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 One Thing Never to Say to a Cowan Man

Although as contemporary pagans, we spend much of our lives surrounded by cowans—non-pagans—there remains much about cowan thinking that pagans find opaque.

So, in the interest of maintaining grith—the old Witch word for “peace between communities”—I'd like to offer a point of inter-communal etiquette that might well save you from a potentially embarrassing situation.

Never compare a cowan man to a woman.

If you do, he will interpret it as an insult.

If you're thinking: But that doesn't make any sense; why would anyone find being compared to a woman insulting? please be aware that I share your bewilderment.

Even so, counter-intuitive as it may seem, this is how many cowans think, and as good pagan neighbors, it's our responsibility to be aware and to be respectful, even when we disagree.

Yes, cowans can sometimes seem mysterious and incomprehensible.

But we're pagans. We're accustomed to accommodating difference.

 

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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.

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