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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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 What is fire? A science-backed guide to flames, and how we've made them. -  Vox


I gaze into the heart of the fire. I can't say I'm not feeling a little nervous.

It's my first conversation with N since, under my direction, we enacted the Men's Mysteries, the secret rites of initiation by which the tribe's boys become the tribe's men.

From my perspective, things went well. To judge from the shine that's been on this year's initiate ever since, they went very well indeed.

Still, N is something of a senior statesman among us: a man of unquestionable integrity, my elder in age, experience, and wisdom. He never speaks anything less than the truth, and what he thinks, matters.

Slowly, he nods his head.

“Well, I'd say that was a good one,” he says, “Just the way we've always done it.”

He pauses.

“And if it wasn't, it's how we always should have been doing it.”

Somehow, the fire seems to burn a little more brightly.

“Beer?” I ask, opening a bottle.

He leans forward to take it.

“I'd say we earned it,” he says.




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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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