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 Simonides Option

Posted by on in Culture Blogs



In his old age, the poet Simonides (ca. 556-468 bce) went to Sicily to live as an honored guest at the court of Dionysios of Syracuse, the richest and most powerful man in the world.

One day Dionysios said to him: Simonides, poets sing the praises of the gods, and know all their lore; they can justifiably be said to know as much about the gods as anyone. So let me ask you: What is a god?

That's a big question, said Simonides. Give me a day to think about it.

The next day Dionysios came to Simonides and said: So, Simonides, what is a god?

I need another day to think about it, Simonides replies.

The next day Dionysios comes to Simonides and says again: So, Simonides, what is a god?

Give me three more days, says Simonides.

Dionysios lifts his hands in the air. What? he says.

Simonides shakes his head. I find that the more I consider the question, he says, the more opaque it becomes.


I'm a witch of the tribe of Witches. In accordance with ancestral tradition, among my gods I number a planet, a satellite, a star, and several meteorological phenomena, not to mention numerous bodies of water and the collective flora and fauna of Planet Earth.*

What is a god, you ask?

Me, I'm with Simonides.



*Earth, the Moon, the Sun, Thunder and the Winds, the Sea, the Rivers et alii, and the Green and Horned Gods, respectively.






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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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