PaganSquare


PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Paganistan
How 'Brother' Jed, Campus Evangelist, Helped Launch the U of M's First-Ever Student Pagan Organization, and (Indirectly) Paganistan's Oldest Coven

I suppose most campuses have one: the self-appointed, probably slightly psychotic, street-corner evangelist to the (presumed) fallen.

In the late 80s, the University of Minnesota had Brother Jed.

You'd see him around campus, haranguing. No one took him seriously. Some engaged him; some egged him on. Me, I avoided him.

(One day, Brother Jed noticed me walk past, face averted, as he was enlarging on the evils of homosexuality. “Whah, they-ah goes one na-ow!” he denounced, adding, in an uncharacteristic moment of self-doubt, “Ah think.”)

Every (black) pearl starts with an intrusive piece of grit. One day, after the umpteenth encounter with Brother Jed, a graduate student named Magenta Griffith had had enough.

“We need a student pagan organization,” she thought.

She teamed up with some friends, and thus was born Children of the Night, the University of Minnesota's first student pagan organization.

(Yes, the name comes from Dracula. We're of a poetic bent here in the Northland; savoring irony is something of a local sport.)

Here's where yours truly enters the story. I'd come to the Twin Cities the previous year, ostensibly for grad school, but in actuality to find the Pagan Community of my dreams. In those pre-internet days, hooking up with other pagans was hard. Twelve months had gone by, and I still hadn't met any.

Then one day I walked into Lind Hall and saw the mimeograph on the wall.

Are you interested in Wicca? Druidism? Paganism?

Children of the Night: Student Pagan Organization

xxx date and time

xxx location

Interested? Was I ever! My memory is (thank you Mama) that I actually kissed the ground in joy.

Last modified on
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Ian Phanes
    Ian Phanes says #
    Did you notice that Jed wasn't there every day? That's because he, and some others of his ilk, travel a circuit of multiple campus
Tales of Paganistan: Killing the Pumpkin

That year, Coven X had volunteered to lead the big Samhain ritual for the Wiccan Church of Minnesota.

Weeks before Samhain, the winds of controversy had already begun to blow.

The folks in Coven X, the new young coven in town, thought of the WiCoM folks as stodgy and regressive, mired in Wiccan dogma. Clearly, their intent with this ritual was to blow some of the cobwebs out of the attic.

It didn't take a seer to foretell where this was going to go.

The day before the ritual, the priestess told me all about it with a glint in her eye.

“We'll show them,” she concluded.

Well, if she wanted a firestorm, she got it.

Last modified on
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    My view of ritual is heavily influenced by decades of the Runequest and Heroquest role playing games. To me ritual is a dramatic
Five Good Reasons to Live in Pagan Minneapolis

“One would think you lived in Minneapolis.”

(Christopher Isherwood, to the residents of Berlin on their sang-froid following the division of their city in 1945)

 

Ah, fair City of Lakes: scrappy little Minneapolis, small town on steroids.

Minneapolis, where the winters are too cold and the summers too hot.

Minneapolis, where we have laws against everything.

Minneapolis, which routinely pays world-class architects first-rate money for second- (and third-) class work.

Why would anyone live here?

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Doonesbury: The Paganistan Edition

Not every pagan community gets referenced in Gary Trudeau's cartoon Doonesbury.

But, back in the early 80s, Paganistan did.

...
Last modified on
Tales of Paganistan: Earth is a Woman, Too, or How Not to Take Back the Night

Remember Take Back the Night?

Back in the 80s, there would be a big rally and march here in Minneapolis every summer. The organizing committee, notoriously dysfunctional, was a seething cauldron of in-fighting and ideological purism. The general tone of the marches was outrage, anger.

Except for the pagans.

Hel, we figured we had as much right to be there as anyone. We opposed violence against women. (We still do.) We were staunchly feminist. (We still are.) We hated rape. (We still do.)

But we weren't interested in rage or ideological purity.

We wanted the night back.

So we took it.

We danced, we drummed, we satirized. We chanted the praises of our Goddess through the streets.

The organizers hated us.

At the very last march—just before the organizing committee (irony of ironies) finally tore itself to shreds in a maelstrom of self-directed, woman-on-woman violence—we were consigned to being literally the very last group in the march.

Since we were last, everyone else left the park before we did. That was the moment of horror.

The hillside where people had sat listening to speeches and music, now empty of occupants, was blanketed with garbage: papers, soda cans, water bottles.

That year, the pagans were irate, too.

Talk about not getting it, we said.

Don't they see that everything is connected? we said.

Earth is a Woman, too, we said.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Bags in hand, some of us went back the next morning to Take Back the Day.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Would I be right in guessing that you pulled out trash bags, picked up trash and turned it into a ritual to take back the night?

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Two Flags of Paganistan

Unlike most other nation-states, Paganistan has two national flags.

(Paganistan being, of course, not so much a state as a state of mind.)

No doubt you've seen it: Tower, gray, on a field of (from the top down) blue, yellow, green.

The tower, of course, references Paganistan's iconic “Witch's Hat” tower, which graces the Water City's highest point. Witch hat aside, Dion Fortune once remarked that “the standing tower is one of the symbols of the Old Gods.”

For this reason, of course, the flag is proudly known to Paganistanis as the “Witchtower.”

As for the field, well, no pagan needs to have that explained. Blue, yellow, green: Sky, Sun, Earth.

That's the Summer Witchtower, which flies from Beltane to Samhain.

Then, of course, there's the Winter flag, flown from Samhain to Beltane: Standing tower, gray, on a field of blue, yellow, and white.

Last modified on
Tales of Paganistan: The Cancer Birthday Party

Back in the day when (assuming you were foolhardy enough to try) you could have fit all the pagans of Paganistan into one large room, the community ran into its first collective problem.

Most of us were Cancers.

What this may say about the nature of this community, I'm not sufficiently well-versed, astrologically speaking, to know. (Cancers don't believe in pseudo-science, anyway.) What I can say is that by the end of the sign, folks were all partied out—even pagans get there—and those whose birthdays fell toward the Leo end of things felt deprived.

Hence the Cancer Birthday Party.

On some Saturday night after Midsummer's—usually in July—the pagans would foregather in collective natal celebration. And if it just so happened that this was the Saturday closest to the birthday of whoever was hosting the party, well, who could find fault with that?

The Cancer Birthday Party was thus the functional equivalent of the only other community-wide gathering at the time, the Saturnalia party, which usually happened on the Saturday of finals week in December. (A lot of us were students at the time, so you wanted to catch everyone before they headed off for winter break.) The 80s being the 80s, these were (naturally) Toga Parties. I have fond memories of watching a wine-soused friend fall simultaneously off the couch, out of her toga, and into Uncle Wolf's lap.

Well, the day is long since past when you could fit all the pagans in town—even assuming you wanted to—into one room, even a large one. Nowadays you would need a stadium at least, not to mention (probably) gladiators. It's long and long indeed since we knew one another well enough to fight over irrelevancies.

Last modified on

Additional information