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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Satyr Dance

 I. A Satyr Remembers

 Imbolc was coming up, and I remember we were all thinking: Oh gods. The ritualists here in town were in a pretty major rut, and had been for years: it was All Brigid, All the Time, and not only that but pretty-pretty, nicey-nicey too, all gauze and Laura Ashley. Boring. “We need something with some juice in it, some testosterone,” we kept saying. So we put together the Dance of the Satyrs. The initial inspiration came from the old Roman Lupercalia, but the goat-men danced (and still do dance) all over Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, so it felt like something we could do here in Minnesota, too.

The satyrs agreed beforehand that we would all refrain from ejaculating for a week before the ritual. I made it, but just barely. I swear, that must be the longest I've gone without since I was a kid and first figured out what my body could do. I swear, by the end of the week, it was coming out my ears. I could practically taste it. I'd get aroused taking the garbage out.

So just before the ritual, we're all in back getting ready. We stripped down and Paul [B. Rucker] painted us up. We looked like something from off a Greek vase, or maybe a cave wall. And you could practically smell the spooge. It was raunchy, like a goat barn or something.


II. Covenant of the Goddess

Northern Dawn Council

Imbolc 2006


The satyrs are coming!


Spring stirs in Winter’s dark womb.

In the frozen ground, seeds erupt;

sperm thrust towards ova;

goats frisk with lust.


Dance with the satyrs.


In the heart of the ice, a flame ignites.

Throw off your mittens, your coats,

your scarves: bare your skin

to the god’s leafy lash.


Come dance with the satyrs:

help melt the snow!


The Elders of Paganistan have given this ritual a rating of R:

may contain nudity, adult situations.

May not be suitable for young children or some adults.


III. The Dance of the Goat Men


You can't build a bonfire indoors, so we did the next best thing: we pushed a big old hog-rendering kettle into the middle of the floor and filled it with snow. As people came in, one by one they lit their candles and stood them in the cauldron.


The drums come up, thundering. Suddenly the goat men are here among us, leaping, bucking, thrusting. Naked to the waist, goat-horned, bodies shining with sweat and paint, they flog us with branches of leafy sweet green myrtle. Wake up! Stand up! Sprout! Grow! Dance!


We dance, with the satyrs and with one another. A rank, semen-heavy musk suffuses the air. We bare our skin to the leafy green blows of the power of their thrusting life. We pant. We sweat. We dance.


The goat men leap the cauldron and are gone. In the ringing silence after the drums, the priestess gives the final blessing.


Outside the snow is deep and the cold profound. Half a winter awaits before we finally see spring.


But tonight we have drummed our feet on the ground to awake the sleeping Earth. Tonight we have bared our flesh to the goat men's green hormonal pulse.


And sap rises.








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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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