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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Which Way to Hell?

Which way to Hell?

For some, the Land of the Dead is a place of fire, but here in the North we know better.

It's ice all the way.

Which way lies Hell? Norðr ok níðr, says Snorri: “To the north and down.” "North and nether," one might say.

Oh, she's beautiful but deadly, Winter. Whether she comes as screeching black hag or ice-blue maiden, her embrace withers and kills.

Seven below as I write this, with predicted high of zero. The house creaks. Even sunlight feels cold.

By day, the White Lady walks her land.

By night, the Wild Hunt rides the sky.

O children of the North, be wise.

O children of the North, be wary.


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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.


  • Mab Nahash
    Mab Nahash Thursday, 05 January 2017

    I wonder how much of the sacrality of that feeling of snow stillness springs from the potential danger? I'm in Savannah, GA, and there's no opposite menace in Southern summers, just discomfort. The landscape here is always tied pretty closely to danger (alligators, sharks, swamps, snakes, poisonous everything). Perhaps its time for me to honor it specifically. Any suggestions on how to go about that?

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Friday, 06 January 2017

    You've shot to the heart, Mab, the very heart of pagan spirituality. Danger and reverence are close kin. A safe "nature" is a falsified "nature."
    What do we do? To start, we honor. We write them into our sacred narratives. If need be, we propitiate.
    The ancestors knew what to do. As always, their Lore will guide us.

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