Wednesday 2nd October, 2013
Every hotel, no matter how nice, contains a desert. It is often only another bedroom-sized chamber deep in the bowels of the building. Its floor is ritually strewn with sand.

It is here that the great desolation is enacted; all the homesickness trickles down through the walls and has to be defused somewhere. A thousand libations of dubious coffee that someone decides they just can't face; a thousand undivine intoxications; a thousand anonymous, symbolically charged copulations. They all need a focus.

This place is the focus. At one side is a small wooden post that represents the outside. Opposite it, by the door, is another post that marks the boundary between the desert and the larger, domestic space. Before any of the staff can begin work at the beginning of a month, a small black sheep is tied to the farther post. Its throat is cut, and its blood is caught in glistening bowls by masked participants. The sacrificer then marks their own cheeks with three lines of blood, and three musicians carry the bowl of blood across the desert slowly and bring it past the near pole, bringing the uncanny into the homely.

The death of the creature brings the desolation to a point in time and space; and the blood poured down, down into the foundations of the building, nourishes the walls and keeps the structure strong enough to withstand the tiny desolations. The memory of the animal's pain tells the building: 'this, too, shall pass.'

posted by Rob Mitchelmore, 21:12 (anchor)