The practice is said to have originated back in the eighth century, with the tantric master, Padmasambhava — and involves a small ceramic vessel filled with crystals, gems, shells, relics, and other sacred objects, to which monks and nuns say prayers and mantras over time. Once a treasure vase is ready, it can be deployed as a powerful healing force into a particular place — said to bring wisdom, abundance, protection, and many other blessings to the area where it is planted.
The planting of the treasure vase here occurred just as this series of rituals was beginning. Now, six years later, with the series approaching completion, it felt important to anchor the new and transformed energies of High Acres Farm with a consciously created (and not merely inherited) “energy grid” of our own.
In 1947, she established a local museum to share her eccentric collections with the public. Her Shelburne Museum itself is a collection of buildings — twenty-five of which were moved to Shelburne from around the State of Vermont, each building housing a collection of a particular kind of item, all impeccably organized.
Electra was especially attracted to early American quilts, whose handmade beauty she felt embodied a quintessentially “American” aesthetic. She was among the first to exhibit these handmade bedcoverings as works of art in a museum setting.
This new geometry offered a kind of halfway point between eastern and western aesthetics — nodding to the complexities of mandalas, mosaics, and yantras, while also anchored in the tradition of Americana, with its staid equilateral triangles — while yet also resonating with my own longstanding interest in the number 27.
The network takes shape — April 2021
Using satellite imagery and GPS, this geometry was then carefully overlaid on the High Acres Farm landscape, encompassing around forty acres of land — so that the twenty-seven vertices fall on precise latitude and longitude locations, and the resulting edges run across certain key places where rituals and other important events have occurred. The empty nonagon in the middle encircles the various buildings (barn, stables, office, shed) where we imagine that future cultural and educational activities will largely be rooted.
The “Electric Webb” at High Acres Farm — encompassing around 40 acres of land
The geometry not only creates a kind of “Magic Circle” for High Acres Farm, but also, through its star-shaped structure, radiates outward into the surrounding area, connecting with other key locations on Earth, casting invisible blessings beyond the bounds of this place — and through reciprocity, receiving blessings in return.
To bring this “Electric Webb” pattern to life, a set of twenty-seven mirrored “lightning transformers” are fabricated with a group of local craftsmen over the summer of 2021 — based on a simple design sketch that I supplied.
Each mirror is laser-engraved with a map of the overall star-shaped “Electric Webb” network, with a single node circled, indicating that mirror’s relative location in the network — as well as a single evocative word, unique to each location.
Laser engraving the twenty-seven mirrors at ExactBuilt in Underhill, Vermont
Each laser-engraved mirror is then encased in a sturdy steel frame, cut to size with a water jet cutter. Each frame is welded to a matching steel pole, with a set of custom eyehole screws welded to the pole at nine-inch intervals, and a threaded 5/8" steel “boss” welded to the center back of each frame.
The bare copper wire is fished through a hole in the back of the frame, wrapped tightly twice around the frame’s perimeter, and pulled back through that hole with a little extra slack.
Fishing the wire
The copper points are screwed into the bosses welded to the back of each frame, and the loose copper wire is fastened to the points with brass acorn clamps — completing the conductive circuit.
Adding the points
The resulting instruments function as “lightning transformers” — attracting lightning during summer storms, and transmuting the raw power of the electricity through the words engraved on each mirror, which add those particular qualities to the energy as it passes from the sky, through the transformer, and into the Earth.
Before taking each transformer into the landscape, I dip its copper point into the glass cup from Phase Change, now filled with rainwater from a summer storm — as a way of acquainting the points with the sky, and as a way of uniting, as in the Parsifal myth, the “chalice” and the “spear.”
The typewriter is the same machine that typed the various quotes seen in the previous films. Certain keys are carefully considered:
With lightning bugs flashing outside, the machine is switched on, and a raging lightning storm overtakes the landscape.
As the storm subsides, the twenty-seven transformers are left in its powerful wake.
Any many more
Towards the end of the film, from a bird’s eye view of High Acres Farm, the network’s geometry is fully revealed — a kind of energetic “quilt” woven through the fabric of the landscape, an invisible mandala made of intentions.
Because each node in the network is a lightning transformer, and because all twenty-seven mirrors face inwards to a common center point, when any one transformer is struck, the event is instantly reflected to the rest of the network — flashing all the other nodes at once with a sudden burst of light that charges the land with the twenty-seven particular qualities etched on the mirrors:
The mirrors not only reflect one another, but also bounce their energy out beyond the bounds of High Acres Farm — radiating those same twenty-seven qualities into the surrounding landscape, reaching out into the larger world.
The mandala serves a conservative purpose — namely, to restore a previously existing order. But it also serves the creative purpose of giving expression and form to something that does not yet exist, something new and unique. The process is that of the ascending spiral, which grows upward while simultaneously returning again and again to the same point.