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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This is Avalon

 Apple Apples Fruit - Free photo on Pixabay


In 1991, Ohio's Lady Lhianna Sidhe worked an act of audacious magic: she conjured a Tribe of Witches into being.

Weary of the entry-level orientation of the pagan festival circuit, and the demographic swamping of experienced practitioners that invariably ensued, she dreamed of an invitational gathering of magical family with deep and long-time commitment to the Craft.

And so it was.

For 13 years in the nineties and early naughts, the mists would part and the Midwest elders of the Craft would meet on the holy isle of Avalon. Friendships, covens, and marriages were made. There was held (O happy Night!) the first Old-Time Witches' Sabbat—the “ecstatic adoration of the embodied Horned Lord”—of modern times. (Shining with firelight, He stood on the altar in all His naked male beauty, constellations wheeling between His antlers....) And indeed, the Midwest Grand Sabbat continues to work its weird, uncanny magic in the world, as it has ever since: the next will take place later this summer.

Witches being witches, along with the serious work—and no festival ever had inspired such a collective sense of momentum as Return to Avalon—much satire also ensued. Here are fragments of a song that some of us would regularly chant, there beyond the mists.

You already know the tune.


This is Avalon


Girls and boys of every age,

wouldn't you like to go someplace strange?

You won't need much clothing on,

if you go to Avalon....


This is Avalon, this is Avalon:

drumbeats throb in the dead of night.

This is Avalon:

listen to 'em carry on

(Carry on! Avalon! Avalon! Carry on!)


First we eat stir-fried food,

then we walk around quite nude.

If you're in need of fuel,

try a bowl of pumpkin gruel.



(Gap in memory)



La la la, la la

la la la, la la

la la la, la la

la, la-la-la-LA:



(Dissolves into cackles)


In time, of course—witches being witches—the parody spawned its own parody.


This ain't Avalon:

go and put some trousers on.

(Trousers on! Avalon! Avalon! Trousers on!)


No, Avalon wasn't anywhere near as much of a nudie-fest as the lyrics make it sound; but hey, it's always good for a laugh.

Well, I don't know about you, but all that singing has left me feeling just the slightest bit peckish.

Anyone fancy a nice bowl of pumpkin gruel?


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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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