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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Bealtaine in the Streets

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to experience a pagan holiday in a pagan city, well, you don't have to wait until your next incarnation to find out.

Just come to pagan Minneapolis for Bealtaine.

For 42 years, the magic and artistry of Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater has brought the joy of May to Witch City. 50,000 people line Bloomington Avenue for the Parade and then follow it, dancing, in unbridled celebration of the Coming of the Sun and the melting of Winter's icy heart.

In Powderhorn Park, we call the Sun, which sails to us across the lake in its winged boat. By its power, the Tree of Life rises renewed, and the city-wide party begins.

After the festivities in the park, the yard-parties and backyard cookouts begin. It's summer's first outdoor celebration. After a long Winter of inconvenience and discomfort—and make no mistake, Winter here is always long and uncomfortable—the exuberance and relief are both real and tangible.


You don't have to be pagan to take part, of course, but a kind of honorary pagan status is conferred on all celebrants. We're all pagans together on this day, and Bealtaine pilgrims flow into town from all around.

Some places are defined by a particular celebration. New Orleans is Mardi Gras, Shetland is Up-Helly-Aa.

And this is ours. Minneapolis is May Day.

Here in the North, Winter is the central fact of life. In fact, it defines us.

For that very reason, we are Bealtaine people.

And this, dear reader, is your cordial invitation.


This year's 42nd Annual May Day Parade and Celebration will be Sunday, May 1, 2016.

You can see the Heart of the Beast day/hour/minute/second Bealtaine countdown (can you stand it?) here.






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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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