Neopaganism in Minnesota

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Minnesota's Twin Cities region is home to a large community of Wiccans, Witches, Druids, Heathens, and a number of Pagan organizations.[1] Some neopagans in the USA refer to the area as Paganistan,[2][3][4] a term coined by linguist, poet, and humorist Steven Posch in 1989, which he then used in the title of his spoken word album Radio Paganistan : Folktales of the Urban Witches.[5][6]

History[edit]

In 1961, Llewellyn Worldwide, an independent publisher of books for the New Age, Pagan, and Occult audience [7] was moved to Saint Paul[8] by the new owner Carl L. Weschcke. At the time they were simply an astrological publisher.[9]

In 1963 Carleton College in nearby Northfield, Minnesota, established a rule that all students had to attend religious services of some kind. The RDNA (Reformed Druids of North America) formed in response and they continued to meet even after the Rule was rescinded.[10][11]

In 1971, Llewellyn hosted the "First American Aquarian Festival of Astrology and the Occult Sciences" which went on to be known as Gnosticon. Llewellyn's publications and Gnosticon drew more attention to Witchcraft, contemporary Paganism, and their connection to the Twin Cities.[12] This led to the creation of the American Council of Witches[13] in late 1973 and the Council Convened at the Great American Witchmeet in 1974.

In 1975, Burtrand and Aura, initiates of the Weschckes via Lady Sheba, founded MCoW, the Minnesota Church of Wicca[14]

In 1979 Louie Piper opened Evenstar Books. This metaphysical shop became a center of Pagan activities for almost 30 years[who?], and is the direct predecessor of the Sacred Paths Center.[15]

Prodea coven was formed in 1980 [16] by three members of the University of Minnesota’s Pagan student organization "Children of the Night", including Steven Posch.

Northern Dawn Local Council of the Covenant of the Goddess [17] was founded in 1982 by three covens; Church of the Earth, Prodea, and Rowan Tree. NorDCoG has continued to host public sabbats since Samhain of 1982, and has hosted the CoG national gathering (Merrymeet) twice [18]

In 1987 The Druid group called "Keltria" was formed when Tony Taylor initiated a schism from Isaac Bonewits' ADF[19]

Saturday, October 31, 1992 the Star Tribune the Minneapolis Daily Newspaper, like many other papers on Halloween, had an article called “Witches and pagans gather for a special New Year's Eve…” and is quoted saying: “The Twin Cities may have one of the largest pagan populations in the United States, so large that one member calls Minneapolis and St. Paul ‘…the capitol of Paganistan.’”

Monday, May 23, 1994 in an unusual non-Halloween Star Tribune article titled “Pagans seek respect and a place to call their own - Religion is legitimate, has spiritual base, followers say” the paper is quoted "They estimate that there are 3,000 to 10,000 Pagans in Minnesota, one of the largest concentrations in the country. They call this area ‘Paganistan’ in honor of the Pagans. "

The first Coffee Cauldron was held in 1995. This was a monthly, then semi-monthly gathering of Pagans that now stands as the longest running regular gathering in Paganistan.[20]

The New Alexandria Library opened in 2000 as a subscription library. It was a subsidiary of the Wiccan Church of Minnesota. Its stated purpose was "to create an archive that preserves our Pagan history, culture, and heritage, to ensure community access to hard-to-find and out-of-print materials, to provide access to a wide range of information and training materials, and to serve as a center of studies and research for scholars of Neo-Paganism." Citing financial reasons, the library closed its doors in July 2004.[citation needed]

During the fight for Pagan Veteran's rights against the Veterans Administration, named the Pentacle Quest, a nationally publicized rally and ritual took place at the Minnesota State Capitol Mall on February 24, 2007. The rally and ritual were organized by the Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance (UMPA)[21]

The Sacred Paths Center, which opened March 13, 2009, was at the time the only full-time non-profit Pagan community center in the United States.[22] Unfortunately, it closed its doors in early 2012, amid allegations of financial malfeasance. The Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance, formed to fight for Pagan civil rights during the Pentacle Quest, adopted a stretch of Highway in 2008, and Pagan volunteers keep it clean.[23] The first bureau for the Pagan Newswire Collective was formed in Paganistan.[24]

On April 9, 2011 the StarTribune was quoted: "The Twin Cities metro area -- dubbed "Paganistan" by Wiccans for having one of the highest witch concentrations in the country—has an estimated 20,000 witches who meet in 236 different covens or groups..." in an article about a Wiccan prisoner suing the State for his religious freedom.[25]

Research of Minnesotan paganism[edit]

As one of five larger population concentrations of pagans in the United States (the other four being San Francisco, New Orleans, New York City and Salem, Massachusetts)[citation needed], the Minnesotan Pagan community is the subject of a thesis by Doctor of Anthropology Murphy Pizza.[26][27] In her book Handbook of Contemporary Paganism, Dr. Pizza characterizes the Minnesota Pagan community as "eclectic" and comprising "many different groups - Druid orders, Witch covens, legal Pagan churches, Ethnic Reconstructionist groups, and many more solitaries, interlopers and poly-affiliated Pagans [...]".[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paganistan: The emergence and persistence of a contemporary Pagan community in Minnesota's Twin Cities
  2. ^ Clifton, Chas S. (2006-06-08). Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca And Paganism in America. AltaMira Press. p. 68. ISBN 0-7591-0202-3. Today, the Twin Cities area of Minnesota is referred to by some American Pagans as 'Paganistan.' 
  3. ^ Gihring, Tim (April 2009). "Welcome to Paganistan". Minnesota Monthly. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  4. ^ Pizza, Murphy (2009), "Schism as midwife: how conflict aided the birth of a contemporary Pagan community", in Lewis, James R.; Lewis, Sarah M., Sacred schisms: how religions divide, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 249–261, ISBN 978-0-511-58071-0, retrieved 2011-05-25, [...] the Pagan community of the Minnesota Twin Cities, otherwise known by members as "Paganistan", 
  5. ^ Profile: (Personal)
  6. ^ Paganistan | Minnesota Pagan News & Resources
  7. ^ Buckland, Raymond; "The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism", 2002, p. 509, Visible Ink Press
  8. ^ "About Us: History: The 1960s". Llewellyn Worldwide. Retrieved 2011-05-23. [self-published source?]
  9. ^ Buckland, Raymond; "The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism", 2002, p. 507-8, Visible Ink Press
  10. ^ Carleton College: Admissions: Druids
  11. ^ Adler, Margot (2006). Drawing down the moon : witches, Druids, goddess-worshippers, and other pagans in America (Rev. ed. with expanded appendix. ed.). New York: Penguin Books. pp. 298–303. ISBN 0-14-303819-2. 
  12. ^ Grimassi, Raven (2000). The Encyclopedia of Wicca and Witchcraft. St.Paul: Llewllyn. p. 394. ISBN 1-56718-257-7. 
  13. ^ Guiley, Rosemary Ellen (1999). The encyclopedia of witches and witchcraft. New York: Checkmark Books. p. 362. ISBN 0-8160-3849-X. 
  14. ^ Magenta of Prodea; "A Brief History of Neo-Paganism in the Twin Cities", 2002, Minnesota Pagan Press, pg. 19
  15. ^ About SPC « Sacred Paths Center[better source needed][self-published source?]
  16. ^ Llewellyn's Magical Almanac ... - Google Books
  17. ^ Covenant of the Goddess
  18. ^ Niet compatibele browser | Facebook
  19. ^ Hopman, Ellen Evert; Bond, Lawrence (1996). People of the earth : the new Pagans speak out. Rochester, Vt.: Destiny Books. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-89281-559-3. 
  20. ^ Coffee Cauldron Celebrates 15th Anniversary | Minnesota Pagan News & Resources[self-published source?]
  21. ^ Haynie, Devon (2007-03-04). "Witches launch PR campaign for Wiccan war dead". Naples Daily News. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  22. ^ Saint Paul Pioneer Press, October 31, 2010, Page: E4, "In the Twin Cities, several businesses create community for the pagans among us"[better source needed]
  23. ^ "Editorial shorts: Desire for clean highways shared by many faiths". StarTribune. 2008-07-12. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  24. ^ "About PNC-Minnesota Bureau". PNC-Minnesota Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-23. [self-published source?]
  25. ^ Wiccan prisoner sues state, claiming religious rights violated | StarTribune.com
  26. ^ Pizza, Murphy (2009). "Paganistan: The emergence and persistence of a contemporary Pagan community in Minnesota's Twin Cities". THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN - MILWAUKEE. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  27. ^ Linde, Nels (2010-12-24). "Interview with Pagan Athropologist, Murph Pizza". PNC-Minnesota Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-23. [self-published source?]
  28. ^ Pizza, Murphy (2008), "Magical children and meddling elders: paradoxical patterns in contemporary pagan cultural transmission", in Pizza, Murphy; Lewis, James R., Handbook of Contemporary Paganism, Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion 2, Brill, pp. 497–508, ISBN 978-90-04-16373-7, retrieved 2011-05-27, 'Paganistan' is the nickname, and now moniker of self-identification, of the uniquely innovative, eclectic, and feisty Neopagan community of the Twin Cities Metro area of Minnesota. Filled with many different groups - Druid orders, Witch covens, legal Pagan churches, Ethnic Reconstructionist groups, and many more solitaries, interlopers and poly-affiliated Pagans, the community gained its name from priest Steven Posch, and has proudly adopted it.