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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It's 1966. A little tow-headed boy is sitting cross-legged on the living room floor, reading the Sunday supplement of the Pittsburgh Press.

He doesn't know that his life is about to change forever.

There are real witches! There are real witches right here in Pittsburgh! Real witches doing real magic!

One detail from the article hit hard enough to stay with me 50-some years later.

It's hard to become a witch. You can only do so in a circle drawn with your birthstone. (Did you know that?) The local informant's was bloodstone, and she was hard put to find one.


But find one she did.

Object lesson: where there's a witch, there's a way.

I don't know who the local woman was that had the courage to talk to the press in 1966, and at this point I probably never will.


But there's a First Witch in everybody's life, and she was mine.

So my thanks to you, kinswoman, whoever you are, or were.

When you throw a stone into a lake, you never know for sure where the ripples will come to shore.

But come to shore they will.

That bloodstone that you worked so hard to find changed not just your life, but mine.

So, my lady of the bloodstone, I owe you a debt of gratitude.

And, like the Lannisters, witches always pay their debts.






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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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