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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India being India, there's an entire genre of Bollywood films about gods and goddesses.

They're called “the theologicals.”

Some are overtly mythological in nature, but the vast majority tell the story of how our hero N manages, with the help of deity G, to overcome what at first seem to be virtually insurmountable obstacles.*

This, of course—as pretty much any pagan can tell you—is how things really do work in a polytheist world. Small wonder that it plays so convincingly on screen.

As America moves towards its own irresistibly polytheist future (ex uno plurimus), realistically we can expect something similar from the US film industry.

It's well worth pondering in advance what American theologicals might look like. Imagine the parameters of a film about your own heart-god or -goddess.

What one would call such a pagan American film industry seems to me to be more or less a slam-dunk.

I mean, really, we pretty much have to go with Polywood, right?


*My personal favorite is the campy old 1960s classic, Jaya Maha Kali, "Victory to Great Kali."

The king, a pious worshiper of Mother Kali, disguises himself and travels his kingdom righting wrongs in the goddess' name.

In the final scene, a terrible drought strikes the land. The people are convinced that only a sacrifice can bring the rains. They want the king, as priest-in-chief, to behead a young boy as an offering to Mother Kali.

The king, naturally, is loath to do so, even though the boy assures him that he's willing to die for such a purpose.

The boy places his head on the block. The king raises his sword.

But of course, he can't kill an innocent child. Instead, the king cuts off his own arm as an offering to Mother Kali.

Deeply moved by such piety, the Goddess appears in person. She blesses the king, magically restores his arm, and the rains begin to fall.

And the film ends (as it began) with everyone dancing and singing in praise of the Goddess.

Jaya Maha Kali!


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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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