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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Call It Payback

In his 1693 book, Wonders of the Invisible World, New England Puritan divine Cotton Mather (1663-1728) wrote that “The witches are organized like Congregational Churches.”

By this he meant that individual covens were fully autonomous: each one ruled by a council of elders, lacking any overarching jurisdictional body.

281 years later, in 1974, Covenant of the Goddess was founded.

As it happens, founding mother Alison Harlow (1934-2004) once told me that while drawing up CoG's initial paperwork, she and her colleagues remembered Mather's words—which Margaret Murray had cited in her 1921 Witch-Cult in Western Europe—and decided to follow Mather's advice. That's how they ended up taking the charter of the Congregationalist churches (now the United Church of Christ) as the new organization's starting point.

In this way, the Archpuritan himself, Scourge of New England Witches, Champion of the Salem Witch Trials, was instrumental in helping to found the oldest, largest, and most successful organization of witches, warlocks, and covens in the world.

History is for ironists.






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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.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Wednesday, 15 November 2017

    I believe that Irony is one of those subatomic particles that our scientists are trying to identify.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Wednesday, 15 November 2017

    There must be particularly high levels of it around here.
    I hear there are plans to mine it, if they can get it past the EPA.

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