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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There were once two brothers who loved the same woman.

In a fit of rage, seeing which way the wind was blowing, the elder killed the younger. He tore him limb from limb, and threw the pieces into the Mississippi.

Now it so happens that this woman was a witch-woman. She paddled her canoe up and down the Mississippi, singing songs of power as she went, gathering the pieces of her lost love wherever she found them.

She found his head.

She found his torso.

She found his right arm.

She found his left arm.

She found his pelvis.

She found his testicles.

She found his right leg.

She found his left leg.

Up and down the River she paddled, from the Headwaters to the Gulf, singing songs of power as she went. All the parts of her lost love she found, all but one. A bullhead had eaten it.

So she made another from a cottonwood root instead.

She sang the pieces back together again. She sang her love back to life.

One last time they loved; then she buried him.

From this last loving, she quickened and bore a child.

That's where our people come from, the River-witches of the Mississippi.

Well, that's the story.




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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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