To begin the story at the beginning, read "Part 1: Post 1: Beginning Again," published in January, 2013. To consult a description of the campus, read "Part 1: Post 14: The Greening of Campus," published in March, 2013.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mastery Year 1: Interlude 5

Hi, all, Daniel-of-2017 here.

Lammas (or Lughnasadh, same thing) has crept up on me! It's tomorrow! I probably should have done an interlude last week, so I could write about the holiday today. No matter. I'll have time for everything I want to say with the holiday post being next week, too.

It's not really that Lammas has surprised me, it's that for some reason I wasn't thinking of it in terms of writing. It's like my author's brain didn't know what the rest of me was doing until sometime late last week, when I'd already written last week's post.

But Lammas is important for those of us who wear the green ring--I won't tell you exactly how, because what exactly the masters did on August First was a mystery to me until I became one, but we're getting together tomorrow, like we always do. I don't simply mean the Six, nor do I mean to social group that has evolved around what remained after the school closed down, I mean all the masters--the people who wear the green ring--who can make it. It'll be fun to see everyone.

Have I ever been clear with you on how this works?

When you join as a student, you're a novice. You wear an all-white uniform with a black cloak, and you study to achieve competence in all six mastery areas and academic areas. Back when we were accredited, you earned a liberal arts degree. You pass through the Ordeal and graduate.

Once you've passed the Ordeal, you wear a brown uniform with a white belt and a brown cloak. Most people stop there. That's enough for them. About one in ten complete Absence and return as candidates. As candidates, you work towards mastery in a single areas. The mastery program has never been accredited, but about half of us earn some kind of advanced degree while in Absence. If your form of mastery is being a doctor, something like that, then you need the appropriate degree to demonstrate mastery.

When you finish the mastery program, there's a job interview--you get hired to the Six pending an opening. That is, most people who complete their candidacy never work for the school, it's not like they promise you a job, but you do have to demonstrate that you're eligible for such a job. Then there's an initiatory experience, though nothing like the Ordeal. You get the Green Ring, and you change your belt from white to brown.

As the timing of the Ordeal might suggest, the big jump for students is between the novitiate and candidacy, not between candidacy and mastery. If our community were a club, which it almost is, but not quite, membership would be conferred when you complete your novitiate. Novices are kind of like trial members. Earning the Green Ring confers new responsibilities and new access to information, but it's not as dramatic a step up.

Anyway, so the Six are charged with educating new and prospective members and serving as a kind of leadership committee for the community. The community also has a greater responsibility to the Six, because we give so much of our lives to the community. But real, the Six don't have a separate status. We all just wear the Green Ring. Everybody who has earned a Ring is a master.

If you've never been a novice, you can't become a master (unless you're Greg). You can join the community as an ally, but that's it.

There are around a hundred masters total, counting those who have passed on, but I expect only thirty or forty to convene tomorrow.

On another subject entirely, next time I write an interlude, the solar eclipse will have been and gone. A group of us are planning a trip to intercept the path of totality. Us being us, we're also arguing amicably about the magical significance of the event and whether one actually has to be able to see the eclipse to make magic with it. One camp says a thing is still true, even if you can't see it, so of course, yes. The other camp says it is the weird experience of seeing an eclipse that works the psychological change necessary for unusual magic. So of course, no.

Me, I don't have an opinion. I've never seen a total solar eclipse before. I've seen some partials, but that's much less dramatic. Most of the disc has to be covered, for there to be a noticeable dimming of daylight.

Maybe next time I write to you as Daniel-of-the-present, I'll have an opinion?

-best, D.

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