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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It was the high priest of one of the local Wiccan covens on the line.

“We had an inquiry from a woman who's into...uh, feminism. I thought she might be...uh, a better fit for you guys.”

It was the early 80s. We were the new coven in town back then, still in the days of our coven household. (Barring time spent in utero, those were probably the most intense nine months of my life.) The local Wiccan scene still being pretty hetero at the time, with three bi women and one gay man, people naturally thought of us as the “gay group.”

(In fact, sexual preference just wasn't an issue with us. It still isn't. When our first straight member joined some years later, no one even noticed until months after that we had, so to speak, expanded our demographic.)

“Sure: give her the number, we'd be happy to talk with her,” I said. Riding the crest of the Second Wave at the time, we were proud of our unabashed feminism. We still are.

There was an awkward pause.


He was fumbling for words. Clearly, this was going to be interesting.

“In order to belong to Prodea, you, uh...don't have to be involved in any...uh...lesbianistic practices, do you?”

This to me, the gay guy. It was really rather endearing. Of course, he couldn't ask if you had to be gay to be a member; that would have been far too direct. This is, after all, Minnesota.

I did not laugh out loud. I did not.

I assured him that you didn't. We exchanged a few pleasantries and hung up.

I don't know what became of the querant; we never heard from her. Maybe she eventually found her way into one of the local women's groups.

But not only has the incident expanded our shared vocabulary and gone down in coven lore, it's made us just possibly the only coven in the US to have our own Old Time Religion verse.

In Prodea we're artistic

and a trifle egoistic,

but above all, lesbianistic!

Nearly 40 years later, that's still good enough for me.




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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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