogger Confesses to Committing a Theft

Let me tell you the story of how, as a young man, I committed a theft. From a church, no less.

A friend had invited me to a service at his Lutheran church. Afterwards, during coffee hour, I wandered into the church library. There on the shelf, I saw it.

Of all unlikely things to find in a church library: a copy of Robert Graves' iconoclastic 1946 novel, King Jesus.

Don't be put off by the title, or the subject matter. This novel is Graves' revisionist Goddess history of that erstwhile Jewish prophet, and—Graves being Graves—it's matriarchy versus patriarchy in the Battle of the Millennium.

Spoiler alert: the Goddess wins.

(No big surprise there. Anybody that knows Her knows that, in the end, the Goddess always wins.)

Although it lacked a dust cover, the book was otherwise in pristine condition. I pulled it off the shelf and opened the cover. It was a first edition.

I checked the “Date Due” card in back. The book had belonged to the church for more than 20 years. (No doubt someone had donated it: unread, to all appearances.) In all that time, it had never once been checked out. So I stole it.

Ah, the things you do for love.

Now, it's true that King Jesus is filled with material that I daresay a pious Lutheran would find disturbing, if not downright blasphemous.

Still, that's no excuse for my action.

Years later, I looked up the price of a first-edition copy of King Jesus and sent a check for that amount to Messiah Lutheran Church. I hope that they spent the money well.

Thus is honor satisfied, if not (which remains to be seen) karma. If there's karmic debt involved, I'll be glad to pay it.

Well, call me immoral. (See if I care.) Theft is wrong, but even all these years later I still can't quite bring myself to regret this one.

And you know what they say.

The Goddess always wins in the end.




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Tagged in: Robert Graves
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.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Friday, 14 December 2018

    I ordered a copy of King Jesus from Barnes & Noble. I also ordered copies of Jesus through Pagan Eyes, and Magic in the New Testament along with it.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Saturday, 15 December 2018

    Happy reading!

  • Tyger
    Tyger Saturday, 15 December 2018

    I found a hardcover copy at B&N for $3.95. The NOOK version is $10.99.

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