Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

Cal Library Card and Diagramming Initiations

Theoretically, I can get a library card at Cal (aka University of California, Berkeley). This is done by presenting my student identification as a graduate student at another school and paying a $50 or so annual fee.

Given that the library there is world class (and unique in many ways), I keep meaning to do this. The one difficulty is that my program does not normally issue ID cards as the school knows that we are at a distance so they default to not sending them even though they have them. When I signed up for my last term, I asked about this and was told that I would get one but it did not arrive with the paperwork.

Since the last term ended on Friday, I will need to wait until January in order to do this now. Fortunately, I have full access to JSTOR and other online archives of journals through my school so I have been able to do a lot of my research online. I downloaded an article by Richard Payne, over at GTU, on diagrammatic analysis of ritual syntax of a Shingon ritual today. This sounds dreadfully dull but it is an interesting idea: that rituals are analogous to the syntactic structures of languages and that the phrases in rituals can be diagrammed visually to display their structure and for comparison. He then proceeds to do this with a ritual that I am familiar with on a general level.

It would be interesting to apply the technique to, say, the Entered Apprentice initiation ritual in Masonry, the Neophyte ritual in the Golden Dawn, the First Degree within the OTO, and perhaps a few others. Of course, since Masonry is the common root of all of these, it might be hard to know what it would show. Heck, throw in the Odd Fellows first degree as well.

Hmmm…maybe there is a paper here… I should find some more literature on this as well as criticisms of it.