Went to the Inauguration, I did!
We arrived at our friends' house in Arlington, VA--Mark and Tom--and Tom said, "How'd you like to go to a cleansing ceremony, led by a shaman, cleaning the White House (WH)?" Sure, we said. And off we went.
Dupont Circle is where the gathering was taking place around 6:30 P.M. It was dark black night, with lots of activities on the street, motorcades running by, going up the street to the D.C. Hilton. We wandered around Dupont Circle, going to Lambda Rising bookstore, where we discovered 3 copies of ON BEING A GAY PARENT! I signed the three copies they had, along with signing a leather book of authors who had visited the bookstore, and talked about coming by to give a talk. Cool!
We then got a hot cup of coffee from Starbucks and then wandered over to the park that is the Dupont Circle. There was a twenty foot inflatable George Bush doll that people threw shoes at, ala the Baghdad experience Mr. Bush had recently with a disgruntled reporter. With a Pinocchio-like nose, some shoes that had laces tied together would hang from his long nose.
The experience with the burning bundles of sage--a Native American experience of cleansing a space of evil--was not that solemn, but rather fun and cathartic. From a platform that had plenty of amps and speakers with a rock band playing, flags of all colors flying, the lesbian comedian Kate Clinton was the emcee for the sage burning ceremony. She cracked us all up with her own ironic sense of humor while buoying us up with the next day's festivities of welcoming President Obama to the world. She introduced an out lesbian rabbi had led us with an invocation. Then a shaman from NY--yet another lesbian--both led the group in burning sage and banging a drum while we chanted "Reverence," all with a smile on our lips. We basically did it because it felt good. Kate Clinton came back after the shaman spritzed us with holy water (whatever), and then Clinton led us with a Protestant and Catholic practice of "passing the peace," with lots of hugging. This was followed by a litany of sins of the Bush Administration, from denying us LGBT folks certain rights to issues re: the economy, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, the environment, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Gitmo, oh, heck: ETC! We would utter back, "Obama!"
Though it was chilly (20s) it was an exhilarating night. Around one thousand people gathered together in that small park. And what was special was watching the smoke from all the burning torches of sage circle, float up into the night air, and slowly travel south from Dupont Circle to the White House, cleaning everything in its path. It was if the smoke knew where it was going.
Our inauguration pilgrimage had begun.
To follow up with more of this pilgrimage, go to www.schoolofthepilgrim.blogspot.com.