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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The Trouble With Cowans

 Peppermint Oil | NCCIH

I swear, it's the same every time I get back from a pagan festival.

Next morning, I get out of bed. I go downstairs to put the kettle on.

I get out the teapot and load the tea ball. Then I head for the back door to get a sprig of mint from the garden.

(Nothing says “Summer morning” better than fresh mint in your tea.)

Suddenly, contextual awareness kicks in.

Stop! I think. Go put some pants on first.

Cowans. Ye gods.

Seriously, what's wrong with these people?


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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.


  • Katie
    Katie Thursday, 03 August 2023

    Been there. Done that. Almost took off the T-shirt.

  • Mark Green
    Mark Green Thursday, 03 August 2023

    OK, this is funny.

    But could we [i]please[i] stop using that word (or, worse, "Muggles")?

    Having a down-putting term for people who aren't a part of your religion is culty.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Friday, 04 August 2023

    Heard and registered. Thanks!

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Friday, 04 August 2023

    Not so sure about "culty," though.

    Many--if not most--peoples with a collective sense of identity have a term for the "not-us people": barbaroi (non-Hellenes), loezim (non-Hebrews), mlechhas (non-Hindus). They're useful terms to have, and (such has been my experience, anyway) the source of much self-directed laughter.

    I'd contend that it's not so much the terms themselves as how they're used: potentially dangerous, if not downright chauvinistic, and to be used with full awareness of such.

    Even the Hopi have ka-Hopi, "un-Hopi." It's only considered derogatory when used of other Hopi, though. You can't expect non-Hopi to act (or think) like Hopi, after all.

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