Over on Idea Channel, Mike Rugnetta discussed ‘The Ruins of Las Vegas’. Seeing as how I am from the United States and see many US cities as being sacred in the Otherfaith, the video left me a lot to think on.
I’ve never been to Las Vegas. The sacred cities that are very important in my practice as an Other Person are all ones I have lived in or traveled to: Seattle, New York City, the sprawling hell-scape of Phoenix and the smaller nestled city of Tucson. Vegas rarely pinged my radar, its bright colorful setting more of a pit stop in any Otherfaith stories I wrote than the main attraction.
The Other People’s spiritual landscape – the West – is one I map out onto the United States but that I think could be mapped out where ever it fits best a Person’s landscape. It wasn’t until I went to the Midwest that I truly understood what the Clarene’s Orchards and farmland looked like, for example, so I think lived experience has a huge impact on how we perceive the worlds we explore religiously and spiritually. There are many parts that make up the West: the Wastes, where waste is dumped and cleaned up, similar to an expansive swamp; the Wintertime, where the landscape is covered in snow and frozen lakes; the City, with massive skyscrapers, exhaust fumes clinging the air, and bright flashing lights; the more distant Temple of the Fathers, seemingly frozen in time.
The idea of ‘Ruins’, and the ruins of someplace still living, gets my religious-soul all stirred up. Especially as Rugnetta brings up the idea that Las Vegas, unlike other cities, is not meant to be used; it is meant to be looked at, awed at, gawked at.
It is easy to see the Other People’s City as comparable to Vegas but only at first blush. It may smell of exhaust, but the streets are more often built for foot travel. The sidewalks are wide and allow for spirit to gather and discuss. When a building ‘goes up’ (as much as it can in an otherworldly place like that), it stays up.
Is there a place comparable to the living ruins of Las Vegas? I don’t quite think so. At least not in the West that I perceive.
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