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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

The Green Man - Home | Facebook 

My friend and I couldn't have been at the Renn Fest for more than two minutes when we ran into a gaggle of fellow pagans.

This, of course, is hardly to be wondered at. Renn Fests are famed pagan Meccas, and this particular one happened to be the Paganistani (i.e. Minnesota) Renn Fest, after all. There are so many pagans at the Minnesota Renn Fest that for a while it actually because fashionable to wear a cross, not so much out of religious conviction, as to stand out in the crowd.

They ask where we're headed, and we explain that we always start off our day there by pouring a libation for the Green Man. Pagans generally being game for spontaneous religious observance, they come along.

A pagan landmark of the MN Renn Fest—“Let's meet up at the Green Man,” people say—the Green Man stands probably 20 feet tall: a large, archaic-looking wooden mask mounted on a tree trunk, and bodied out all around with a tangle of fox grapes. This being September, the grapes are usually just coming ripe around now.

We stand before the Green Man, make our prayers, and pour out our libation, relishing the opportunity to indulge in public pagan worship. We'd like to dance around Him—that's the traditional observance—but there aren't quite enough of us to join hands.

Fortunately, this is the Renn Fest.

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Back in the early days of Paganistan, word went around that Circle Sanctuary's Selena Fox was going to be interviewed on a local TV talk show.

Not only that, but—hoping, no doubt, to generate friction—they had invited some fundie to "debate" her.

Yes, folks, from the city of St. Paul, it's the Pagans v. the Nazzes*, Live on 5.

Virtually the entire pagan population of the Twin Cities converged on the studio that morning. When, priming the audience before the cameras started rolling, the host asked if he had any pagans there that day—expecting, no doubt, a resounding silence in response—the eruption from the bleachers nearly knocked him off his feet.

The nazz—I can't remember his name or what charnel** he was from—looked equally gob-smacked. Whatever he'd expected, it certainly wasn't a vociferously partisan audience for the Opposition.

Cameras rolled. I can't remember anything that the nazz said; I can't remember anything that Selena said. That wasn't really, after all, what this was all about. What I can tell you is that Selena landed the winning punch: towards the end of the debate, to emphasize a point, she whipped out a maquette of the Statue of Liberty—our Lady of Freedom—and gleefully waved it in the air like a torch.

I'll bet they heard the cheers across the River in Minneapolis.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

Sniper Rifle Cross Hairs Isolated On White Background. Stock Photo, Picture  And Royalty Free Image. Image 5243212.

 

Well, the proverbial journey of a thousand miles begins.

For the last eleven months, Paganistan has been in the cross-hairs of history. Blocks from where I write this, George Floyd died at the hands of then-policeman Derek Chauvin. The coven met that night; we were dancing for the New Moon in the back yard when it happened.

Since then, the attention of the entire world has been focused on this most pagan of neighborhoods, in this most pagan of cities.

For four nights last May and June, this neighborhood burned. For four nights, the arsonists and looters wreaked havoc here while the authorities dithered and did nothing. We were the bride that they threw to the wolves in order to buy themselves time.

Well, the verdict's finally in, and the jury came through.

The wave of relief washing across the city was almost palpable: a collective exhalation of breath held for nearly a year. Now we take up the tools and set to work. There's much to be done, and change comes from the center.

Welcome to the New Paganistan.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Siberian Squill: Blue Harbingers of Spring | Horticulture and Home Pest News

 

I'm walking past the neighborhood Scandinavian store—I live in Minneapolis, I can say that—when I stop dead in my tracks and my mouth falls open in disbelief.

The front window is filled with Midsummer stuff.

It's the 5th of April, the Equinox barely a fortnight gone. With Beltane nearly a moon away, already they're on to the Solstice?

Gods. If ever you've wondered what life in Pagandom-to-come will look like, welcome to the future.

Here in the North, we're all instinctive Sun-worshipers, and I mean that literally, not in the sneering way that the term is usually used in the secular press. We know where life comes from, and Midwinter and Midsummer are the twin hinges of our year.

Still, all things in their time. I'm all for sympathetic magic but, when it comes to Turning the Wheel, these things must be done delicately, or you hurt the spell.

Spring has come early to Minneapolis this year. We had our first 80 degree day Monday; the greening lawns are smokey-blue with "Siberian" squills. After the Winter at the end of the Year that Lasted for Three, people are out enjoying the warmth and the freedom.

Still, there's tension beneath the surface. Less than a year since the unrest and burnings that followed George Floyd's death at the hands of then-policeman Derek Chauvin, the trial has been an exercise in collective re-traumatization. Everyone hopes for a good outcome; everyone fears what a bad one could mean. Just coming 'round to the anniversary has been emotionally difficult.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Riot Wine

I live in the pagan neighborhood of Minneapolis, the very area which bore the brunt of the looting and arson following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the MPD on Memorial Day.

It's been a hard time for the people of this neighborhood. In addition to everything else, we've been left without a functioning bank, pharmacy, grocery, liquor or hardware store in the area. In an already difficult time, life here has become that much more difficult.

Recovery has been slow. You still have to go elsewhere to bank or get hardware or (legal) drugs, but the first local grocery reopened (thank Goddess) about a month ago. Two weeks ago, the first neighborhood liquor store reopened its doors.

The store had been pillaged during the Four Nights of Terror, but (as one would expect) the looters mostly went for the hard stuff.

So now they're having a Riot Sale: fire- and water-damaged bottles of wine—some of it quite good—at the unbelievably low price of $3 apiece. Gods know, we've earned it.

It's Saturday Eve, the end of another trying week. Like they say, it's an ill wind that blows nobody some good.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Still-Life with Face Mask

Heading out in the morning, my eye falls on the assemblage of items on the table by the front door: a white cotton face-mask with long ties, stubs of sidewalk chalk in various colors, and a mottled black cow's horn, point trimmed for blowing.

Well, that sums it up pretty neatly, I think to myself.

 

Face Mask

In these months of the pandemic, face-masks like this one have become more or less de rigueur. As Minnesota slowly opens up again, everyone is expected to wear them in enclosed public spaces. Certainly the vehement explosion of protests following the public murder of George Floyd is in some part pressure-cooker effect following the months-long covid lock-down.

Sidewalk Chalk

I don't go to demos myself, but I'm a big believer in sidewalk activism. (Hey, I'm a writer.) The sidewalk in front of my house speaks, and what it says it true.

Murder is Murder, it says.

Justice for George Floyd Now, it says.

Silence = Complicity, it says: Speak Out!

Blowing Horn

My neighborhood has borne the brunt of the Twin Cities' epidemic of riot, arson, and looting. (We were the sacrificial goat that those in charge threw to the wolves in order to buy themselves time to get their act together.) When the authorities don't, or can't, come through, it's up to us to look out for ourselves.

At our Block Watch meeting, we agreed that if you need help, the best thing to do is to make noise. For most of the neighbors, that means banging pots and pans, but I'm a pagan, and we do things with style: pagan style. Hence the horn, just like in the old days.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Gods and Monsters

Ye gods.

Nazi infiltrators, anarchy in the streets, a city on fire.

And I'm going out to mow the lawn.

Absurd, or profound? Wisdom, or folly?

Oh well. My city is on fire. The head of state is a blustering incompetent. My country is tearing out its own heart. Right now, those are things that I can't do anything about.

But at least the yard will look good.

 

The stories going round here at Riot Central would have it that the worst of the mayhem that has dogged the heels of justified protests like a fell shadow—the arson, in particular—is the orchestrated work of out-of-town...well, I'm just going to say Nazis.

(You can go all polysyllabic here if you want to. For the purposes of this post, I'm just going to call a Nazi a Nazi.)

There would seem to be a certain amount of evidence to back up such stories. I've seen the trucks with the gun racks and the out-of-state license plates—or no license plates at all (talk about cowardly)—in my own neighborhood.

Since the police didn't have to waste their time and energy on protesters Saturday night (take heed, O ye self-righteous), they actually managed to nab a lot of these f*ckers by closing the freeways and, in particular, barricading the main drags.

This latter move is very clever. Locals who needed to, could still get around because we know the back ways, but the out-of-towners were stuck like roaches in a roach motel. A lot of those trucks, I hear, had lots and lots of weapons in them.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    These apples taste like ash.
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, Proudboys might not be forethoughtful or well-organized, but I can easily imagine a foreign government discreetly payi
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Well might one wonder. Maybe the Radical Reich really is as forethoughtful, well-organized, and strategic as these stories would i
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Strange, this morning's paper mentioned that the mayor of Richmond attributed a lot of last night's arson to people with out of st

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