I had a vision yesterday, a bonafide vision, just as shamans are supposed to.
Here's how it happened. Somehow, for reasons I can not explain, I stopped walking. I stood still, my feet refused to budge. These things happen to shamans. When I suddenly stop in my tracks like that, I try to look around, listen, pay attention.
I was on the grounds of the Capitol. I walk through there on my way to the national mall all the time. In good weather I walk past my good friend (the Capitol dome) three to five times every week and have since I moved to the Hill in 2001. Anyone who has had a look at this blog knows how fond I am of the Capitol dome.
Can humans and buildings be friends? Why not?
There I was, standing still. I looked up at the Statue of Freedom on top of the dome. It looked like she was wearing a headlamp. There's a light in the pedestal below her that's on when Congress is in session, but I'd never seen a light on her head. I wondered if it was new. I couldn't discern the shape from where I was standing. All I knew was that it was a very bright light.
I have looked at this statue hundreds of times, maybe even a thousand times over the years. Thousands? I don't know how many - suffice it to say: a lot. I have never seen this phenomena. She wears a crown of stars, but I've never seen one of them lit up until yesterday.
It was a real vision. So cool. What are the chances of stopping in my tracks in the perfect spot at the perfect time of day with the angle of the sun just so? Seeing this was a gift. I felt like a Druid at Stonehenge on summer solstice. Oh yeah.
I'll be thinking for a long time about what this vision is meant to teach me. Not ten minutes before I saw the star, I was describing to a friend how I perceive beauty as a facet of our complicated humanity, one among many. It's always there somewhere, even if you can't see it. Sometimes that facet catches the sun, becomes bright and and captures my attention. Those were my exact words.
Ten minutes later, I was standing in front of Lady Freedom, taking a picture of the star that caught the sun and captured my attention. I'm still in awe.
This is the shamanic lifestyle.