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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'He Was Very Brave'

We'll be enacting the Men's Mysteries, the rites of initiation into manhood, for young N. next summer, so until then he's apprenticing with the Warlocks of the Driftless. That's how he came to be part of the Raising of the Bull Stone at Sweetwood Temenos in SW Witchconsin this past weekend.

From conception to erection, the event has been some five years in the making. Moving the Stone from its original bed in the wall of the coulee (ravine), across said coulee, and up the other side to its current location on the shoulder of Sweetwood Ridge, took only four work days in all, but since we meet only twice a year (and took time off for the pandemic), it's been a matter of years to get to this culminating moment.

Now the six-foot, 1000-pound, 240 million-year-old slab of pre-Cambrian Wisconsin limestone stands proudly in its new shrine.

As the youngest present, it was N. who climbed down into the pit to deposit the foundation offering. So it is that the Stone, which was already old before the dinosaurs existed, now stands on the back of a Bull.

When I drop N. off at home again early Sunday afternoon, his mom comes out to meet us. She doesn't say a word, but her eyes ask the questions.

“The circumcision went beautifully,” I assure her. “He was very brave.”

She flashes me the grin that my dark humor deserves, and I return it.

N. just glares. No 16-year old boy wants to hear you discussing his dick—even obliquely—with his mother.

The standing stones rise. The life of the tribe continues.






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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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