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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Witch of...Where?



 Witches and Other Predators


Like other predators, witches are territorial animals.

You can be a witch and not know anything about Tarot.

You can be a witch and know nothing about astrology.

You can be a witch and know zip about crystals, the I Ching, or Egyptian mythology.

You cannot be a witch and not know your own territory.


The Sybil's Voice


Back when I was taking my first steps on the Crooked Path, I read everything I could get my hands on on the topic. In practice, this meant that I was reading mostly books by the Witchcraft Revival's remarkable First Generation of Priestesses: Doreen Valiente, Patricia Crowther, Sybil Leek.

Why, then—though arguably I got more information from the first two—was Sybil's influence on me so outsized?

Easily told.

Sybil was certainly the best writer of the three; unlike her colleagues, she told stories, rather than just imparting information. But there's more.

Aunts Doreen and Pat were what my friend and colleague Macha Nightmare refers to as “Witches at Large.” Wherever they were from, the Craft itself was their home.

But Sybil was the Witch of somewhere. Even after she had emigrated to the States and lived in Florida for years, she was still the Witch of the New Forest.

Of all those early witch books, only hers had a sense of place.

All witchery is local. You cannot be a witch without a territory.


The Witch of....


How many times have you heard the phrase: “The Witch of [Place]”?

The Witch of Endor. The Witch of Edmonton. Even the Witch of the West.

(Hey, boomers, remember the Witch of Picayune? Ah ha. Ee hee. Oh ho.)

So: where are you the witch of? Witch, what's your territory?

Thou mayst not be a witch without one.






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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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