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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The Devil Is a Nice Guy

The cow is sick.

The baby is sick.

Your man has run off with another woman.

If the stories tell true, these are the times when the Devil would come and say: Come with me, join us.

And you would join.

There's no time when it's good to be poor, but early modern Europe was as bad as any. In a time without social safety nets, lacking kin, in times of need there was only the cold charity of the priests, and, later, the kirk. Under such circumstances, the death of a cow could spell ruin.

So let us say that the “Devil” was indeed (as they say) the local “cult leader,” the Man-in-Black, him that wore the Horns on the old fire-days.

Let us say that what he was offering you, in your time of need, was membership in a society of mutual aid beyond the kin-group.

Why wouldn't you take him up on his offer?

Why wouldn't you?

 

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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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