Witch City, Pagan Nation
In the beginning was chutzpah.
More than 20 years ago, as an angst-ridden teen growing up in an eastern US city, I read, with mounting incredulity, a book by the “Queen of American Witches,” one Lady Sheba (an oddly biblical name for such a figure, one might think).
Lady Sheba, it would seem, had a message for us all. A message from the Goddess.
Yes, indeed. The Great Goddess Herself, Source of All Life and Mighty Mother of Us All, had spoken to Lady Sheba, her favorite high priestess and chosen vessel.
The Goddess, you see, had a job for Lady Sheba. The Goddess wanted Lady Sheba to found a temple for Her, a public temple: the first public temple to the Goddess in 2000 years. In, of all places, Minneapolis.
I almost peed myself laughing. For one thing, there is no Queen of American Witches. (One might think we’d be more likely to have a president.) For another, the Goddess still has public temples today, as She always has. (Check out the Indian subcontinent if you don’t believe me.) On top of which, the Mother had public holy places in Western Europe well into the 17th century (in the Baltics, for example).
And, all this aside, if the Great Goddess, Source of All Life and Mighty Mother of Us All, were indeed to speak to someone and request a public temple in this day and age, what is the likelihood that She would choose, of all the cities of the world, a nowhere place like frozen, whitebread Minneapolis for the location?
“For Gods’ sakes!” I thought. “Of all the West’s great cities: Paris, London, Rome, Jerusalem evennow there would be a public statement! But Minneapolis?! You’ve got to be kidding!”
Inevitably, I suppose, the joke was on me. Shortly thereafter I moved to Minneapolis, and have lived here ever since.
It was the beginning of the Great Pagan Ingathering. In the following decades, Pagans of all different flavorsWitches, Wiccans, Wicans, Weikans, Druids, Heathens, Asatru, Theodists, Santeros, Voudunistes, neo-Canaanites, Dianics, Hellenic Reconstructionists, you name itfrom all over the western hemisphere and beyond, have come to the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and her homely stepsister across the Mississippi, Pig’s Eye, the city formerly known as St. Paul) to live. Together we have built one of the largest, most vibrant, creative and dynamic Pagan communities of any American city (not to mention the world).
There’s no public temple to the Goddess (yet), but there are numerous private ones (such as in my home). Lady Sheba and her wild claims have moved on, destination unknown, but the seeds she planted have grown (Gods help us) into a kind of Neo-Pagan Zionist movement.
So maybe the old fraud was on to something after all.
Here’s how it works. A given place gets the reputation for being a hotbed of the Craft. Witches, Wiccans and wannabes flock there. And hey, presto, a city of witches in a nation of Pagans: Paganistan. Pagan Zion. Come here, prove you’re Pagan (just how does one do that? Flash your tattoos?), and you get automatic citizenship. When there are enough of us, those that hate us will leave (and go back to Nazzistan, I suppose) and then we’ll be rid of them. Those that get along with us will stay and prosper, and there we’ll be: Pagan and Cowan living together (after all, someone’s got to keep the stores open on Samhain).
To quote a famous non-Witch: If you will it, it is no dream.
© 2003 Steven Posch. All rights reserved.