Monday, January 19, 2009

Axis Monday I: The Inauguration

I'll keep it short since everybody else is talking about this, but it fits right in with the purpose of Axis Monday, so I unfortunately am required to address the inauguration.

This will be the first in a series of Monday posts which celebrate the Axis Mundi. It seemed a fittingly liminal place to start.

Behold the glory of the Capitol, the Axis Mundi of the nation, bedecked for its greatest recurring festival. Even more exciting than Sundance.

The dome pierces the sky; it is in every sense the axis mundi, the heart of the world.

For years the federal Height of Buildings Act prevented any D.C. building from trumping the Capitol's height; a few other federal buildings now rise higher (mostly Cathedrals and Basilicas) but no private building stands taller.

And tomorrow is the hierophany, the revelation of the sacred, at this very space.

Let's talk about the word inauguration for a moment.

From the Online Etymology Dictionary:
1569, from Fr. inauguration "installation, consecration," from L. inaugurationem (nom. inauguratio) "consecration, installment under good omens," from inaugurare "take omens from the flight of birds, consecrate or install when such omens are favorable," from in- "on, in" + augurare "to act as an augur, predict" (see augur).
Romans were big on foretelling the future through birds and other omens. Tomorrow is a day of many omens, a sacred day, which shall set the future for a long time to come.

Will the omens be favorable?

Obama has made them so.

President Obama's journey by train to the capital these past few days has also been wrought with symbolism: deliberate parallels to Lincoln, but also the simple motif of the grand journey. Mr. Obama cleverly saw that a symbolic gesture of this sort would inspire the country more than wasting a few days in the city. He undertook a quest fraught with liminality, and tomorrow becomes actualized.

When is THE liminal moment?
CNN knows:

I don't make this stuff up, folks.

When Obama takes the oath, he shall--for those few moments--pierce the boundary between the earthly world and the sacred realm. He shall be a conduit, for a mere moment, of everything this country believes in.

All such times are transitory. The oath shall pass; its power shall linger through his inaugural address, and then his power shall fade and he will again become a mere man.

No matter what else transpires, it will be the greatest moment of Barack Obama's life, and it shall henceforth always have a hold on him. A second inauguration, should he prove so fortunate, lacks these same trappings. This is the first. This is the one that counts. For him more than other recent presidents, because of the burden placed on him and the hopes of the people.

Come what may--the inevitable failures and disappointments, the utter impossibility of fulfilling his promise--for this one moment he shall be everything, he shall be Perfect.

And once the speech finishes and the balls begin, life will go on for him and for everyone, and the door to the sacred will seal once more.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, since I need to keep myself up (and since I've been reading about this as well), I thought I'd inform you and the followers of this blagadag of the hub-bub in the astrology word about Obama. HUB. BUB.

    Of course Ye Olde Tubes were clogged with predictions about who would and wouldn't win, reasons for it, etc etc. But it doesn't end there. The moment of his inauguration—the birth of Obama as President, so to speak—is also under astro-scrutiny. Reports are conflicting and batshit insane.

    Consider, first, this story, wherein an astrologer from Myanmar (Burma?) has predicted two full and successful terms (and three assassination attempts!) for "That One."

    Others are concerned about a retrograde Mercury all day, and a void-of-course Moon at noon o'clock specifically. The void-of-course Moon might be particularly worrisome!:

    For those unfamiliar with the concept of Moon void-of-course, it’s a term that describes the period of time when the Moon, moving through a particular sign ceases to form major alignments to any of the planets while still residing in that sign. During a void-of-course, issues and prerogatives symbolized by the Moon go unanswered and ultimately come to nothing. In this case, there is the possibility that the high expectations, hopes and anticipations of The People following the election may be disappointed. Worst-case scenario is that Barack Obama is unable to complete his first term in office. Looking back over the Inauguration charts from the past century, there are six instances when the Moon was void-of-course. Of these, half of the VOC administrations involved Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fourth and final term in office, John F. Kennedy, and Richard Nixon's second term – all of which where never completed. The other three involved Woodrow Wilson who suffered a stroke during his second term (but managed to hide his incapacity), Calvin Coolidge where nothing happened and Bill Clinton’s second term when he was impeached, yet remained in office. (From here.)

    As above, so below? We'll find out!