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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Besom Brigade

Time was, 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 our precision broom drills down the middle of Bloomington Avenue.

There's no need to be afraid:

we are the marching Besom Brigade.

Schmeering on that herbal lube,

riding all night on our brooms.

Sound off.


One of our figures was called the Star. Five of us would interlock brooms so that they formed a pentagram. Then we'd hold it up in the air so it could be seen, while the rest mounted their brooms (sidesaddle, of course: these things must be done delicately, or you hurt the spell) and circled widdershins.

You could always tell when we hit the pagan neighborhood.

Lake Street, which follows the course of an old Indian trail, is the main east-west artery in South Minneapolis.

East of Lake Street, the crowds that lined the parade route would meet the Star with puzzled incomprehension. Is this for real? Is this supposed to be funny?

West of Lake Street is where the pagans live. You could always tell, because spectators there knew exactly what to do when we held up the Star.

They cheered, of course.

Above: Macha Nightmare (of Besom Brigade West)

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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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