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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Witches Against Reagan

"Steve?"

It was Burtrand, head of Minnesota Church of the Wicca, which meant that something was probably seriously wrong. He'd never called before. 

"Were you guys out at the demo last week?"

It was February 1982, the early years of the Reagan Era. The Teflon President himself had stopped at the Minneapolis Airport and, activist coven that we were, we had gone out to give him the un-welcome that he deserved.

WITCHES AGAINST REAGAN, read our sign. Note the acronym. Hey, they were un-subtle times.

"Yeah," I said, "How did you know?"

"You made Newsweek," he said.

Sure enough, in full, glorious color: a banner photo spread across the top of two pages.

Somehow the photographer had managed to catch the protest in such a way that the signs formed a pyramid, two graceful asymptotic curves mounting toward the center and high point of the shot.

And there, right at the apex of all that protest: WITCHES AGAINST REAGAN.

Yes, the witches had declared war. Wax dolls, pins, the works. Look out, Ronnie: compared to what we have in mind for you, death will be a mercy.

Whether or not the Actor-in-Chief himself ever saw the picture and, if so, what he made of it, I have no idea. If he did, I hope that it made him uncomfortable.

Burtrand chuckled.

"I figured it had to be you guys," he said.

This was in the early days of Paganistan.

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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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