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.
Standing with Our Backs to the World
A few years back, some local witches held a ritual at Mounds Park in St. Paul.
Mounds Park is one of the most sacred (and beautiful) places in our area, where 2000-year old burial mounds line the bluff that is the highest point in Ramsey County, overlooking the Mississippi River Valley.
Although these folks pride themselves on being ritually innovative, this particular rite was Standard Wiccan Issue, right out of the books. So there we were, in the most sacred spot for miles around, casting a circle around ourselves to “create sacred space.”
If it weren't so mindless, it would be offensive.
The rite made no reference to the mounds themselves, to those who built them, or to those who lay in them. We never called upon the mighty River that looped and snaked below us, which 10,000 years ago created the very landscape upon which we stood. As we worked our magic, the Sun set in full summer splendor, unacknowledged.
We might as well have been in someone's living room, standing with our backs to the world.
One of the joys of being in Mounds Park is that one often sees eagles there. On this particular night, one lone eagle wheeled and banked above the bluff as people gathered. Several of the organizers pointed this out to me, as if it somehow constituted an approbation of what they were doing. Since it was we ourselves who were in the eagles' place, I found this perspective disingenuous at best.
As we cast our circle that night, the eagle ceased its wheeling, passed directly across the circle, and flew away.
Make of it what you will.
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