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.

  • 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

Easter Witches

In Sweden, the witch is a major symbol of Easter.

I kid you not. Swedish Easter cards feature pictures of witches flying off to the sabbat. Kids—these days it's mostly little girls—dressed as witches (with babushkas and painted-on rosy cheeks) trick-or-treat from door-to-door, collecting their goodies in, not sacks, but coffee-pots.

It's an interesting chapter in the long, twisted story of relations between the old ways and the new. Pull up a stump.

In Swedish witch-lore, Good Friday is the biggest sabbat of the year because, of course, "God" is dead and the powers of evil reign supreme. So keep those brooms, pitchforks, and billy goats locked up, or some old crone may nab one for her evening jaunt to the big shindig at the Blåkulla, the “Blue Mountain.” Keep a fire burning on the hearth and the windows shut tight, or the mirk-riders may steal your aquavit, cheese, and coffee (!) for their celebration.

Why coffee, you ask? Come on, everybody knows that witches love coffee, strong as the Devil and black as sin. (Well, that much, at least, is true.) I suppose it helps keep us awake for the wild revels.


In fact, hilltop bonfires once burnt throughout Scandinavia and the Germanies on Good Friday. In some places—I saw several a few years back in Bavaria—they still do. Why bonfires on Good Friday? Keeps the witches away, of course.

So they say. Or you could call it protective coloration: hiding in plain sight.

So, Christ is dead, eh? Yeah, and the war's over in Troy, too.

Pass me the coffee, would you?

Everything they say we are, we are.”

Sparky T. Rabbit 


For a contemporary look at the Easter Witch, strongly influenced by Carlo Ginzburg's studies on the Benandanti, see Swedish novelist Majgull Axelsson's striking and controversial April Witch (Aprilhäxan) (1997), Random House. Linda Schenck's translation is so good, you could almost swear the book had been written in English.


Last modified on
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.


  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham Thursday, 26 March 2015

    I so love all your posts, this one is particularly delightful!

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Friday, 27 March 2015

    Well, one could hardly ask for higher praise than that. Thanks, Lizann; I'm glad you're enjoying the ride.

  • Please login first in order for you to submit comments

Additional information