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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 refer to the area as "Paganistan".[2][3][4][5] In the Handbook of Contemporary Paganism, Murphy 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".[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] Llewellyn is "one of the country's oldest and largest independent publishers of Pagan books."[10]

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 The RDNA (Reformed Druids of North America) formed in response and they continued to meet even after the rule was rescinded.[10][11][12]

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.[13] This led to the creation of the American Council of Witches in late 1973.[14]

In 1975, Burtrand and Aura, initiates of the Weschckes via Lady Sheba, founded the Minnesota Church of Wicca.[15]

In 1987 the Druid group called "Keltria" was formed when Tony Taylor initiated a schism from Isaac Bonewits' ADF.[16]

In 1994, the Omphalos Pagan Community Center estimated that there are between 3,000 and 10,000 Pagans in Minnesota, "one of the largest concentrations in the country."[5]

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.[17]

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.[18][better source needed] 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.[19]

On April 9, 2011 the Star Tribune reported that "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.[20]

In 2020, the Asatru Folk Assembly opened a Baldurshof in Murdock, a heathen hof dedicated to the god Baldur.[21]

The Minnesotan Pagan community is the subject of a thesis by Doctor of Anthropology Murphy Pizza.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b Pizza, Murphy (2014). Paganistan: Contemporary Pagan Community in Minnesota's Twin Cities. ISBN 9781032242897. Retrieved 2023-05-09. ((cite book)): |website= ignored (help)
  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. Archived from the original on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-05-23. The name originated as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the flood of pagan believers who began arriving in the early 1970s for the annual witchcraft conventions known as Gnosticons, sponsored by Woodbury-based Llewellyn Publications, the world's largest independent occult publisher.
  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. ^ a b Sawyer Allen, Martha (1994-04-23). "Pagans seek respect and a place to call their own". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2023-05-09.
  6. ^ 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.
  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. ^ a b Hogan/Albach, Susan (1996-10-31). "Pagan's Progress: Halloween is a sacred holiday for growing Pagan groups". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2023-05-09. In 1963, several students at Carleton College in Northfield started the Reformed Druids of North America to protest a requirement that they attend religious services. Their action inspired the formation of Druid groups around the country.
  11. ^ "Druids - Admissions - Carleton College". 2018-03-16. Archived from the original on 2018-03-16. Retrieved 2023-05-09. In order to protest the mandatory Christian chapel services that Carleton used to have way back when, a group of students semi-jokingly created the Reformed Druids of North America. This quickly evolved into a fairly large, completely serious religion, and at one point the head Druidical religious leader of North America lived at Carleton.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Grimassi, Raven (2000). The Encyclopedia of Wicca and Witchcraft. St.Paul: Llewllyn. p. 394. ISBN 1-56718-257-7.
  14. ^ Guiley, Rosemary Ellen (1999). The encyclopedia of witches and witchcraft. New York: Checkmark Books. p. 362. ISBN 0-8160-3849-X.
  15. ^ "A Brief History of Neo-Paganism in the Twin Cities", 2002, Minnesota Pagan Press, pg. 19
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Haynie, Devon (2007-03-04). "Witches launch PR campaign for Wiccan war dead". Naples Daily News. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  18. ^ Saint Paul Pioneer Press, October 31, 2010, Page: E4, "In the Twin Cities, several businesses create community for the pagans among us"
  19. ^ "Editorial shorts: Desire for clean highways shared by many faiths". StarTribune. 2008-07-12. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  20. ^ "Wiccan prisoner sues state, claiming religious rights violated". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on 2011-04-13. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  21. ^ "Baldurs Hof in Murdock, Minnesota". Pagan Places. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 2020-09-11.