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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Tales of Paganistan: The Great Samhain Lockout

Samhain 1985.

We'd gathered early outside the Whittier Park building in Minneapolis to start setting up for the big community Samhain ritual.

But the building was dark, and the door was locked.

We find a public phone (this was BC: Before Cell) and call the Park Board. Well yes, we were supposed to have rented the place, but they couldn't find any park building employees to work that night. Sorry about that; too bad, so sad.

We'd held rituals at "Witchier" Park before this. The park building staff didn't like us and let it be known: surly, staring, grudging. Because we were weird? Because we were Satanists? Because we carried knives? Who cares?

We were angry. People had started to arrive for the ritual by then. The organizers held a quickie, impromptu meeting. We decided that if we couldn't get into the building that night, we were going to sue the Park Board for religious discrimination.

(How we would have paid the lawyer, I don't know. Hey, it was the 80s.)

While we were reaching this decision, our public relations person Stephanie Fox had gone back to the phone and called Someone she knew who was high up in the local DFL (= Minnesota Democratic) Party.

Within 10 minutes, literally, a police car came wheeling up and screeched to a halt. The driver leaned out of the window, apologized, and handed us the key to the building.

We held our celebration that night as planned, and local officialdom got its first taste of what it means to deal with witches.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

Witches are smart and we've got connections. We make good friends, neighbors, and co-workers. If we say we'll do something, we'll do it, and we'll help you out when you need our help.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be afraid of us.


With special thanks to:

Magenta Griffith, Stephanie Fox, Gary and Linda L.


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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.


  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Monday, 09 June 2014

    To quote my namesake Teddy Roosevelt, speak softly but carry a big stick.

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