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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Urban Coven: Strawberry Moon

If you didn't know it was a ritual, you wouldn't know it was a ritual.

An hour before moonrise, we gather at the coven bench in the park.

We swap news, laugh, eat fruit and cookies. Our newest member is just now back from five months in the Middle East; it's Sun and Moon to my eyes to see her again. She's giddy with the freedom of it all: public paganism. Being second generation, she'd never experienced the broom closet before: the pagan generation gap.

We toast her return with (ahem) iced tea from the thermos.

Somewhere behind the tree line, the full Moon is rising unseen. We sing to her, then go downhill to the lake.

Each has her own intent. Silent, we circle the already-dark water, its surface stippled with south wind; soon the Full Moon will shine from its midst. The power builds as we go.

Our circuit complete, we climb back up to the bench. Midsummer is near; we sing a song of Summer in anticipation.

And suddenly there She is, climbing out of the horizon haze: rose-red, strawberry-red. We sing to her: three songs, always three for the Moon. The power of the joined voices delights our coven kid, who's been learning these songs at home. He claps along, enthused, belting out the words.

We talk some more, pack up, laugh. People drift off.

No circle cast, no quarters called. Not your mother's Full Moon, maybe, but it suits us just fine.

Urban landscape, with witches.


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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.


  • Thesseli
    Thesseli Saturday, 10 June 2017

    Utterly lovely. I wish I could ever experience something like this.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Sunday, 11 June 2017

    I hope so too, Thesseli.

  • Thesseli
    Thesseli Sunday, 11 June 2017

    For women, going outside into the open on our own for this kind of thing is dangerous...for us, we need others to come with us, for safety and also to call the police if we're attacked. I cannot imagine how good, how free, it must be to do something like this without the ever-present threat of rape or murder hanging over our heads.

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