Sunday, October 11, 2009
Painting and jug, creating a nice still life, on the back porch.
Yesterday was, for me, a "staycation." In my case, it was a porchcation. I sat on the sofa on the back porch for most of the day, reading The Lost Symbol, writing in my journal, drawing and sketching, petting the household dogs, thinking. I did get out for a walk during the afternoon, but for most of the day, all the arrows of my attention were pointing inwards and downwards, instead of outwards as they usually are.
Dan Brown's book is almost identical to The DaVinci Code in terms of its essence: there are beautiful, luminous truths about our humanity that are being held in trust by secret societies until we as a species are "ready" to receive them. And there are Very Bad Guys who want to destroy all evidence of these truths. He's not a great writer nor much of an original thinker.
Still, I'm enjoying the book because it's reminding me of how American history came alive for me suddenly and for the first time when I moved to DC. History is so real and present here. Almost as soon as I moved, I began studying the American past with a voracious curiosity. Because I was, up until a few years ago, a High Priestess with a love of public ritual, I couldn't help but adapt what I was learning into material for my shamanic rituals.
Looking back on these rituals, I tend to see them more as performance art than anything else, but the Sufi acupuncturist tells me I shouldn't demean my work in that way. I was following a path of spirit, after all, and the rituals - at least some of them - were really interesting.
Snapshot: Me, at Mt. Vernon, standing next to George Washington's tomb (not the swanky crypt he's in now. I'm talking about the earth-covered small room where he was originally buried). I am dumping a liter of ice cold water on the tomb, while almost shouting, "WAKE UP!! We NEED YOUR GUIDANCE! HEY!!! GEORGE!! WAKE UP!!!!" That was early into the first Bush administration when it became clear just how bad things were going to get.
Snapshot: With cohorts I am conducting rituals of recognition at each of the original Masonic cornerstones of the District, each stone precisely aligned to a cardinal direction. We offered wine and cornmeal, cleaned up the sites, danced around, sang songs, etc. We spent a whole year doing Connect DC. It was very fun.
Snapshot: Along with some of my cohorts I am standing in the rotunda of the Capitol. It is August 17, 2001. Three of us are standing in a triangle around the center of the rotunda, holding pieces of rose quartz. One is holding a sphere, one an egg, and one a long, pyramidal point. We are casting a "Triangle of Stillness" in the midst of the crazy central vortex of the Capitol, beneath the Apotheosis of Washington. (After that day I "saw" the triangle of stillness crystalize into a protective shield. After 9/11, my cohorts and I were convinced that our ritual had somehow protected the Capitol.) Yeah. Magicians tend to be grandiose.
Snapshot: I am standing at a fountain below the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, flinging dozens of marigolds into the water, sobbing, chanting, "Drink! Drink! Drink!!" (I still don't know what that one was about!)
I could go on with the snapshots: a year and a half of rituals at Logan Circle, Dupont Circle, Lafayette Park in front of the White House, at the Washington Monument, the Lincoln, on the American Civil War battlefields, etc. Oh yeah I was a very busy ritualist for a few years. I'll stop now with the snapshots, though, as I understand just how boring it is to look through someone else's photo album.
No Masons for me today: I have a full schedule at work. I'm looking forward to it! Have a wonderful Sunday.
Shadow, the ancient household dog, on the porch.