Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Darrins, Marindas, and Coven-Spouses

The non-witch husband of a witch is, of course, a darrin; everybody knows that.

Call it a Classical reference.

But what do you call a witch or pagan who is partnered with the member of a coven, but is not him- or herself a member of the same coven?

My friend and colleague Magenta Griffith raised this interesting question at a recent Full Moon. Hey, we're a youthful religion, and we're still getting our terminological ducks (so to speak) in a row.

For my coven, this is a particularly pertinent question, since we've got several such folks who regularly attend our holiday events—in some cases, for decades—but who do not themselves “belong” to the coven. (Our unofficial “No couples” policy has served us well over the course of the last 37-going-on-38 years; it's certainly at least one reason why, as a coven, we've managed to last so long.)

Well, taking darrin as a paradigm, are there any examples in the “literature” (I use the term loosely) of one witch married to another who doesn't belong to the same coven?

If so, I don't know of any. Maybe you do. If so, I'd love to hear about them.

Meanwhile, since a coven is analogous to a family, such people are the functional equivalent of those who have married into the family: kin, but not biological kin.

So if we're looking for a workaday, reasonably transparent term, I'd recommend coven-spouses. This, as a friend and coven-sib pointed out, has the advantage of belonging to the same semantic field as coven-sib and daughter coven.

If, on the other hoof, we're looking for something witchy and mysterious, I'd recommend marinda. In my friend and colleague Stephanie Fox's family, this is the elided term for someone who has married into the family.

So, what do you call a witch or pagan who is partnered with the member of a coven, but is not him- or herself a member of the same coven?

If you want to be clear, coven-spouse.

If you want to be mysterious, marinda.

Meanwhile, the search for a darrin-equivalent continues.




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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Jan Erickson
    Jan Erickson Saturday, 30 June 2018

    I prefer witch's consort...


  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Sunday, 01 July 2018

    I've always liked "consort": I have a fondness for that peculiar group of words in English (there are about 100 or so) that mean one thing when stressed on the first syllable and something else when stressed on the second. ("Adept" would be another example.)

    Still, not all of us are cut out to be consorts. It takes a special type of personality.

    Just like being married to a witch, come to think of it. Hmm.

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