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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Hey, you wouldn't happen to have a three-legged stool we could use, would you?

Great. We need one for the ritual.

Ha! No, not the men's part of the Men's Mysteries. (Yeah, right! As if I'd give it away those secrets that easily!) No, the public part, beforehand. The part you're in.

Well, for sitting on, of course. It's the birthing-stool. Three legs? You know.

(I suppose in the old days it would have been the real thing, the one you'd actually sat on while birthing him. Gods. I'll tell you, in those days, witches were witches.)

The men come to get him. You sit on the birthing-stool; he kneels between your knees.

You give him your blessing. You give him the bowl of milk; he drinks it.

Then you both get up, you turn him around, give him a push between the shoulder blades, and say: Go forth a boy, come back a man, and we take him off to the woods.

I mean, the symbolism couldn't get much more obvious, could it?

I know, I know: your firstborn son, so cute and little and pink, and now he's all grown up and ready for his Man-Making.

Connections and separations: that's why we do this stuff.

Believe me, mom, this ritual is as much for your sake, as it is for his.





For KH




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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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