Catherine doesn’t like vacations much. She’s not big on the idea of traveling afar when we could just as easily have fun at home. Still, I have friendships in far off places that I’d like to maintain, and there’s no replacement for in-person interaction, so I strive to make my thousand-mile journeys, with a grumpy succubus spirit in tow. She appreciates that I try to hold onto my core group of friends, but she sees big empty swathes of time in my schedule and thinks, “Oh, look… we can finally be together for a change!”
Sadly, she had to wait just a bit longer this time ’round. To her credit, she does wait patiently, and the subsequent pouncing attack is almost always well worth the delay. Still, I need to set up a break where it’s just her and I. We haven’t done that in awhile.
We traveled south of the Mason Dixon line to my old stomping grounds. I’m always struck by how much less stressful and on-edge everything is down there. I can see it in my face when I look in the mirror. I appear more calm and serene. Maybe I need to live there permanently, with the peach trees, the scuppernongs, and the honeysuckle.
We’ll see. There’s a lot that needs to happen before I can start moving in that direction.
Washington DC was the major focal-point of our journey. Me and my traveling companions had all been to the nation’s capitol a few times in the past, so this venture was dedicated to more esoteric, off-the-beaten-path, points of interest. We found ourselves roaming the grounds of a Franciscan monastery early on a clear July morning. My friends are the sort that never take anything too seriously, so even sacred shrines are open to a bit of shameless riffing. Hardly anything at all is held aloft as above comedy in my crew, save for the solemnity of Arlington Cemetery.
The monastery had a very strange, almost sickening, vibe to it. Something was seriously off about the place, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. Catherine wasn’t thrilled with the secluded commune either. That was the first time I felt any sort of spirit/astral discomfort coming from her the entire trip.
She hasn’t been comfortable on a prolonged trip for a very long time, but this long-distance journey was somehow different for her. Aside from the monastery, I think she enjoyed the energy of DC. She seemed to feel at home there… which makes me think that perhaps I should’ve bitten the bullet and joined up with the world church in Maryland as a professional propagandist. Maybe that was her plan all along and me temporarily losing my marbles threw a spanner into the works? I can’t know for sure.
Moving on from the monastery, we headed back towards the city proper, but remained on the “Catholic” side of town for the remainder of the day. Our next stop was the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. A strange destination for one who claims to be on the Left-Hand Path, I know, but the deeper, more occulted, aspects of the various shrines within drew me there. This cathedral is the largest Catholic church in North America, and it also happens to be a prominent Marion shrine. Just have a look at some of this not-so-subtly-veiled occult imagery that decorates the various shrine rooms:
There is a very clear distinction between the basement “crypt” level and the upper sanctuary. The Crypt is devoted largely to the worship of the divine feminine aspect, while the upper levels are dedicated to the sun and Jesus Christ. In this we can see the most honest call-back to the pagan roots of Europe, of which the Catholic church has been the most valiant defenders of would-be heathen traditions, in an ironic way.
My friends were not very comfortable in the Crypt, but I felt right at home and wished that I could have stayed longer. Far from being a catacomb, the lower levels are simply breathtaking to behold in person. We planned to explore further, but one of my friends got his atheistic panties into a bunch and felt the need to leave early.
Sadly, I developed a migraine the next day, so I wasn’t able to peruse the Masonic landmarks I had originally planned for. Though it was nice to just relax in the hotel for one day. Despite the feeling of an icepick being jammed into my eye, Catherine was rather pleased to have me all to herself.
My adventure was complete with a sojourn to Arlington Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Despite my misgivings with all the supposedly “good wars” that have been fought over the decades, I still pay my respects to those who have fallen in helping to secure our way of life in the West. The World War II monument on the National Mall is particularly soothing to my soul.
I’m looking forward to visiting the District of Columbia again soon. That centerpiece of our national heritage is more than just a collection of monuments. I’m convinced that the arrangement of those obelisks and roadways also serve as a powerful sigil; one that helps propel our country towards prosperity and success. Also, I know that Lilith, Shakti, Isis, Venus… whatever personification one chooses to give her… was not unknown to the architects who set up this place.
She is freedom, girded with the native dress of this land, sword sheathed, and bearing a laurel of peace. Facing east towards the rising sun, she is ever ready to raise that sword again, should liberty be found wanting.
Ulysses Grant, and host of lions, has got her back, too. So don’t be thinking you can sneak up on her or anything!