This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article may contain excessive or inappropriate references to self-published sources. Please help improve it by removing references to unreliable sources where they are used inappropriately. (May 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This article's lead section may be too short to adequately summarize the key points. Please consider expanding the lead to provide an accessible overview of all important aspects of the article. (November 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

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]


In 1961, Llewellyn Worldwide, an independent publisher of books for the New Age, Pagan, and occult audience[7] was moved to Saint Paul[8][self-published source?] 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 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 The RDNA (Reformed Druids of North America) formed in response and they continued to meet even after the rule was rescinded.[10][11]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 the Minnesota Church of Wicca.[14]

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

Northern Dawn Local Council of the Covenant of the Goddess[16] was founded in 1982 by Church of the Earth and Rowan Tree. NorDCoG hosted public sabbats from Samhain of 1982 until April 2016 at which time they disbanded. It had hosted the CoG national gathering (Merrymeet) twice.[17]

In 1987 the Druid group called "Keltria" was formed when Tony Taylor initiated a schism from Isaac Bonewits' ADF.[18]

The Minneapolis daily newspaper Star Tribune edition of Saturday, October 31, 1992 had an article called "Witches and pagans gather for a special New Year's Eve..." which included the phrase, "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.

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.[19][self-published source?]

The New Alexandria Library opened in 2000 as a subscription library. It was founded by members 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 June 2004.[citation needed]

During the fight for Pagan veterans' rights against the Veterans Administration, 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.[20]

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.[21][better source needed] 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 which Pagan volunteers kept clean.[22] The first bureau for the Pagan Newswire Collective was formed in Paganistan.[23][self-published source?]

On April 9, 2011 the Star Tribune 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.[24]

In 2020, the Asatru Folk Assembly opened a Baldurshof in Murdock, a heathen hof dedicated to the god Baldur.[25] Baldurshof is a 120-year old former church located on the main street of this tiny prairie town.

Research of Minnesotan paganism

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][self-published source?] 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


  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. (eds.), Sacred schisms: how religions divide (PDF), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 249–261, ISBN 978-0-511-58071-0, archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-10, 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.
  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. ^ "A Brief History of Neo-Paganism in the Twin Cities", 2002, Minnesota Pagan Press, pg. 19
  15. ^ About SPC « Sacred Paths Center
  16. ^ Covenant of the Goddess
  17. ^ Niet compatibele browser | Facebook
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Coffee Cauldron Celebrates 15th Anniversary | Minnesota Pagan News & Resources
  20. ^ Haynie, Devon (2007-03-04). "Witches launch PR campaign for Wiccan war dead". Naples Daily News. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  21. ^ Saint Paul Pioneer Press, October 31, 2010, Page: E4, "In the Twin Cities, several businesses create community for the pagans among us"
  22. ^ "Editorial shorts: Desire for clean highways shared by many faiths". StarTribune. 2008-07-12. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  23. ^ "About PNC-Minnesota Bureau". PNC-Minnesota Bureau. 23 July 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  24. ^ "Wiccan prisoner sues state, claiming religious rights violated |". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on 2011-04-13. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  25. ^ "Baldurs Hof in Murdock, Minnesota". Pagan Places. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  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. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  27. ^ Linde, Nels (2010-12-24). "Interview with Pagan Athropologist, Murph Pizza". PNC-Minnesota Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  28. ^ Pizza, Murphy (2008), "Magical children and meddling elders: paradoxical patterns in contemporary pagan cultural transmission", in Pizza, Murphy; Lewis, James R. (eds.), Handbook of Contemporary Paganism, Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion, vol. 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.