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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13 Traditional Things to Do for the Shortest Night

Light a fire at sundown (and better it be if you light it in the old way: flint and steel or, best of all, wood on wood). Keep it burning all night.

Stay up all night. (If you sleep at Midsummer, you'll be sleepy for the rest of the year.)

Go to the highest point in your area. Sing the Sun down. Sing the Sun back up again in the morning.

Build a bonfire.

Deck the house with boughs of green leaves.

Have a picnic.

Eat the sacred foods of the season: fresh greens, radishes, strawberries, rhubarb, fresh cheeses, stuffed eggs, new potatoes, asparagus, cherries.

Weave for yourself a crown of oak leaves (men), basswood leaves and flowers (women), or wild flowers (anyone).

Go for the first skinny-dip of the season. (The Sun and the Moon both come down to bathe in the waters this night, so there's a blessing on them.) If you do, you'll be healthy all year long.

Dance the Dance of the Wheel.

Take your sweetie off to the woods at night to search (nudge, nudge) for the magical Fire-flower, which—of all the nights of the year—blooms only on this night.

Lay out offerings for the Good Folk.

Bathe your face in the youth-giving dew of Midsummer's morning. Then you'll be beautiful all year round.


Wishing You and Yours the Merriest of Midsummers!

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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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