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.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Bridges: Some Reflections on the Nature of Sacrifice

At 6:05 p. m. on Wednesday, August 1, 2007, the I-35 bridge over the Mississippi in Minneapolis collapsed. Thirteen people were killed.

Thirteen. On Lammas Eve.

Of many rivers, it is said that they require a life every year. The Mississippi, our “strong brown god” (Tom Eliot) takes many more than that. Last year, here in the metro alone, it was 17.

In the old days, they say, they used to offer to rivers. Nowadays, we mostly don't. But the sacrifices continue, as they will while ever the world endures. Willing or unwilling, they offer themselves, because sacrifice is in the nature of things.

Minneapolis, spanning the Mississippi, is a City of Bridges. Bridges are uncanny places, betwixt and between, neither here nor there. Maybe that's why in folklore they're so often associated with the Horned One—excuse me, the Devil—the “Lord of the In-Between” (Cei Serith). They say that every bridge claims a life in the building: foundation sacrifice. They say that the first to cross a newly-built bridge belongs to Himself. In the old days, they'd drive a dog across first. Or maybe that's just a story.


The bridge from which we sing the Sun up on Midwinter's morning every year is the self-same bridge from which poet John Berryman leapt to his death in 1972. Surely a bridge dyed red with the blood of a poet will stand for long and long.

The world itself, the ancestors said, is founded, premised, on sacrifice, being on the premise of non-being, and He of the Horns Himself both Offering and Offerant: god of the spanning in-between, foundation sacrifice of the world.






Last modified on
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.


  • Celeste Lovecharm
    Celeste Lovecharm Saturday, 07 February 2015

    My husband crossed that bridge just moments before that happened. He had decided to leave a few minutes early that day. Otherwise he may have been one of those 13.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Sunday, 08 February 2015

    Somehow in those moments when our lives touch the Big Things, one can only sit back and wonder. My gods.

  • Please login first in order for you to submit comments

Additional information