What exactly is an inauguration? Not a coronation. Or a confirmation. Or a commencement.
When Obama is inaugurated what exactly will be happening? Etymologically, "inauguration" comes from the Latin inaugurationem "consecration, installment under good omens."
Good omens? I like the sound of that. I want to feel this inauguration is a good omen. Who doesn't? I'm even willing not to dwell on disappointing appointments in order to feel that rosy glow.
But "installment under good omens" doesn't mean that the swearing-in itself is a good omen, it means that if the installment of Obama happens when omens are favorable it would constitute an inauguration. So how can we be sure that the staged hand on the Bible TV moment will coincide with a good omen, thereby making the official Inauguration an actual inauguration?
One way would be two patiently wait all cameras poised, all hands gloved, all timetables shelved. A more realistic approach would be to look for a very resonant omen within the general time frame of the inauguration. An omen so big that the swearing in, which is also big, would intersect it in our time psyches if not in the actual clock time moment. In the Now, if not the now. So I've been looking for omens.
And not just omens but specifically bird ones. Because, as I understand it, inaugurationem specifically means "take omens from the flight of birds, consecrate when such omens are favorable," from in- + augurare "to act as an augur, predict". Birds? This got my attention because birds have been important life changing signs for me over the past few years.
Last week, with my antennae up for these bird signs, a red and blue parrot appeared at my backdoor. A sign that this was going to be an inauguration that brought the red and blue parts of America together? Possibly. But maybe one bird in my own backyard wasn't a big enough sign.
Here's one thing I've learned about signs: the way to tell the difference between something that is a sign and something that is just something is that signs are LOUD. Audibly loud or loud through repetition or loud because they are out of place.
Then US Airways 1549 was downed by a flock of geese. That was loud in soooo many ways. A crashing plane in NY. A flock of birds. Not just a bird but many birds, amplifying the message in case we didn't get it. And loud because it was the balancing light-filled event in the shadow of 9/11. A plane crash that was about joy and life instead of terror and death. Although not, of course, for the geese. The geese were a sacrifice in the old sense of the word. A human offering to something bigger to assure a greater future. A plugging in to a certain energy field.
What did the geese symbolize exactly? Well geese are birds that are flockers. They are about group synergy. They fly in A V. V for victory? For voices? For for bird's eye View? Of course it's the goose that lays the golden egg. And, because geese migrate they are also symbols of the cycles of time, of change. It's said if you're stuck in a pattern, goose energy helps you move forward, bringing new patterns in.
It turns out geese are huge in the language of signs and symbols and in almost every culture they're associated with deities, and were/are thought of as messengers of the gods.
So I think this Inauguration has found its good omen. A omen that we are entering an age when the engines might be cut off. But in which we can land anyway, and not just land, but actually get each other safely to the shore. That each of us can be the pilot, the co-pilot, the ferry drivers for each other. That all together we can use this moment to pivot, in a V, with the sun on wings flashing light and making that funny honking goose sound.