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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Paganistan

 Diab2Cook: Grilled Brats w/ Cincinnati Style Chili and Cheese Potato Chips


Seriously? Chips and brats? That's your Yule feast?

When I first blew into Paganistan nigh on 40 years ago, it took me a while to hook up with other pagans—things took longer in those pre-internet days—and when I finally did, it took some time to build up enough trust to start getting invited to things.

So when I finally got asked to a local coven's Yule ritual, believe me, I was stoked.

I sweated what to bring for the Yule feast. At the time, I was still living in the dorms and didn't have access to a kitchen. Finally I settled on fruitcake.

I know, I know. Me, I like fruitcake.

(I once attended a holiday party to which someone had brought a fruitcake. "I can't stand fruitcake," said the Christians, shrinking away with distaste. "Oh, I just love fruitcake," said the Jews and pagans, gathering around.)

This particular fruitcake I had bought at the local more-holistic-than-thou old hippie bakery (gods: it was even called “People's Company Bakery”; now long gone, of course) and, as fruitcakes go, was really pretty righteous: 100% whole wheat (of course), honey-sweetened (of course), chock-full of chunks of wonderful exotic dried fruits like mango and pineapple. I conscientiously irrigated it with brandy for a week or two before the ritual. By the time Midwinter's Eve rolled around, it was smelling pretty damned good.

Oddly, I don't remember anything at all about the ritual itself. What I do recall was standing dismayed at the Yule board afterward in a state of profound culture shock. Brats and bags of chips. This you call Yule?

The situation took me a while to suss. Was it, I wondered at first, a class issue: middle and working class values in collision, maybe? (Such are the dangers of a college education.)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


For years, back when the local pagan community was a little less diffuse than it is these days, and folks mostly knew one another—not that that meant that we all got along, mind you—my friend Dan around the corner and his family used to hold the annual community-wide Mother Night Vigil. Pagans being pagans, of course, half of us used to refer to it as the “Viggle.”

(This was not just an in-joke, by the way; this was deep in-group humor—self-mockery, even. It satirized pagans who didn't know how to pronounce things correctly because they'd learned most of what they knew from books. Back in those days, that meant most of us.)

At sunset on Midwinter's Eve, they'd throw open the doors. All night long, the Viggle lasted, honoring the Longest Night. It ended with a sunrise breakfast. Covened folks with other obligations would come and go; the uncovened often stayed all night. In a community not known for community institutions, the Yule Eve Viggle was a community institution.

Dan's house being only a couple of blocks away from mine, I would generally walk over and drop in after our Mother Night ritual and feast. The house would be full of people, in varying states of intoxication, but all festive. There was always a massive fire roaring on the hearth, and tables and tables and tables of food. (“Meats and sweets,” my friend Ricky Bjugan always used to say.) The kids would be running around in a state of terminal excitement: they got to open their presents at midnight.

When Dan moved out of town, Thraicie and Jane over at our neighborhood witch store, The Eye, inherited the Viggle, and kept it going for (I believe it was) all of thirteen years.

These days, there's no community-wide Solstice Eve Viggle here in Paganistan any more; not that I know of, anyway. But you know pagans. The all-night Viggle, probably the world's oldest Yule ritual, will always eventually crop up again, because...well, you know what they say.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 ice cream | Definition, History, & Production | Britannica


There was once a city that was governed by a mayor and a city council.

Now, at this time, certain citizens had decided that they wanted free ice cream for breakfast every day, so they arranged a rally in a park and invited the mayor and the city council to attend.

FREE ice CREAM! FREE ice CREAM! EV-ryday for BREAKfast! FREE ice CREAM!”  they chanted.

The city council stood before the crowd.

“We hereby vow that, from this day forward, you will all have as much free ice cream as you want for breakfast every day!” they told the people, who cheered and made much of them.

But one by one, in the days that followed, the city council were all forsworn.

“Well, I didn't really mean ice cream....” said one.

“Well, what I thought they meant was that we'd all have eggs and toast for breakfast every day,” said another.

“Who, me? No, I didn't say that,” said yet another.

The mayor, though, told the people: “No, you can't have free ice cream for breakfast every day.”

The mayor was jeered and booed, and derided as retrogressive, and a false liberal.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Skyline and Full Moon - Minneapolis Wall Art | William Drew


You'll be hearing in the media that on Election Day the voters of Minneapolis—Pagantown, USA—decided not to “defund” the police after all.

Let me tell you what really happened.

Yes, we voted (by a substantial margin) to reform rather than to replace the MPD. Yes we voted to reelect our cute-but-ineffectual mayor, Jacob “Prettyboy” Frey. (Like “fry,” not like the god's name.) Yes, we voted to restructure our city government to dis-empower City Council and re-empower the Mayor.

But make no mistake: we did not do this because our police department doesn't need drastic revision, or because our prettyboy mayor has done a good job. He hasn't, and they do.

Since the 1920s, the City of Lakes has been governed by what's known as a “weak mayoral” system. Essentially, City Council runs the show, and the mayor is just a (in this case, good-looking) figurehead.

And see what came of it: the senseless death of George Floyd, and all the anger and mayhem that followed.

A "weak mayor" system might be all well and good if and when you have a functional City Council. Unfortunately, for the last four years, we've had a City Council composed, for the most part, of dithering, cowardly incompetents who can't agree what to do, and invariably kowtow to the loudest and angriest voices. For years, our city government has been like a dysfunctional coven in which the high priest (or high priestess) has no power, but the squabbling coven can't manage to come to agreement about anything.

This wasn't a vote for overweening policing, or for a do-nothing mayor. This was a vote against City Council.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Minnesota's 'I Voted' stickers: The tale you never knew


It's my first time working as an election judge for the city of Minneapolis. (Election Day: now there's a Samhain ritual for you.) Through the course of the day, I see lots of familiar pagan faces at the poll.

This, of course, is only to be expected: being the opinionated people that we are, pagans are much given to voting. This, moreover, is the pagan neighborhood, and me a longtime resident thereof.

I'm working the front door, greeting people and directing them, when a man that I don't know strides in, sporting a jaunty pentagram. It's always gratifying to be reminded that, no, I don't in fact know every pagan that lives in south Minneapolis.

“Blessed be,” I say.

Over the covid mask, he quirks an eyebrow.

“We are everywhere,” he intones.

“Everywhere,” I echo, and point him toward the sign-in table.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I early voted back on October 7th. There was no line.



Lady Moon, Lady Moon


Lady Moon, Lady Moon,

shining so bright:

where are the little stars

hiding tonight?

Ask the old owl

that lives in the tree.

Who's that behind you?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

The Green Man - Home | Facebook 

My friend and I couldn't have been at the Renn Fest for more than two minutes when we ran into a gaggle of fellow pagans.

This, of course, is hardly to be wondered at. Renn Fests are famed pagan Meccas, and this particular one happened to be the Paganistani (i.e. Minnesota) Renn Fest, after all. There are so many pagans at the Minnesota Renn Fest that for a while it actually because fashionable to wear a cross, not so much out of religious conviction, as to stand out in the crowd.

They ask where we're headed, and we explain that we always start off our day there by pouring a libation for the Green Man. Pagans generally being game for spontaneous religious observance, they come along.

A pagan landmark of the MN Renn Fest—“Let's meet up at the Green Man,” people say—the Green Man stands probably 20 feet tall: a large, archaic-looking wooden mask mounted on a tree trunk, and bodied out all around with a tangle of fox grapes. This being September, the grapes are usually just coming ripe around now.

We stand before the Green Man, make our prayers, and pour out our libation, relishing the opportunity to indulge in public pagan worship. We'd like to dance around Him—that's the traditional observance—but there aren't quite enough of us to join hands.

Fortunately, this is the Renn Fest.

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