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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So, How Was Grand Sabbat?



Well, I was wrong.

I just got back from the 2021 Midwest Grand Sabbat, the first post-pandemic theedish (tribal) gathering of the Midwest Tribe of Witches. I had fully expected that, after being bottled up for a year and a half, the Sabbat would be explosive, like a bottle popping its own cork.

So much for my powers of prediction.

I'd expected wild ecstasis, but what I found was something far other. One after another, people laid their heads in the lap of the Horned, some of them (I'm not sure that I wasn't one myself) sobbing.

("I can actually lay my head in my god's lap. Literally," said a friend of mine later, shaking his head, his voice full of wonder. "And he would bend his head over theirs," added another, "cradling them in his antlers." )

After a year of plague, with all its losses, what we wanted was not ecstasy, but emotional catharsis. (I'm guessing that the first Grand Sabbat after the Black Death was probably the same.) Each Grand Sabbat takes on its own individual character in my memory; after a year of tears, I will always remember this year's as the Sabbat of Tears.

So we shed our tears in the lap of our god, of Him who quenched the fires of Hell with his own tears of sorrow for the suffering of his beloved people.

“Come to me, my people, for I love you,” he called to us from the altar.

And come to him we did.

Oh, there will be more tears; for our people, there will always be more tears. But for now—for now at least—by the power of a people and a god's tears, my heart feels healed of its longtime hurt.

Through all the long drive home, I sang.




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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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