Sunday, October 11, 2009

Masonic Diary


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.

14 comments:

Rebecca Clayton said...

Actually, I love peeking in your photo albums, and so do lots of other people. Thanks for sharing it!

Butternut Squash said...

Wonderful images. I wonder how many of us are participating in these mysterious rituals that we hardly comprehend ourselves? In my own way, I do it too.

Joanne said...

What I'm loving here is your "porchcation" concept. Beautiful, and the depiction of your day there was perfect, the exact purpose of a porch. Hm, wish I'd thought of the term for my Summer Porch Series ...

Lynne said...

Love the photo! Just where is the painting? on the porch? Lovely together!

I had read that The Lost Symbol was getting very negative reviews and was hesitant to order it from my book club. Maybe I should reconsider?

Your photo album was pretty interesting!

California Girl said...

I like your "snapshot" ideas. As for Dan Brown...I enjoyed "Da Vinci Code". Then read "Angels & Elves" which I thought was too much the same as its predecessor and not well written. Then somebody gave me one of his first books that takes place in the Arctic, guessing the title was "Deception Point" or something like that, and it was so badly written I doubt I'll ever read another Brown book.

Meanwhile, I've discovered Joan Didion and am working my way through her novels and so far so good. Love "Democracy" and "The Year of Magical Thinking".

I've detoured to "The Glass of Time" by recently deceased publisher turned author Michael Cole. So far so good as I'm only 60 pgs in.

Enjoy your wkend reading and a great 3 day holiday.

Barbara Martin said...

Lovely still life photo, Reya. The peeks into your life are always interesting.

John Hayes said...

Shadow looks like a great dog--porchcation is a wonderful concept, & the snapshots are fascinating!

lakeviewer said...

We are mostly lost in space these days, without community rituals, without history retelling, without songs and celebrations to connect us to our roots. We are all orphans, in some ways. Books help us tap into those recesses we are scared to go.

Tom said...

! If you wrote a fictional/ autobiographical account of your snapshots it would be a best seller. Can i get a signed copy?

Linda Pendleton said...

Fascinating post. Thanks for sharing. I'll probably read Dan Brown's new book at some point. What I liked about The Da Vinci Code was going to the Internet to look up the places he wrote about as I read his story. His was a history lesson along with fictional possibilities.

Nancy said...

How interesting! And how weird that I wrote about rose crystals today.

ellen abbott said...

I really liked this post Reya, not only the idea of the snapshots, but the pictures themselves. Lazy days with a book are good.

Reya Mellicker said...

Nancy, not weird, if you ask me. Man you are going to really enjoy the book!

If you're looking for literature and good writing, forget Lost Symbol. It's trash, but interesting trash to me in particular for all the reasons I've already explained, and it's also such a great way to take a peek into the group mind of our society. The popularity of Brown's books shows me how much we yearn for depth, for all those things Lakeviewer talked about in her comment (damn Rosaria you are SO smart!). We really want to believe in numinous secrets that can take our species up to the next level.

Dan Brown is not a writer, OMG no. But he can put his finger on the pulse of our society and produce stories that reflect our hearts' desires.

Tom I've actually thought about writing such a book. Maybe I should get busy and just DO it.

The Bug said...

Yes, definitely write a book! I would love to read more of your snapshots...

I'm coveting the green jug. Just thought you ought to know.