>Beezlethrax the Alien Anthropologist Visits Mosiac West LA

Posted: 15/11/2008 in mosiac

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To all members of the Xeno-anthropology institute: I have recently completed some of my research and observations at one of the Oo-man religious temples. Enclosed is a serious of observations followed by my explanatory theories. The temple in question is known in the Oo-man language as “Mosiac: West LA.”

Observations
The Oo-man temple is large and rectangular. The congregation sits in rows common to many other Oo-man temples. The clergy stand on an elevated platform, which serves as the holy space. The lighting is slightly dark. Indeed, the only thing that remains lit is the holy space and its activity.

The most ostentatious symbol in the holy space was a large glowing icon which hung above the holy space. The icon was square in shape, and very large. The icon did not have a consistent image, but was full of constantly shifting images and colors. This included many texts from the oo-man language. It was the only thing which remained consistently lit through the ritual cycle. I will call this icon “the oracle.” I will explain why momentarily. The only other major symbol was member of the clergy creating a new static icon off to the side of the holy space. This included many of the same bright colors of the oracle.

The clergy’s movements were mostly musical. This must be extremely important because the laity was expected to stand and listen reverently. The oracle’s colors shifted with the music. This was the first ritual performed. Later, the laity sat down. The room went dark, and everyone watched the images on the oracle for a few minutes longer. Then the temple was re lit, and the high priest came before the congregation. Unlike many clergy, he wore no special vestments. However, his status seemed conferred by two things: (1)the oracle remained still while he spoke and (2) he held what seemed to be an important book. He gave a speech to the laity, and then all bowed their heads. The temple ritual concluded with the clergy passing buckets, and then they sang again. With this, the laity were dismissed.

Theory
I believe that the large icon is an oracle for several reasons. First, it was the central focus of attention throughout all except the high-priest’s speech. Secondly, when the clergy performed music it shifted most dramatically. Thirdly, there was oo-man text amidst all other images it displayed.

I believe that the clergy invokes the spirit or spirits of the oracle through music. This is supported by the loud, almost over-bearing use thereof. I do not believe Oo-man laity stands out of respect for the clergy perse, but out of respect for the message their deity or deities communicate through the oracle.

Yet, like many Oracles, the message is obscure and difficult to understand. This seems to be the role of the high priest. The oracle became inactive during his speech. I am also reminded that he carried a book, which is perhaps a guideline for priestly interpretation. I believe that the high priest is responsible for interpreting the images of the oracle into a message for the laity. Such a concept of signs/interpretation is already well established within Oo-man religions.

There are many other activities that go beyond my theory. For instance, why does the high priest interact so closely with the laity after the ritual is completed? What is the purpose of the smaller icons that are created during the ritual cycle? Given that the oracle showed so many symbols, which one is the central holy symbol? Such exploration is necessarily beyond the scope of this paper and my project. It will be left to other researchers to uncover.

I will continue my observations at other Oo-man temples in the future.

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