Away from the hurly-burly of the centre of the city, one of the Sisters Hope parades the silent streets, ringing the bell to call the initiates to the ritual.
If the Sisters Hope were running for world government I'd vote for them tomorrow
Wordlessly, the initial bureaucratic procedures are performed, and then you are allowed into the official building. It is as if silence has invaded the city.
The Sisters themselves are not sinister, but they are eerie. Their diaphanous veils make their faces jarringly like 19th century Scandinavian paintings.
You have to surrender control and place your trust in their hands as you are taken through a series of sensuous explorations. You spend a long time gazing into the eyes of the Sisters (a famous psychological study concluded that gazing into the eyes of a stranger for two minutes was enough to fall in love). You are blindfolded and taken through an exercise of each sense: balance, proprioception, smell, the touch of water, the touch of a body, the feeling of a presence, the feeling of breath, sound. The experiences are accompanied by the earworm repetitive chanting of the Sisters. At one stage you hear a Scottish voice on a long administrative phone call – after all the event title includes the word governance. (I don’t know if this section was real, a recording, or purely accidental.) Fingers, toes are stimulated. The sense of time is cut adrift. Is that a minute that has gone by, or an hour?
After this initiation, the blindfolds are replaced by semi-transparent ones. It is surprising how quickly being surrounded by people with white bandages over their eyes becomes normalised.
The event is described as a manifestation, and this proves true in the second part of the experience when there is a secular magic ritual for the manifestation of one’s poetic soul.
Finally, there are the usual administrative processes of record keeping, and documents to deposit or take away. All actioned in silent, sensuous ritual.
This is a delicious experience that takes you out of your usual mental state and returns you to the city, refreshed, calm and meditative; newly aware of the sounds and sights of the streets.
If the Sisters Hope were running for world government I'd vote for them tomorrow.