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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World's Witches Get Official Tartan

AP: Minneapolis, MN

If Steven Posch has his way, the witches of the world will soon have their own official tartan.

“Hopefully, it will be a done deal by next Samhain [Halloween],” he says.

“The process is surprisingly straightforward,” he adds. “You submit your pattern to the Scottish Registry of Tartans. If it's not already on file, you send them a swatch, pay the fee, and—yan, tan, tethera [one, two, three]—it's official.”

Is the Witch tartan an ancient pattern?

“The Dobunni [the ancient British tribe which, according to some, are ancestral to the witches of today] must have had their own traditional plaids,” says Posch, “but those have all, alas, been lost to the mists of time. This Witch tartan will be a new one, designed by a select Midwest artist.

“His technique and visual aesthetic are superb,” he adds, “and his knowledge of the Craft profound. Who better to craft a plaid for the Latter-Day Witches than the one who designed the god's body-paint for the first Midwest Grand Sabbat?”

What does the pattern look like?

“It's mostly black and green, with fawn and red 'piping,' as it's called,” he explains. “Sacred colors. Any witch worth her wood could tell you what they mean.”

He grins. “Assuming, of course, that she wanted to.”

Why does he get to choose which tartan is the official one?

“That's easy,” Posch says. “I thought of it first. That's how things work in the Craft. You have the idea, you do the work, you get the grief.”

What will it mean to have an official tartan?

Posch laughs. “Official to whom?” he asks. “To the Scottish Registry of Tartans, that's who. There's an old saying in the Craft: It takes three witches to make a coven; two witches is just an argument. Witches don't agree on anything. This will give us something in common, though, something that reenforces our tribal identity. Once people know about it, it will take on a life of its own.”

Are there non-official tartans associated with witches?

"Of course,” Posch smiles. “Gardner is a sept [associated family] of clan Gordon. I'm told that some Gardnerians have taken to using Gordon plaid for altarcloths. You've really got to relish the notion of a skyclad tradition with a tartan. 'Undress Gordon,' one could call it.

“Well, it takes many clans to make a tribe. This may not be our first, but it will be our tartan-of-record: the Dobunni-Hwicce-Witch tartan. [Said to be the source of the modern word “witch,” the Anglo-Saxon Hwicce were cultural and genetic successors to the Keltic Dobunni.]

“So the next time you're wearing your plaid and someone asks, 'Which clan?' you can tell him.

“And then watch his toes curl up backwards.

“Just like in the movies.”

 Stefanos Elafeos


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Tagged in: Dobunni Hwicce
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 Friday, 18 September 2015

    Your posts never cease to amazing and amuse me - thanks!

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