Inspiration of the Day: In which bureaucracy slows down the mind.

16 Nov

Work before holidays is typically a slog regardless, I’m certain.  That written, I’m certain that the general public whom I serve, while feeling the stresses of their everyday lives, finds themselves worried about what they’ll be able to provide and how they’ll be able to provide to their loved ones.

For some reason, I got to thinking about the very quick and dirty structuralist model of magic in society today.  I’m talking the barest reading of Victor Turner (Ritual Process), Levi-Strauss, and other structuralists.  Perhaps in was in discussing the various arcane aspects of the rules I’ve got to follow in my professional life.

Basically, the idea of ritual is that it is an affirming experience to the individual and the community as a whole. They serve to bring an individual into the world, signify the transition from child to adulthood, marriage, death, &c.  Essentially, the sacraments for those familiar with this from western Christianity.  There are other rituals, obviously. Some cleanse a woman from the effects of an evil magic user, other cleanse the land from the effects of a community’s sins, and so forth.

The individual in transition or affected by some esoteric malady is in a liminal state, existing in a space between being a full member of the community as a whole and being anathema.  The point of the ritual is to bring the individual into the body of the community again, albeit with a difference in status.  In any ritual, it is the liminal state that is the most important.



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