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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We The Witches

Say that there actually were witches of our sort, back in the Old Days.

Say that there were.

In the Old Country, times are hard. It's as much as your life is worth to keep to the Old Ways.

All the old stories tell of the Land-to-the-West, the Land-Across-the-Waves.

So we pack up our bags and, in hope and fear, we go there.

And when we arrive, lo! there in the forest—and such a forest!—we find him already waiting: the Horned our god (and such a god!), just as we knew him before.

Red Champion, we call him, and for this reason: because he fights for his people.

On 4 July—by the Old Calendar, Midsummer's Night—we build a great bonfire in that great forest, and we dance for Him who has made His people free.

And that was our very first sabbat, in the Land-Across-the-Waves.



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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, 04 July 2018

    I remember reading of someone known as John of Merrymount. I think Hawthorne turned the folktale into a short story.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Thursday, 05 July 2018

    That would be Tom Morton (1579-1647), who did indeed raise America's first May-pole. Nat Hawthorne's story The May-Pole of Merrymount is based on real history. Things could have been different.

    Note that in Hawthorne's story--as in real life--both Native Americans and colonists gather to party around the May-pole of Merrymount. The Sabbat is the great social equalizer. Back in the Old Country, that meant different classes. Here in the "New" World, it meant (and means) different "races."

    Everyone's equal at the Sabbat.

  • Jamie
    Jamie Thursday, 05 July 2018

    Mr. Posch,

    I revere Thomas Morton's memory. Imagine how different it all could have been.

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