I do apologize for leaving you hanging yesterday but I want to spare you from too much reading in one sitting.
So there we are, the seven of us, finally ready to send our emissary to the third year group. She’s gone quite a long time. She takes the list, checks it twice I’m sure. When she returns, she tells us the elder group suggests a couple of changes. We should stand over THERE not HERE and make sure we’re in a nice arc. We should also thank our teachers with some kind of honoring. We probably take another half hour to decide how to do the latter and FINALLY we’re ready to get into our ritual regalia. Some of the women dress in beautiful garments. I hadn’t thought to bring ritual garb but because it was Halloween weekend, I had brought a colorful, arty-cloak that I had made years before for another purpose. I wrap that around me.
One of the guys dresses as a gal and one of the other men simply dons a red, white and blue horned Viking hat.
Strikingly the horns have led lights at the tips! Though we don’t discover that until afterward when Jonathon surreptitiously robs Danny’s remote of its batteries and turns on the horns at dinner.
We are certainly a ragtag group of contraries. But we are READY!
The emissary comes to lead us into the yurt and tells us with utter sternness to wait here until we’re called. He leaves us alone and slams the door! Ooooooops, we all look at each other and feel a tingle of excitement…We sit solemnly on the floor in a circle wondering what’s going to happen next. We vacillate between silent introspection and giggling chatter.
From far away, a disembodied male voice intones, “Send the first one out!”
Andrea says she’ll go, partly because she carries the bowl of cornmeal for sprinkling in a spiral path.
Long moments pass, and the voice intones again, “Send out the next person!”
Jonathon hops up. It seems like only seconds and he lunges back through the door. We all scream, “ What? What are you doing back here?”
He’s laughing so hard he sputters, “They wouldn’t let me pass!”
We’re all asking questions simultaneously, but we’re all asking the same thing, really. “What do you mean they wouldn’t let you pass?”
“I’m not going to tell you what they said, but they asked me a question and I guess they didn’t like my answer. I gave them what I thought they wanted, though, you know from the questions in the myth we read.”
We are all dumbfounded.
When the voice calls for the next one, Jonathon goes right back out and comes right back in.
“Oh my god, I really don’t know what they want…”
We all begin giggling and nervously jabbering. Someone wisely suggests that Jonathon let someone else go next. Make them think he’s taking this seriously and reflecting for a few moments.
Mona goes next.
She doesn’t return.
“Crap,” Jonathon explodes,”What are they looking for? This is totally wild!”
I suggest maybe it’s his shoes. I think I heard Andrea say that we need to take our shoes off. I know she and Mona had. So we all tug off our socks and shoes and grumble mightily because the ground is damp, chilly, stickery and slimy-ish with mud and gunk and we all think how terrible it will feel on our bare feet to be standing around as night falls and it gets colder and oh woe is me and sorry us…
Jonathon, barefooted, goes out again.
He quickly returns.
We put our shoes back on.
Amanda comments, “You know my heart is racing. This is really exciting.”
And it is. We are all being quickened by “the not knowing…”
Cliff heads out the door and doesn’t return.
Sonia heads out the door when the call comes again…and after what seems a long while, comes back in, confused and a little “miffed.”
Amanda goes next and doesn’t return.
With the next shout, I open the door…