I have had a surprising weekend. I was unexpectedly given notice that I have to move out of my current living situation by October 1st. Five weeks isn’t a lot of time to plan a move. Thankfully, some amazing people have come to my rescue with advice, huge favors, and words of encouragement and support. I am a bit overwhelmed by the kindness I have been shown. My crusty exterior has completely crumbled, and I have sobbed like a big baby more often than I care to admit over the past few days.
I’m a Georgia native and I really love the state. I like the mountains, the lovely coast, the people, the food, the music and the smell of the earth. To be honest though, Georgia has never really been very good to me. My family has all moved away, and year after year I find less reason to stay here. So when I found out I had to move, I decided to take it as an opportunity to do something bold: move somewhere completely different, far from my Southern roots.
For Pagans, it seems there are five major communities in the continental US. In the West you have the Bay Area, ringed by lovely green mountains, nestled by the sea and home to Reclaiming, Feri and other American traditions. In the South you have New Orleans, home of Vodou and down home rootworking. In the East is Salem, the tourist Mecca where Witches sell their wares every October, and New York is full of occultists who take the subway to Broadway shows. Then, in the cold, frosty North lay Paganistan: the twin cities of
Ankh-Morpork Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Moving to Paganistan makes a lot of sense. It has excellent public transit, low unemployment, reasonable cost of living, and is chock full of amazing Pagans. A lot of Pagans. Rumor has it that 15% of the metro population identifies as Pagan.
As a Southern girl, the concept of snow freaks me out almost as much as moving so far so quickly. I’m trying to keep a level head and get things done, and to help I’ve come up with a list of things about Paganistan that are kind of awesome.
- The term Paganistan was coined for the area by the amazing Steven Posch 23 years ago.
- My spiritual ancestor via lineage, Lady Sheba, predicted a Pagan temple would be built in Paganistan. So far, no luck.
- The Reformed Druids of North America was formed there in 1963 as a joke to get out of religious service attendance, and like Discordianism grew into a robust religious tradition.
- Llewellyn is headquartered in Paganistan.
- The fantastic PNC-MN is based in Paganistan.
- There’s a significant German/Norwegian cultural influence, which should be a bit of a culture shock for my Anglo/Irish/Welsh/Scot self.
- A Prairie Home Companion was created here by Garrison Keillor, and they once did a hilarious Pagan skit.
- The average high in the summer is 83.3 °F, which sounds ridiculously cold to me.
I’ll be honest, I feel a bit like I’m moving to Winterfell, and I’ve already been advised to send my shorts to Goodwill rather than pack them. But I’m looking forward to exploring the Cities. The lakes and rivers will be something new, as they aren’t quite as plentiful in my neck of the woods, and most of the lakes here are not natural but man-made. I look forward to visiting the shops, and maybe even checking out the Coffee Cauldron meetup. Checking out a Gnostic Mass at Leaping Laughter Lodge. Perhaps I’ll get to hang out with some of the Harmony Tribe folks, and maybe once I’m settled, take a day trip down to Circle Sanctuary.
I don’t have all the details nailed down yet. Not 100% sure where I will be staying or what day I will arrive in town. I’ve got some options I’m sorting out, and I’ve had some kind roommate offers. Meanwhile I’ll be busy shuffling belongings into storage, and sorting out my warmest clothes. I have a lot of hope and optimism about this new move. I think I’m going to like living in Paganistan. Being a Paganistani. It’s a scary change right now, but it’s going to be fun!