Now a bit more rambling about the "Hidden In Plain Sight" conference. As I've mentioned previously, it lasted for four days: Thursday through Sunday. The Thursday talks were seriously hampered by two issues: an inadequate sound system, and the unexpected surprise of almost all the conference's attendees showing up. This meant the hall, which was only barely sized to hold 300, was not set up for so many – so extra chairs and fans had to be hastily brought in. That added to the heat and noise, with predictable results. However, as another volunteer noted amusedly to me later, if we had to have a surprise, having more than expected was certainly better than having fewer. Fortunately, the conference organizers were wise enough to cut off registration at 300, so things were hectic but not horrible.

The hall itself was decorated with very large pieces of surreal artwork in swirling colors and swoops of shadow and light that looked almost like photographs which had been beautifully photoshopped. I can certainly understand why they'd prefer that slightly more impressionistic art style, though, since it perfectly allowed for personal meaning and interpretation to be mentally overlaid each piece. I was seated behind the videographer, in case he needed a "go-fer," and discovered to my pleasure I was beneath the piece titled "Black Madonnas." In some ways the artwork embodied nicely the Rosicrucian credo I spotted later in the gardens: "Light, Life, & Love."

The first talk was From Ancient to Modern: the Tradition of the Colombe in the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC by Aimy Shaluly, the young woman who organized the local "Colombe" training program, and who was also having a small conference for the Colombes at the Rosicrucian Museum that weekend as well. Her talk was a bit hard to understand – not just due to the sound system, but also because she had a naturally high soprano voice, and it went even higher and faster due to her nervousness. However, her talk was quite nice, especially for someone like me, who had no idea what a "colombe" was. Apparently it's also French for "dove."

The speaker emphasized nicely the role of the young women as both keepers and symbols of one's conscience. There were some nice slides as well. She had a bit of history for us, including some "classic" information which included Graeco-Roman and (if I'm remembering correctly) Lithuanian mythology. No mention of the really ancient goddesses, alas, such as Inanna or Cybele. There was a nice inclusion of a tiny bit of guided meditation, and then a few moments given for questions from the audience. Those, unfortunately, were pretty much incomprehensible, and the speaker was new enough that she didn't realize she should repeat the questions into the mic so everyone could hear them.

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