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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When I was taking my first steps on the Old Way, the books all said: don't try this alone; that way lies danger.

Well, they were right about the danger, but, as for the rest, there were no other options.

So I'd go down to the woods by myself at night, light the fire, and make the magic.

And it was the real thing.

That's how we all started off in those days: by breaking the rules. It's not a bad way to start. If you survive, you can't get better training than that.

In time, I found my tribe, and Witch Hazel was right: together we're stronger.

But still I'd go down to the woods by myself at night, light the fire, and make the magic.

And it was still the real thing.

One of Wicca's great weaknesses is that it's all about the group; it makes no provision for individual practice. 'Thou mayest not be a witch alone,' says the Book of Shadows.

Well, witchcraft is always ascribed. ('You'll always find a witch at the end of a pointing finger,' says Peter Grey.) Group practice is all well and good, but I would say: Coven or no coven, you have to maintain a practice of your own.

Thou must first and foremost be a witch alone.

For nigh on 40 years now, I've been part of the best coven anyone could ever want, and for this I praise my very great good fortune every day.

But still, every now and then, I slip off down to the woods by myself, I light the fire, and I make the old magic, just like I've always done.

Just like we've always done.

You already know the rest.








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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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