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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That Blood

It's a credo of the Fairy Faith.

If ever you should happen into That Land, Don't eat the food.

To eat it would be to bind yourself irrevocably to that world, from which you can “never return to your ain countree.”

Witches excepted.

All the stories agree that the Tribe of Witches are exempt from this taboo.

We have, shall we say, a special relationship with the Secret Commonwealth. As people of the betwixt-and-between, it is given to us to pass from world to world with something (dare I say it) akin to impunity.

Scottish witch Isobel Gowdie said of her visit to Elfhame: There I got meat, more than I could eat, nor did this hinder her comings and goings in the least.

Old Craft would have it that this right of free passage derives from being ourselves of That Blood, half-elven, from whence we draw our Otherness.

In certain Old Craft traditions that are wont to frame themselves in Biblical terms, witches are said to be descendants of the “Watchers” or fallen Angels—there were giants in the land in those days—but that's words to the same effect, and the other is obviously the elder story.


Not of the seed of Adam are we,

nor is Abraham our father;

but of the seed of the proud Angel,

driven out of heaven.


Of the seed of the horn-crowned Lord of Elves are we, he who in his youth (it is said) had Elfhame as a tooth-fee.

So witches: should ever you find yourselves in That Land, do not hesitate to avail yourselves of all its legendary hospitality.

Bind ourselves? We're already bound. It is the hospitality of kinfolk, and thereto we shall in our own good time repair.

And as for the rest: well, take your own chances as you see fit.

But never say I didn't warn you.






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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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