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Posts Tagged ‘Subway’

Two stories, both of which I have told before:

1. Last fall, I had a kind of spiritual upset after seeing Amon Amarth and Ensiferum in concert at Jaxx in Northern Virginia. I realized that the Christianity I had been flirting with didn’t really punch all of the spiritual buttons that I felt needed to be pushed. There was (and is) something about mythology and my ancestry and heritage that boils in my blood–something that means more than a hobby-interest. Something there resonates as Truth and Meaning. Anyway, I was in this frame of mind, and thinking about Asatru again, and the Norse gods (even listening to Ravencast), and kind of wishing I could have an experience with the Norse gods. One day, on the way to school, I got on the Metro and there was this smallish white-bearded old man with a fedora and an eyepatch. I am sorry to report that was too chicken to approach him and ask him if he was the All-Father. I thought it was just silly at the time: “haha, a guy that looks just like Odin, but the more I think about it, the more I wonder if that wasn’t a brush with something bigger. Right there, on the red line on the DC Metro.

2. Last November, when I first started thinking seriously about Hellenic polytheism, I was reading about Dionysus in Edith Hamilton’s Mythology and listening to the Battlestar Galactica soundtrack, when I had this intense spiritual epiphany. All of a sudden, it all seemed so real. Dionysus was suddenly incredibly vivid, and incredibly significant. The total effect was a bit overwhelming and incredibly powerful. I had this sensation of Dionysus’s massive divine presence, something holy but out of control, like a spiritual hurricane.

So in other words, I have arguably had two different encounters with gods on the red line. I wonder if there is something special about the Metro. It is, after all, a place between worlds: the subway is its own little environment that moves between other environments–different neighborhoods, even different states in the DC area. It is a liminal place, a world between worlds, a halfway world that exists in different worlds while also maintaining its own existence. It is more than a vehicle, because it is like a room that you can move around in, like a place as much as it is a thing. I wonder if the liminal nature of the Metro makes it into a place where gods can more easily come through and enter the world of humans? Or perhaps it is that the Metro puts my mind into a liminal state, which makes it more receptive to the gods and their emissaries. I wonder if it’s just me, or if other people have had significant divine or spiritual encounters on trains or subways?

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I had an interesting conversation on the subway ride home the other day (actually it wasn’t on the way home; it was on the way to have dinner and see Rent with my beautiful wife for our seventh wedding anniversary, which is another story). A colleague of mine was on the same train–he’s an interesting guy and we’ve had a few brief but stimulating conversations about politics, society, culture, etc. Anyway, this guy is Greek Orthodox, and for some reason or another the fact that I’m an ex-Mormon came up in the conversation.

The interesting thing is, we didn’t really talk about Mormonism or ex-Mormonism for very long before we transitioned, and we started talking instead about Eastern Orthodoxy and Anglicanism, and some of the issues that the two churches face. The big deal about this conversation was that my point of view in the exchange was Anglican. I was speaking not as a Mormon, or an ex-Mormon, but as an Anglican.

It was kind of awesome. We talked about the Reformation, about creeds and schisms, about theology, and about church and culture and the challenges that come from the interplay between the two. But instead of talking from the perspective of an ex-Mormon floundering about on a spiritual quest, I was talking from the perspective of a committed Anglican.

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