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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Dear Cowan

 

 

 

 Dear Cowan (that's “non-pagan” in Pagan),

 

Yes, I'm pagan, and no, I don't want to talk about it.

That may surprise you. Here in the US, we're lousy with people who can't wait to tell you all about their religion, usually in excruciating detail.

Well, I'm not one of them.

I'm not just being froward here; this is an integral part of who we are. For us, religion is tribal; it's ours to us, and—quite frankly—none of your damn business. Think of the religion of Zuñi pueblo. It's not for talking about with non-Zuñi. As a Zuñi elder once remarked about missionaries, “They throw their religion away as if it isn't worth anything, and then they expect us to take it seriously.”

In fact, what seems to you mere friendly curiosity—and we are interesting, I acknowledge that—strikes us as both rude and deeply intrusive.

Oh, I understand that your questions are well-intentioned. What you need to understand is that, as a non-pagan, you're operating out of privilege, and in fact—if you'll pardon me for putting it quite so baldly—a sense of entitlement. You think that you have the right to ask me anything that you bloody well please, and that I somehow owe you an answer.

Well, I'm here to tell you that it just ain't so.

If you really want to know about me, my people, and our ways, there are plenty of resources out there. Go and educate yourself. Then if you come to me with questions, you won't be coming from a place of ignorance, and I may just consider answering.

Maybe.

Well, there you are, my friend: you now know something about paganism that you didn't know before. If you want to maintain cordial relations with me, you'll remember it.

So...how 'bout them Vikes, eh? Think maybe we'll be seein' some snow anytime soon?

Truly,

 

A Pagan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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