Losing my religion

Here, twice-transcribed (book-notebook-blog), is another passage from Walter Benjamin’s “One-Way Street.”  Page numbers refer to the Selected Writings, vol. 1.

“Je ne passe jamais devant un fetiche de bois, un Bouddha dore, une idole mexicaine sans me dire:  c’est peut-etre le vrai dieu.”  [“I never pass by a wooden fetish, a gilded Buddha, a Mexican idol without reflecting:  perhaps it is the true God.”] — Charles Baudelaire

I dreamed I was a member of an exploring party in Mexico.  After crossing a high, primeval jungle we came upon a system of above-ground caves in the mountains.  Here, a religious order had survived from the time of the first missionaries till now, its monks continuing the work of conversion among the natives.  In an immense central grotto with a gothically pointed roof, mass was celebrated according to the most ancient rites.  We joined the ceremony and witnessed its climax:  toward a wooden bust of God the Father, fixed high on a wall of the cave, a priest raised a Mexican fetish.  At this, the divine head turned thrice in denial from right to left.

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