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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'The Union of the Gods Renews the World'

Paganistan was born from an act of love.

Beltane 1976. For the first time, on May Eve the Minnesota Church of the Wicca (MCoW) selects, by lot, a woman and a man who, while the rest dance and sing to raise the power, retire to the May bower to enact the Great Marriage of the Gods.

It was the making of our community.

We've enacted the rite ever since. This year marks the 43th annual May Marriage, the local community's oldest ongoing tradition. It's a record that any New Pagan community could envy.

The tradition is currently carried by the Wiccan Church of Minnesota, MCoW's daughter organization, but has worked its way out into the community at large. “The Union of the Gods renews the world,” wrote local priestess Hillary Pell (herself a May Queen emerita) in 1998.

Last year, winter lingered late. A freak mid-April blizzard paralyzed growth and, two weeks later, there was still nary a sign of Spring to be seen.

In the dusk of May Eve, we kindled the Beltane Fire. Our newest member led her partner off to the May bower. As they made love, we sang and danced the sacred dances.

Now, whether or not it had anything to do with what we—or they—did that night, I don't claim to know. (I rather doubt it.) But this much I can tell you.

By the next day, there was green everywhere. Overnight, the buds had broken. Between the setting and the rising of the “ithyphallic adolescent Sun” (to quote Feraferia's Fred Adams), Spring—in amazing chloroplast explosion—had sprung.

The Union of the Gods renews the world.

Wishing you joy of Beltane.












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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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