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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Silent Scream

 Nalateswari - Lord Bhairav Aarti Cost ...



Every morning, a man stands in front of the Indian Parliament building, waving a lighted oil lamp.

As the flames make their mystic circles, he sings a song that is sung daily in tens of thousands of temples across India, the song that accompanies the rite of puja—offering—to the gods, but with new, nontraditional, lyrics.

He's worshiping India's newly-reelected prime minister, Narendra Modi.


Welcome to Hindu India.

Oh, I know: in some ways, this act of worship is not so distant from the fawning adoration received by a certain convicted felon from his admiring Evangelical electorate.

Me, I'm a pagan. I understand the grain of incense offered to the emperor's spirit. I understand the mystique of the Sacred King.

Still, presidents and prime ministers are not sacred kings. Neither of these men has made the Sacred Marriage with the Land. Neither—I feel quite certain—would ultimately be willing to lay down his life for the People, especially not the latter.

The cynic in me can't help but wonder if the pujari in front of the Parliament building in Delhi isn't getting paid for his act of political religiosity. Still, I'm sorry: deep down, I can't help but feel—as I do about American Evangelicals and their Orange Calf—that something foul, something deeply, deeply unclean is going on here.



I text an Indo-Europeanist friend, describing the Modi-puja that I've just heard about on the news.

Is this what the polytheist future of the West looks like?

A little while later, he messages back.

This is exactly what it looks like, yes.

My mouth falls open, a rictus of horror. I text him back, a silent scream:










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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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