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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Night of the Fireflies

 Species Spotlight: The Magic of Fireflies | Three Rivers Park District

 

“Why do they hate us so much?” a boy growing up Evangelical once asked his father.

(True or not, this is a common belief among Evangelical Christians.)

“Because so many Christians are such jerks,” his father told him.

 

There are forms of Christianity that I, as a pagan, respect, even admire.

With its intellectual vacuity, utter lack of social conscience, and political triumphalism, Evangelicalism is decidedly not one of them.

 

Like many gender-non-conforming kids, I grew up socially isolated.

Elementary school wasn't so bad. Having grown up with me, the other kids mostly just accepted me for who I was. Junior high, though, was hellish. There I was the weird kid, the outsider. (There must be easier ways to learn self-reliance.) In high school I finally made some friends among the other egghead creatives. I loved my new friends all the better for understanding the worth of what I'd worked so hard to gain.

Then I lost most of those friends again to the so-called “Jesus Revolution.”

By then, my pagan identity was already fully formed. I could see their so-called “revolution” for what it actually was: a total abrogation of intelligence, an unthinking embrace of the worst kind of reactionary conservatism.

(I was right. My former friends and their co-religionists were precisely the demographic that betrayed us to Reagan and his successors, including Trump.)

Suddenly, the witch-boy was the pariah again. Finally, I decided to end it.

 

When you live near a lake, you don't need a gun to kill yourself. I went down to the woods along the lakeshore that night expecting never to come back.

But suddenly the woods, which had always been my refuge, were filled with fireflies.

(When I say that I was raised in the woods by white-tailed deer, I really mean it.)

That was the night that I first met Himself, the Stag That Walks on Two Legs.

By the time that I went home again that night, everything had changed.

 

The Craft saved my life.

Everything since, including what you read now, is an act of loving gratitude.

 

My high school friends were wrong.

Love saves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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