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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Sowing Sparky's Ashes



I've already been on the road for half an hour when, not without some inner grousing, I turn the car around and prepare to retrace my trail. That's the nature of sudden epiphany.

I finally know what to do with the rest of Sparky's ashes.


Singer-songwriter Sparky T. Rabbit died in 2014.

A third of his ashes we sent down the Mississippi.

A third have remained with his husband.

The rest I've kept since his death in the urn that will hold my own ashes some day, with no clear idea of what to do with them.

Sudenly, urgently, I know.


Through all the days of our Grand Sabbat, the urn, glazed with swirling patterns of transformation and rebirth, stands at the foot of our camp stang.

Now, on the final morning of the gathering, I carry it down to the circle where the sacred Fire burns: where, the night before, we had reddened the altar with the blood of a god. Having made our final offerings to the Fire, and extinguished it with wine, we follow the Horned up and out of the woods, his rippling flanks dappled with sunlight as he walks.

He waits for us at the edge of the meadow, its long golden grasses starred with white Queen Anne's lace and sky-blue chicory. I present the urn and he takes it tenderly. It nestles like a baby in the crook of his arm.

One final wave, and he turns and walks up the hill. Meadowlarks sing as he reaches the skyline and slowly sinks down into the earth: calves, thighs, buttocks, back, head, tine-tips.

Or maybe he just walks off into the sky.


Later, we take the urn down to the Bull Stone and strew Sparky's ashes, mingled with seed wheat from the night before, around its foot.

We wash out the urn: first with wine, then water.

Hail and farewell, Sparky T. Rabbit: reborn to the people. Consummate ritualist that you were, I think that you would have approved of our rite for you.

Especially the part where you got to be carried off by a naked guy.



Photo: Melanie Moore










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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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