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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Is Berhta Angry (and if so, What Can We Do to Appease Her)?

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

According to my sources, Mother Berhta (otherwise known as Old Witch Winter and the Widdershins Polar Vortex) is angry because an insufficient number of people honored her on Bertha's Night this year.

The situation, admittedly, is complicated by the fact that exactly when Berhta's Night falls is a matter of dispute. According to some, Berhta's Night is Old Yule, Thirteenth Night (i.e. the Thirteenth Night after Midwinter's Eve). Some would say, Twenty-Sixth Night; some, Thirty-Ninth Night.

Date notwithstanding, most authorities are agreed on the correct manner of propitiation. This constitutes a festive Pancake Supper, with pancakes left at the doorstep for Mother B. herself.

Pancakes, of course, are one of humanity's oldest foods (since agriculture, anyway), and in many cultures they are accorded—no doubt by virtue of their shape—an association with the Sun.

The saying is that every pancake you eat brings spring a little closer. (The logic of this is hard to fault.) Past experience would suggest that Berhta finds acceptable pancakes of any size, shape, and make-up. I will admit to a personal weakness for blini, the yeasted buckwheat pancakes traditionally served (along with lots of butter, sour cream, green onion and--for those who like it--caviar) at late winter festivals in Russia. As it happens, this week is Carnival Week in Russia, and people there will be eating blini (literally) by the ton.

But buckwheat or Bisquick, sweet or savory, for gods' sakes—for Spring's sake—fire up the frying pan and give it a try. Word is, we have until Sunday night.

Yours till Fimblewinter,

Steven Posch
(High Priest of Mother Berhta pro tem.) 




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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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