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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The Scarlet Letter

Oh gods, not again.

Yet another neophyte wants me to know all about visions seen, psychic experiences had, predictions made that came true just as she said.

Sigh. Aînesse oblige, says a friend of mine: Elderhood obligates.

It's what anthropologists call “credibility-establishing narrative,” and in the free-wheeling world that is the pagan community, we all have our own. But there's narrative and narrative. Funny how the very act of establishing that you're not a newbie can in fact signal exactly the opposite. Once you start in, you might as well just brand a big, red N on your forehead.

My dear beginner, look around the room. Do you know where you are? You're not in Cowanistan any more. What made you special there is normative here. Everyone in this room has had experiences like yours, and mostly we don't talk about them in front of strangers. These things (when they're real) are gifts, intimate, like sexual experiences: to be treasured, shared, if at all, with care, not (for the most part) for general consumption.


It's an elder's job to listen, so I do. If she had questions, I would try to answer them, but she's still too raw for that; she's too busy having answers. When she finally pauses for breath, I try to be gentle.

After all, these things must be done delicately.

Or you hurt the spell.






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Tagged in: beginners narrative
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.


  • *d.*
    *d.* Wednesday, 27 May 2015

    I'm sorry, but I can't help but think of Sarah A Lawless. Every time a friend shares her posts, I feel this pain.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Friday, 29 May 2015

    I remember the days of being completely on fire with it all. I could hardly wait to talk.

    So maybe I haven't changed all that much. Says the blogger.

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