Of the Rituals of the Growing City

Posterity sadly has been provided with data with which to reconstruct the City's rituals. Only a curious row of dancers (high priests? wizards?) discovered among the ornamental friezes of some ceramic fragments, and an (also fragmentary) bas relief, may tentatively be interpreted as a representation of some rite or other. The latter, however, may be considered with some degree of certainty to be an illustration of the legend of the winged horse-daemon. The main sources comprise fragments of the lyrics and repetitive texts of nursey rhymes which have survived among the population living in the vicinity of the Growing City. Among these, the gesture-patterns of the game called 'Snailpath' and the movement series of triangular character attached to an 'aligning' ditty are the best examples. The present extent of our knowledge, based on revealed sources, enables us to arrive at the following conclusion: The rites were connected, not to buildings (schrines), but to deeply respected natural forms, such as old oaks, cascades, rifts or curiously shaped rocks in a valley. The shrines and temples of the Growing City were the sites of worship and solitary meditation. The best-known among them is a large room covered with bronze mirrors, the 'Hall of Self-Discovery'. The rites themselves were performed in larger groups, in small groups of three or four, or alone. The gestures of the larger groups are of hard-set, meditative character. The shape of the formation and procession constitute messages to the Supreme Beings. Motionlessness in interrupted only by sudden, unexpected ecstatic movements or vocal outbursts. The rites performed in small groups (of families) or alone are queer mixtures of dynamic and meditative activity. They take shape in dance steps interspersed by formal stan-ces facing the distinct natural element of the site. We are given a taste of the progression of these rituals by the following children's verse, the only one to have survived in full:

"Where the triple light does bring
Together near and distant thing,
In a ring arrange your men,
Lead them to the arch, and then
Bathe your faces in the light,
Submerge your heads in burning bright;
In an arc with hands a-join
Place the dancers in a line,
The line to twist from head to tail
The spiral house of shell of snail;
That shape then change to angles three
Three rows of dancers three views see
Three lines of faces three ways seeing
Holy face of Triple Being;
Now come together that you may,
United, evil keep away,
Your bodies form a sure defence,
Bring peace and send disquiet hence;
Should frost be brought by winter storm
Thus each the other may keep warm;
And so, embraced in harmony
From lips the softest sounds will fly..."

The translation is based on the verse as it appears in the Kowalsky-Segner Collection. People in the settlements surrounding the Growing City are familiar with the verse, and it is still sung by children as an accompaniment to a skipping dance. At intervals a whirling reed bound to a string and producing a weird humming sound is used, probably in order tc speed up the dance. This top sometimes becomes quite a complex affair, with feathers, pebbles and other natural objects being added to it, according to the desires and ingenuity of its maker-user.
Reconstruction of a ritual with a chorus leader and three timpani,
Sar-Shomyo, 1983. Following the instructions of Evelin Chen-key
Procession to the Ritual
The Muster of the Snake-path
Protection against frosts
Prayer formation
Formation for communal meditation
Fetching the Sacrifice as construction begins
Ritual accessories (House of the Prophets)
ceramics and bronze · 20 × 25 × 36 cm
Bell fetish against bad dreams
ceramic · 65 × 35 × 35 cm
Pleading ritual for the Conciliation of Whuki, the Dream God