Friday, October 15, 2010

Proposal for an Annual Fog-Burying Ceremony

Gustaf Sobin writes of the discovery of numerous stone tablets bearing the inscription “Buried lightning” (Fulgur conditum) on the plateaus above rural Provence. They were placed on the location where a lightning bolt had struck: the lightning was then ritually buried along with whatever charred pieces of wood or rooftops or horsecarts were lying around.

Citing Lucian and Plutarch, Sobin says that a wall was erected around the place where the lightning fell, then an animal was sacrificed and a priest would consecrate the enclosed ground. Considered sacred, the lightning bolt was memorialized and ritually "housed" as the signature of Iupiter Fulgator, and any further destructive powers were assumed to be rendered harmless thereby.

I wonder if it wouldn’t be a good idea to conduct an annual fog-burying ceremony here in San Francisco. I suggest we convene at the top of the Buena Vista Park annually in August (a good time of year for it, when folks have given up hope of ever seeing the sun shine again) and conduct a ritual interment, somewhat along the lines of placing a quantity of San Francisco fog in a lead casket along with a tube of suncream oil to counteract its noxious effects, and then burying the casket several feet underground.

After some prayers of deliverance and a short sermon by an especially appointed Fog Bishop, the rites might be concluded with a sacred bonfire, during the course of which the congregation would be urged to get naked and dance around with broomsticks up their asses and indulge in whatever other festive activities might be considered appropriate or not, as the case may be.


Photo from Gustaf Sobin, Luminous Debris. 
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.

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