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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Midwest paganism

 How to Grow and Care for Rhubarb Plants | Gardener's Path


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 Rhubarb Information and Facts

Dear Boss Warlock:


As a native Midwesterner, I know that it's wrong to buy rhubarb, but—in a moment of weakness—I actually did. From a store, no less.

Now my guilt over what I've done is crushing me. Please, what can I do to get clean of it?

Guilty in Galena


Dear Guilty:

I'm afraid there are some crimes that are beyond even Boss Warlock's power to forgive.

By your own admission, you bought—actually paid money for—rhubarb, knowing that what you were doing was wrong. The fact is, there's no way that you can get clean of a crime of such magnitude. Basically, Guilty, you're screwed.

(For the benefit of the non-Midwesterners among us, let me explain that Guilty—by his own admission—has violated one of the prime taboos of Midwestern culture. Every Midwesterner is born knowing that you never buy rhubarb. As a proper Midwesterner, you should have your own clump, growing out by the back door. Even if you can't grow your own—say you're a renter somewhere—you should be able to get your rhubarb from friends or relatives who, of course, have their own clumps growing out by the back door.)

No, Guilty, by violating this taboo, you have laid yourself open to the Curse. For the next twelve months, you will be buried in rhubarb. Once word gets out—and, believe me, I've already hacked into your account and let every single one of your contacts know—everyone within three degrees of separation will be giving you rhubarb. In fact, I've already over-nighted you some from my own garden. Expect it by tomorrow.

Here's your only hope, Guilty: get your butt over to somebody's house and get a plug from their rhubarb. (No, for gods' sakes, don't go to a lawn center and buy a plug! What are you, suicidal?!)

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    One of my plants didn't make it through the winter, either. If this is an omen, i wonder what it means.
  • Kile Martz
    Kile Martz says #
    I had two impressive plants in the garden down by the river for many years -- chunks from a friends yard, of course. I expected th
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Sorry, Transplant, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Prepare to be inundated. You may want to check out my new book, 1303 Things
  • Katie
    Katie says #
    Dear Boss Warlock, Oh, dear! I must be truly cursed... over the years past, I have bought Rhubarb because the clump in my back ya

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Is Paganism an -Ism?

Hey, Pagan Pride: I've got a suggestion.

A web-search for Twin Cities Pagan Pride turned up (in more than one location) the following lead sentence.

"Pagan Pride is a free fall event, open to the public, that offers education about Paganism to the larger community."

With all due praise to the local Pride committee—who work their butts off every year to offer to pagan and cowan alike a beautiful event in a sacred place, an event that we can truly be proud of—I'd like to suggest a gentle rewrite.

Whether or not such a thing as a unified “Paganism” ever existed anywhere but in the minds of those who hated the Old Ways, I very much doubt. It didn't exist then, it doesn't exist now, and (thank gods), it never will exist. This fact is encoded, genetic: the very nature of the “pagan” religions, new and old alike, militates against such a unity.

“Paganism” isn't an “-ism.” “Pagan” is a descriptor, an identity perhaps: a way of talking about something that already exists, not a thing in and of itself.

So here's my suggestion for an opening that's truer to lived Pagan reality:

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  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    Macha, did you see this post of mine? It's about exactly your topic.
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    I agree completely with Murph, Ian, and Mark's comments. We are weakened by divisiveness and strengthened by solidarity. In the
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    Thanks for feedback all - and no offense taken, Virginia. And as an Italian American girl myself, I can totally get on board wi
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Diversity is healthy. Diversity is sustainable. Diversity is inevitable.
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    I talk of Paganism as "a constellation of religious paths", the sole true commonality of which is self-identification as Pagan. Th

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Remembering Father Pagan

His parents named him Richard, but he called himself Gandalf.

We knew him as Father Pagan.

He'd been a Catholic priest for decades, but late in life he studied his way out of the church and into the Craft.

Being a man of integrity, he went to his bishop and offered to resign.

“Look,” said the bishop, "There's a shortage of priests anyway, and you're just a few years from retirement. Why don't you hang on for a little bit longer?”

So that's what he did. He lived a life of service to others all his life, and priesthood, after all, is priesthood.

In those days, here in the Midwest, the Craft was a religion of the young. Gandalf was one of the few elders that we had.

At his first pagan festival, a young woman approached him one night after the big ritual. “Can I talk to you in private?” she asked.

Gandalf was amazed. He'd heard stories about wild pagan women, but this seemed pretty direct.

Together, they went off to the woods.

“Can you hear my confession?” the woman asked.

Gandalf laughed.

“I don't really do that kind of thing any more,” he explained, “but if there's something you want to get off your chest, I'll be happy to listen,” he said.

She was only the first. Down the years, his gentle humor and quiet wisdom would enrich, and deepen, us all.

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What Makes Midwestern Paganism Different?

Over the course of our decades-long friendship, writer and activist Macha Nightmare has remarked to me on more than one occasion that paganism here in the Midwest has a more distinctively “regional” feel to it than in most other places.

(Macha, please correct me if I'm misquoting.)

Macha has traveled more widely than I have across the many-colored world of Pagandom, but—from what I've seen—my own experience tends to bear out her observation.

So one New Moon the coven sat down to discuss the matter.

What makes Midwestern Paganism different? Here's what we came up with.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    I agree with Mark about the similarities between Paganstani and us Left Coasties. Certainly the primacy of place has increased si
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Part of my intent with this piece (it's a poor writer that needs to speak of intent, but so be it) was to poke some gentle fun at
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    I can get on board with that. Steven was also.pointing out, politely, the good things.about Paganistan. Theres plenty about oursel
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    OK, fair enough. I think it's tricky, parsing pride of place vs. thinking our place is "better" than some other place. Because for
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Tony Kelly of the Pagan Movement in Britain and Ireland always used to say that "Mabh [=Earth] is nowhere more beautiful than wher

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

There were once two brothers who loved the same woman.

In a fit of rage, seeing which way the wind was blowing, the elder killed the younger. He tore him limb from limb, and threw the pieces into the Mississippi.

Now it so happens that this woman was a witch-woman. She paddled her canoe up and down the Mississippi, singing songs of power as she went, gathering the pieces of her lost love wherever she found them.

She found his head.

She found his torso.

She found his right arm.

She found his left arm.

She found his pelvis.

She found his testicles.

She found his right leg.

She found his left leg.

Up and down the River she paddled, from the Headwaters to the Gulf, singing songs of power as she went. All the parts of her lost love she found, all but one. A bullhead had eaten it.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Red Ocher People

They say it's Earth's moon-blood, from which we're all born.

We've been painting ourselves and our dead with it since before we were sapiens.

Red ocher.

FeO2: iron oxide. Hematite (from Greek hêma, “blood”). It's found practically everywhere, and practically everywhere our people make use of it for purposes both religious and practical.

Rubbed on the skin, it acts as sunscreen, and keeps off bugs.

Sprinkled on the dead, it hastens rebirth.

We used to joke that if we were a Wiccan tradition, it would have to be Cro-Magnon Wicca. Really, once you start using red ocher in ritual, you'll never stop. There's nothing, nothing, nothing more authentic.

Here in the Upper Midwest, we've been using it since the end of the last Ice Age. (Before that, there were no people here, only ice.) There's even an archaeological horizon known as the Red Ocher People.

Be warned: this stuff is pretty damn close to permanent. Some years ago, I was privileged to see the original Willendorf Mother at an exhibit of Ice Age art. Even at 40,000 years, you could still see the red ocher in her hair.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I've read a little about the red ocher people in Northern Europe, apparently they were very similar to the red paint people in New

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