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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On the Monday After Samhain

As the army of Queen Medb sets out on its ill-starred cattle-raid into Ulster, they encounter a fantastic figure coming toward them.

The young woman is armed. Her chariot is drawn by two black horses.

She wears a dappled cloak with a gold pin, a hooded tunic with red embroidery, and golden shoes.

She carries a weaver's beam of white bronze, inlaid with gold.

Her golden hair is done up in three braids: two wound in a crown around her head, the third hanging down her back to her calf.

Her black eyelashes cast a shadow halfway down her cheek.

Her eyes have triple irises.

“Who are you?” asks Mebd.

“I am Fedelm, a poet of Connacht,” says the woman.

“Where have you come from?” asks Mebd.

“From learning poetry in Alba,” says Fedelm.

“Have you the Second Sight?” asks Medb.

“I have that too,” says Fedelm.

“What do you foresee for us?” asks Medb.

Fedelm looks.

“I see red, I see crimson,” she says.

“That can't be right,” says Medb. “The warriors of Ulster are all laid low with a curse. What do you foresee for us?”

“I see red, I see crimson,” says Fedelm.

“That can't be right,” says Medb. “The army of Ulster is divided, and a third of it is here with us. What do you foresee for us?”

“I see red, I see crimson,” says Fedelm.

“That's neither here nor there,” says Medb. “There's bloodshed in every battle.”

So the army proceeds.

They set out on the Monday after Samhain.


Above: Medb's Cairn, Knocknarea, Co. Sligo






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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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