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Pretty Much Everything That You Really Need to Know About Paganism

Bealtaine 2008, Hidden Falls Park.

Maybe 100 people are gathered in two concentric circles. The Great Man-Woman Dance is about to begin.

Our coven kid, of course, wanted to be in the midst of all the excitement, but at three he was a little small for the dancing, and I didn't want him to get tromped.

As it happens, I was standing in the middle of the circles, leading the singing, so I scooped him up and set him on my shoulders. There he sang along happily, drumming on my chest with his heels, and watched the wheeling of the Men's and Women's Circles, their parting and their coming together.

Afterward, over the food, we discussed.

“The presiding priest spent much of the ritual with a child sitting on his shoulders,” air-reviewed my friend Sparky T. Rabbit.

He laughed, then added:

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Witch Watch

Alley scene in Paganistan.

Warning with enforcement clause.

...
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Practical Time-Travel

Have you ever Gone Back and Entered Into a particular ritual?

They say that when it wasn't safe to attend the Sabbat physically, this is exactly what they used to do, with or without benefit of flying ointment.

Some years back, I was priest at the May Eve celebration of one of the local Wiccan churches. It's the custom hereabouts to observe Beltane with the Great Rite, and we'd designed the ritual so that three symbolic Great Rites were enacted simultaneously: Male-Female, Female-Female, Male-Male.

I was on blade, John on (drinking) horn. At the moment of Union, there was this funny little extra zing to it, a soupçon of je ne sais quoi which, at the time, I couldn't quite figure out.

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The Great Lammas Massacre

It's gone down in local pagan lore as the Great Lammas Massacre.

Lammas 1985. One of the local Wiccan churches is holding their August Eve in a city park.

In mid-invocation, the high priest looks up and sees police approaching, so he picks up his athame and starts to open the circle.

Bad idea.

Anyway, no one got shot, and, in the long run, what opened up instead was a conversation that has resulted in a pretty good ongoing relationship between local law enforcement and the pagan community.

I talked a while back with a woman who had been there that night. She'd been a neophyte at the time, and had been wearing a white robe and a crown of flowers.

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    That police officer from the mainland was very lucky that she didn't lead him on a frenzied chase through a cave to meet the...
An Open Letter to the Editor of 'City Pages'

Dear Editor,

This concerning your coverage of Paganicon 2018 (“The Twin Cities—AKA Paganistan—Will Host a World Gathering of Witches”).

In the vocabulary of modern Witches, the word cowan (rhymes with plowin') refers to a non-Witch. It is not necessarily a derogatory term.

Not necessarily.

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The Young Elders of Paganistan

When you've been doing something for six months, and everyone around you has only been doing it for five, that makes you the elder.

Gods help us all.

That was the situation back in the early days of Paganistan. At the time, most of us hadn't been doing this for very long, but the fact that we'd been doing it longer than anyone else made us the de facto elders of the community.

Incredibly enough, the community survived anyway. It not only survived, but flourished.

You learn fast when you have to. When people around you expect you to be wise, it's surprising how wise you can actually be.

Well, sometimes.

It may well be that you yourself are in this same position: a premature elder in a young community.

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If Pagans Had Religious Police

(Doorbell.)

Good morning, blessed be.

I'm Sergeant Johnny Deer of the PRP, the Paganistani Religious Police. I'm afraid we've had some complaints about this residence.

Yes, I'm afraid it is. Ma'am, it's almost March. You really do need to put the Yule things away. We've got to keep the Wheel turning, ma'am. In this age of Climate Change, we really can't afford to take any chances.

Oh, I understand completely. Believe me, I know all about busy. On this card, you'll find a phone number to call if you need a hand; there's free assistance available from the Commonwealth for the seasonally-challenged. Turning the Wheel is everyone's job, we like to say.

The people across the street? What do you mean?

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