The Magico-Religious Ritual Of Our Time
102 years ago, Arnold Van Gennep published The Rites Of Passage, a book examining patterns of ritual practice. In this book, Gennep noted the symbolic role of territorial security rites. He wrote:
“The prohibition against entering a given territory is therefore intrinsically magico-religious… The erection of a portal, sometimes together with natural objects or crudely made statues, is a more complicated means of indicating the boundary… Whoever passes… finds himself physically and magico-religiously in a special situation for a certain length of time: He wavers between two worlds.”
Where would we find magico-religious ritual portals in our time? I nominate the TSA security checkpoints at our nation’s airports.