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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No, we don't worship Satan. No, we don't practice human sacrifice. No, we don't eat babies.

Gods. Is there anything more boring than Wiccans being earnest?

Give me satire over earnestness any day of the moon. The stereotypes are a tool, up there with wands and athames, handed to us on a silver pentacle.

Back when, here in Paganistan, the Besom Brigade used to show up at the Heart of the Beast May Day Parade, black steeple hats and all, doing their precision broom drills down the middle of Bloomington Avenue while chanting cadences about eating children.

 I left my house with Hansel and Gretel

alone in the kitchen in starving condition

without any gingerbread left...


left, left, right, left.

Brilliant. Laughter disinfects.

One morning a whole coven of us were crossing the street on our way to Besom practice, brooms on shoulders.

Talk about stereotypes: a classic ("Hello, Central Casting?") Good Old Boy leaned out of the window of his truck and hollered:

You gahz luke lack a buncha wee-chuzz!

Of course we all shook our broomsticks in the air and cackled back.

Think of the Zulu Krewe, New Orleans' première black Mardi Gras association, with its in-your-face satire. Black folks in blackface. Ah, the power of ridicule. Brilliant.

The title of Danny Shanahan's delicious little New Yorker cartoon (shown above) is “Wiccan Blackface.”

Greenface, we could call it. Brilliant. Yet another arrow in the witch's quiver.

Hey, hand me the green paint, would you?

Did you know that we make it from woad?






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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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