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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Of 'Idols' and 'Idolatry', or: You'll Never Please All the Ancestors



I'm telling my archaeologist friend about my visit to a local Hindu celebration.

“I got to help carry the 'idols' in to the altar,” I tell him, drawing air-quotes. Smiling, I add: “My Jewish ancestors must have been reeling in their graves.”

(The three deities, who live at the pujari's house, traveled to the Lutheran church where the celebration was to be held in the back seat of his four-by-four, covered with a cloth because they were “asleep.” As we bore them, one by one, into the sanctuary, he preceded each god, ringing little cymbals and chanting a responsorial praise song. Music accompanies gods wherever they go.)

My friend smiles.

“Ah, but your Judaean ancestors must have been dancing in theirs,” he says.

This is no more than truth. One of the most common finds in pre-Exilic Hebrew houses are are little clay terafim of gods and goddesses.

As for “idols” and “idolatry”: of all god-images, the most dangerous by far are Books. Books have wrought more wrong in the world than any statue ever did.

Well, you'll never please all the ancestors. Notwithstanding, it's on us to remember them all. In the end, though, you just have to go with affinity.

Sometimes the ones that we stand closest to—in some ways, at least—are the ones that are farthest away.



לכל עםי הארץ תשפ״ג טובה ומתוקה׃











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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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