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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"Hello, Central Casting?"

I live in the South Minneapolis pagan neighborhood. Sometimes I see some surprising things.

One morning I was out on Lake Street waiting for a light to change. Just then I see, striding purposively down the sidewalk across the street, one of the local high priestesses.

Really, you can't help but see her. She's a big woman—of Wagnerian proportions, let us say—both bodily and personality-wise. At 9 in the morning here she comes, inexorable, a vision in blackest black: thigh-high boots, tights and body stocking bulging, dyed-black hair and bat-wing cloak flapping behind her in the wind. (No matter what direction she's going in, she's one of those people who always manages to be walking into the wind. I still can't figure out how she does this.) A silver pentagram big enough to crucify a toad on swings like a pendulum before her with every high-heeled step.

Here she comes, like the slow-mo answer to a frantic last-minute call (“Hello, Central Casting? We need a Wiccan high priestess, stat”), who knows that there's absolutely no need to hurry because the filming can't possibly start without her. She's got this funny little quirked quarter-smile on her face. She knows everyone is looking at her, just as she intends, and this lodestone power fills her with delight. Meanwhile, all around her, Minnesotans are frantically pretending not to notice.

The green arrow comes on, and I turn left onto Park. But first I honk and wave.

“My gods,” I think, “I am so proud to know this woman.”






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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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