HOME ALONE ON A WINDY NIGHT WITH A CHINESE LUTE

I am at home alone (the wife’s exercising and I think everyone else is at a movie). There is a strong wind blowing outside, and I have a CD of Chinese lute (Pipa) music playing. Whenever I put on this CD I feel like I can almost taste a very nice cup of Jasmine tea. I would go make some, but I’d have to look for it, and I’m too lazy—I will add another haiku post to this thread instead. The Pipa is known as a biwa (琵琶) in Japan. The CD has such titles, poorly translated as, ‘Chen Hsin-yuan to Pacify the Barbarian/Fall into Courtyard,’ ‘Playing Xiao and Drum Under the Setting Sun,’ ‘A Tyrant in the Difficult Status,’ and ‘A Blossom of Plum.’ These songs are generally classic pieces that were played on the pipa. The title of the CD, is ‘Shi Mian Maifu‘ which means, ‘Ambushed From Ten Sides.’ It is also the title of the 3rd song. This song and most of the others are listed on Wikipedia under Pipa as traditional classics for this instrument. The authors that put out the CD translated Shi mian maifu as ‘An Overall Ambush.’ But shi mian does mean 10 sides, or 10 fronts.

Anyway—-it’s a great CD if you like stringed instruments, and want to set that perfect mood for a cup of Jasmine Tea. Some of the songs are played solely by a pipa, others are accompanied by other traditional instruments.

Here is the song Shi Mian Maifu (Ambushed from Ten Sides) on a pipa:

 

 

But if that is a little too wild and violent for you, here is, White Snow in the Spring Sunlight:

 

 

It’s spring, but Colorado can still get a lot of snowstorms this month (today was over 70 though…). Regardless, winter and fall haiku are my favorites. Here are some more from 2006—I’ll stick a Spring one in there:

 

夜の闇に

寝る町

大雪おこり

 

Yoru no yami ni

neru machi

Ohyuki okori

 

In the darkness of the night

the sleeping village

a blizzard arises

 

At night, as most of the creatures of the day, including man, sleep, they are completely oblivious to the storm brewing up outside their homes. But it wouldn’t matter, we are helpless and weak against the fury of mother nature’s storms. Nothing we can do will arrest its development.

 

夜の森

水の音

みみづく鳴き也

 

yoru no mori

mizu no oto

mimitzuku naki ya

 

Forest in the night

the sound of water.

A horned owl cries!

 

The seasonal word hear is the horned owl—but I cannot say for sure what season that is off the top of my head—-I’d have to look it up.

 

山深し

森にかくるる

冬の月

 

yama fukashi

mori ni kakururu

fuyu no tsuki

 

Deep in the mountains

hiding in the forest

the winter moon

 

~ruru is an older verb conjugation. Here is another one–a spring one–along the same lines:

 

古池に

隠りょうとする

春の月

 

furu ike ni

kakuryou to suru

haru no tsuki

 

in the old pond

it tries to hide–

the spring moon

 

Whenever you use ‘furu ike’ (old pond), it probably calls to mind the most famous haiku of all–especially outside of Japan: furu ike ya/kaeru tobikomu/mizu no oto, or, ‘The old pond!/frog jumps in/the sound of water.’

The moon, as I have mentioned numerous times before, has a lot of meaning to the Japanese. It is a symbol of enlightenment for example. The moon trying to hide in a pond, is an aesthetic interpretation of an experience when, at least for a moment, one has been gripped by nature. It becomes much deeper though if we think of the old pond as a metaphor for the consciousness, and under its surface—the subconscious. As I have stated before, I am not Buddhist, but rather an animist, so I could interpret the moon in ways other than Buddhist enlightenment—such as a deep knowledge of spirit, or the connection to the other side, or even that animating force (what the Japanese would call 神 kami) within each living thing. And the pond, rather than, consciousness, could be that veil between physical reality, and the hidden reality of spirit. There are so many ways that one could experience this haiku—some perhaps, at least for me, touching on that special feeling of 幽玄 (yuugen—-See my post, YUGEN—A SPIRITUAL FEELING TOO DEEP FOR WORDS).

AND—-this is the Spring moon that is hiding, and spring is a time of new beginnings…

The Chinese pipa music however, has got me to thinking about haiku regarding the biwa. Maybe next time I’ll have one or two haiku on that theme.

THE LITTLE STONE JIZO-SAMAS

Here is another tanka I composed in 2006:

 

冬の夜
松の間に
地蔵菩薩あり
ほう覚えろよ
と風がなくの

 

fuyu no yo
matsu no ma ni
jizobousatsu ari
hou, oboeroyo
to kaze ga naku no

 

In the winter’s night
between the pine trees
sits Jizobousatsu
‘Hey remember… remember…’
the wind cries

 

In my previous post, THE LITTLE STONE BUDDHA AND THE LONELY FIFE OF THE RAMEN SELLER, I talked a bit about the jizobousatsu–the little stone Bodhisattvas.  You find them in mountain temples and shrines, and other sacred places in the mountains and countryside. You can buy ones that are anywhere from a few inches tall to maybe a foot or so. Then you can place it yourself on one of these spots with your own prayer. However they are generally considered guardians of children, and children especially need to be guarded in the afterlife. Most of them are placed with prayers for a stillbirth, or an aborted child (which is fairly common in Japan). There is something certainly tragic and sad connected with many of these little statues.

I have seen very old jizobousatsu that are so old, the stone carvings have lost most of their details. Generally each one looks more like a phallus–correction, many of them look just like a phallus.

 

谷風や
そこの地蔵様の
思い出

 

tanikaze ya
soko no jizosama no
omoide

 

The valley wind!
reminding
of the Jizo-sama there.

 

This is actually a summer haiku. The valley wind is a wind that rises up from a valley in the summer. This Jizobousatsu could be sitting in the valley below, or this haiku could be metaphoric for a memory of some sort rising up from the subconscious that reminds one of other, more hidden things, or perhaps that tragic thing one doesn’t want to recall, or at least recall directly…

 

冬霞
谷懐の
古神社

 

fuyugasumi
tanibutokoro no
furu jinja

 

Winter’s mist
the old shrine
at the bottom, deep in the steep valley

 

tanibutokoro refers to deep within a steep valley that is surrounded on each side by steep mountains. Shinto shrines are always painted a bright reddish-orange, and are very ornate and detailed in texture. Can you imagine, deep in a green mountain valley, still crisp and cold from the winter, and snow still sitting in spots, mist rising up everywhere, that somehow the bright (but fading) colors and bits of details peek through from the old shrine—probably abandoned…? Or, perhaps once again this refers to a spot deep in your subconscious–a forgotten spot—-a sacred place.

Maybe it is not even your own sacred place—but that of your ancestors, still sitting there in your personal collective unconscious. It was this part of the psyche, the collective unconscious, that Jung said held the truths, traditions, wisdom, and cultural motifs of all our ancestors. A shrine is a very old structure that goes back even into the distant paleolithic. Even the Neanderthal built shrines with the bones of Cave Bears. If you go back far enough, we all have those same indigenous roots. There is a connection between those messages, symbols, and archetypal meanings buried in the ancient cave paintings, that returns in the myths and symbols of Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, Mohenjodaro,  Ancient China, Japan, or even North and South America, and Australia; and that still resonates in the organized religions of today.

Many do not realize it, but that long forgotten, ancient, abandoned shrine buried in the bottom depths of the collective unconscious, is still just as significant today, as it was when our distant ancestors actually used it.

SOME MORE WINTER HAIKU

I thought of putting in some Spring haiku, but we are getting some light snow today, and it has been overcast all day—very wintery looking out there. Here are some haiku from 2006 – 2007 (I don’t think I have shared any of these ones yet):

 

雪雲り

夕方に

町の光や

 

Yukigumori

yuugata ni

machi no hikari ya

 

Snow clouds

in the evening

the village lights!

 

I love how the lights of a village or town contrast against the darkening gray overcast sky of an early winter’s evening. Or in the late evening, after the sun has gone down, glow against the low hanging clouds, heavy with snow. Yukigumori could also be translated as, ‘threatening to snow.’

 

雪雲り

日暮れに

遠寺の鐘

 

Yukigumori

higure ni

toudera no kane

 

Snow clouds

at day’s end

a distant temple bell

 

 

雪の朝

流れ星の

静かさ也

 

Yuki no asa

nagareboshi no

shizukasa ya

 

snowy morning

the stillness

of a shooting star!

 

Most likely this would be in the very early morning before sunrise, though potentially it could be a brighter one in the early light. I have experienced the quiet hiss of a shooting star that many people report (and science can’t quite explain). That hiss is a silence of its own. On the other hand, when they are completely silent, there seems to be something special about that silence too. As it plummets towards earth, you know that a rock travelling at a very high speed, is melting under intense heat into nothing but minute particles of black iron, and yet this climactic event (climactic for the rock), happens in utter silence, and it lasted for only a brief moment.

I actually composed this one after watching a large shooting star fall towards snowy peaks across a mountain valley, when I happened to walk out on a veranda at 2:00 in the morning, while visiting my mom & dad’s condo up in Breckenridge Colorado. This was in October 2007, and I half expected to see one. Because, the year before I had stepped out onto their condo veranda on a Sunday night in October, about the same time, only to see a shooting star. A week later I was up in Breckenridge again and on a Saturday, about the same time, the same thing happened again. That was three times in a row, so I began stepping out more often—but alas, it has never happened again.

 

大雪の

人もなく道

神さびた

 

Ohyuki no

hito mo naku michi

kamisabita

 

A big snow

the road void of people

serene

 

Or another translation:

 

A big snow

the empty road

touched by the gods

 

There are a lot of ways we could say kamisabita, and I don’t know if any of them do justice to the word. Kami is god or gods, sabiru can mean mature, or mellow, but it can also mean to rust, and to be lonely. But it can be a very special loneliness connected to the Japanese appreciation of simplicity and the rustic. Sabi, in the latter case, is one of those words that does not have an English equivalent. Another translation for kamisabita is hallowed. Or, I could also use, ‘filled with the gods,’ for the last line.

 

重い雪雲

支えるか

老い松也

 

Omoi yukigumo

sasaeru ka

oimatsu ya

 

the heavy snow clouds

does it hold them up

–the ancient pine tree?!

 

Oimatsu is simply a very old pine, another word would be the aged pine tree. In the initial interpretation of this, it is an aesthetic experience of the tree against the clouds. But old trees and other old things of nature, are especially filled with kami—the shinto gods. As an animist belief system, everything has kami within it, but the old things have come into their own way with there kami spirit. Perhaps we could say that they are so filled with kami that they outwardly manifest that in the gnarls of their trunks and branches and the silent strength such old things portray. To hold up the clouds demonstrates that silent, god-filled sense of strength. We could take it even further though—clear across Eurasia, the tall straight pine trees seem to connect with the World Tree, the Axis Mundi—-the celestial center of the world that pierces from the underworld, into our world, and then into the upper worlds. It is the portal of the divine, where spirit connects to us, and we can possibly connect to spirit. The big giant cedar pines in Japan certainly look as if they could be such a portal and universal center. I have a book called Nippon Shinwa (Stories of the Japanese gods) which has the only true Japanese scriptures—the Kojiki and Nihongi—-in it, and explores and discusses these very old myths. As I recall, there is a Pillar God who is connected with the creation of the structure of the universe—-and seems related to these old cedar pines.

YUGEN–A SPIRITUAL FEELING TOO DEEP FOR WORDS

There are numerous Japanese words that cannot be translated directly into English. Undeniably my favorite of these words is yugen [幽玄], or more correctly yuugen, though most people who write about it in English write, yugen.

The book, ‘They Have a Word For It,’ defines it as, “An awareness of the universe that triggers feelings too deep and mysterious for words.” They quote Alan Watts by explaining it as, “To watch the sun sink behind a flower clad hill, to wander on and on in a huge forest without thought of return, to stand upon a shore and gaze after a boat that disappears beyond distant islands, to contemplate the flight of wild geese seen and lost among the clouds.”

I don’t know if that is actually Alan Watts’ original words—he may have been quoting someone else, as those are fairly typical descriptions of the feeling of yugen. In fact, I have read that very description in other places.

The Chinese characters for Yugen are Yuu [幽] (a mountain with the radical for thread on each side of the center line), meaning: 1.) to confine to a room, 2.) faint, dim, indistinct, hazy, weak (this is the same yuu used for yuurei (spirit, ghost, apparition) and yuukai (land of the dead); and gen [玄] (a thread with a lid radical over it–which is actually its own radical), meaning dark, mysterious.

I think it is interesting that ‘thread’ is used in both characters—-hinting towards the threads of reality that weave the physical universe into being. There was, for example, an ancient Indo-European concept that reality was a web of threads–and fate, in particular, was conceived as manifesting through threads. The Old-English word, wyrd, referred both to fate, and one of the names of the three Norns, the three old ladies who weaved our fate. Inherent in the concept of wyrd is the fact that our actions create a web of reality in a cause and effect manner. Wyrd, of course, is the root of the modern English word, weird.

String Theory is the modern science version of this very old concept. But reality woven from threads appears elsewhere in Modern science as well. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity tells us that light, from our sub-light-speed perspective, is composed of zero-time zero-space particles, meaning that it does not exist in time or space. The implication is that a photon exists only for an instant, but that instant covers all time and space. It also means that when we perceive (i.e. see) a photon, it must simultaneously exist, outside of time, in both the present, hitting the retina of our eye, and also at its distant point of origin, no matter how many light years away that is. We personally are trapped by time, and can only physically experience the moment of now (which is then irretrievably lost forever as we experience the next moment of now). But since we understand time in our sub-light-speed reality, we see that photon as having traveled over many light years into the present, from our distant past many light years away. But to that zero-time zero-space light particle, its whole existence is all an infinitely small instant in which it is here and there, and all points in between at the same time—-it is a wave of energy, or, as suggested by the Chinese characters for yugen, a thread.

One theory that has been published in recent years, reworked Newton’s law of Motion in such a way as to suggest that mass is actually an illusion created by light trapped by inertia (which they have also reworked inertia to be the latent light energy that fills the universe, or, the Zero-Point Field). In other words, all that is, is simply light energy! And, as I said, as a zero-time zero-space particle, it is essentially nothing more than a thread stretching from the beginning of time, to the end of time. Now—–how does consciousness fit into that? (…Perhaps it is a reality transcendent of light, and therefore shapes light into the illusion of mass, which creates the physical universe—-a very yugen concept to contemplate while staring at a Japanese garden…)

Granted, I have never seen the word yugen discussed in terms of a thread, but there is usually an archetypal symbolism that connects the Chinese characters to the words they refer to. Undoubtedly, I am sure there is something inherent within the concept.

In any event, Yugen is that feeling you get when you perceive that sense of almost being able to touch that profound reality that underlies existence.

It is an extension of the feeling of aware (pronounced Ah-wah-ray)—another Japanese word that is not directly translatable. The same book translates aware as, ” the feelings engendered by ephemeral beauty. They provide the example of experiencing the beauty of a cherry blossom slowly falling to the ground—a very Japanese experience because the cherry trees blossom only once a year, and it is a beauty they look forward to, but it only lasts a short time—as the blossoms fall to the ground—a final expression of their beauty, it comes with the knowledge that such beauty is gone for this year. It is therefore understood as a bittersweet beauty referring to the temporal nature of life—the mortality we are all subject too. Life is only fleeting, but in those fleeting moments there is a beauty that exists simply because it is fleeting. (And that is what Heidegger meant when he claimed that we find the significance of being in its finality).

Yugen is, of course, much more profound than aware. As temporal as aware is, yugen implies that beyond this temporal existence there is something more.

One experience I found to be Yugen—was sitting and watching a gold-fish—in a gold-fish bowl—the gentle ways that it moves its fins, even when the fish does not move. It is a gentle, silent wave of movement as the fins bend back and forth between the movement the fish makes and the pressure of the surrounding water.

I hope that many of my own haiku, express a sense of yugen. At least, for me, many of them do. But today, rather than sharing one of my own haiku, I will share one of the Japanese classics. Here is a haiku by the popular haiku poet, Issa, that is so full of yugen, it spills over:

 

Yuzen to shite
yama o miru
kawazu kana

 

Composedly he sits
contemplating the mountains–
the worthy frog!

 

That translation is by Lewis Mackenzie—who takes some liberty with it—but justifiably so.

THE SUN, THE MOON, DEEP INTO THE CENTER OF THE FOREST

About a year ago I found a book on Chinese poetry. I don’t buy too many books on Chinese poetry because, of the ones that are out there, many of them leave out the original Chinese. And Chinese is very open to interpretation especially in translating poetry into English. If I buy a book on Chinese poetry, I want to see the original Chinese with it—so I can better understand the Chinese poem. Fortunately this book had that.

Anyway, within the book there was a poem that I found to be similar to the last one in my previous post. Chinese poetry reflects a lot of Buddhist sentiment as well, but it is also heavily influenced by the animistic beliefs of Taoism. This poem is by Wang Wei who lived about 700 A.D. This is my own translation,

 

The empty mountain, no one can be seen
but voices are heard
The sun’s reflection reaches deep into the forest
and shines upon the green moss.

 

I left out the word human, or person or people in the second verse, which appears in the original Chinese. Afterall, disembodied voices echoing from an empty mountain, may not necessarily be people—they could after all be gods, spirits, fairies, ghosts…

The last one of my own haiku in my previous post:

 

奥へ,奥へと
冬森に
月光が。。。

 

Oku eh, oku eh to
Fuyu mori ni
gekko ga…

 

Deeper, deeper
into the winter forest–
the moonlight…

 

In my animistic world, if it is moving to the center, it is moving to that universal center, the axis mundi: the World Tree, or World Cave, or perhaps the shaman’s fire (of Mongolian or Ural Altaic Shamanic traditions) or even just the center of the forest, which is sacred in the animistic traditions of Bali, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other corners of South East Asia. The Sun, of course, is always sacred, just like the moon.

Here is another of mine referencing the moon from 2009:

 

道分からずに
雪の月も
淋しい

 

Michi wakarazu ni
yuki no tsuki mo
sabishii

 

Lost, and
even the snowy moon
is lonely

 

The word, ‘lost,’ does not refer to the moon, but to an individual, either in the first person, second person, or however you experience it. The Japanese, michi wakarazu, literally means to not understand the path, road, or way. But nature, from our perspective, often reflects our own sentiments. When we are happy, we see a happy moon, even if we do not always consciously catch it as such. But an angry person may look at that same moon and see an angry one.

DEEPER INTO THE FOREST

This was from December 2009:

 

娼婦の死体
大雪で
白くなる

 

Shoufu no shitai
Ohyuki de
Shiroku naru

 

The corpse of a prostitute
in the heavy falling snow
becomes white

 

Like so many of these haiku, this can be humorous, or it could be vulgar and disgusting, or macabre. But it could also be an experience of the tragedy of life, the pathos. The snow falls and covers the sad shell of what was probably a sad, pathetic, and tragic life. It covers it without intention or meaning just as it covers the withered tree branches of winter, or the roofs of family homes where people lie snuggled together in the warmth and love of family. It covers her dead corpse just as swiftly and easily as it covers the lives on that day of her family, if any still live, who themselves are probably oblivious to her whereabouts or her demise. It could even be snowing down on her own children, if she has them, waiting for their mother to come home, and hopefully bring them food…

But it is also a sacred haiku. White is a sacred color of purity in Japan. In a previous post I wrote about becoming a Buddha (hotoke nari), and how death in Japan has a concept of sacred cleansing of the evil and lust of the physical world. Therefore white is associated with death.

One of my favorite samurai TV shows in Japan, Ko tsure Ohkame, was a famous story that was also made into comic books (manga), and possibly even anime (I watch very little anime). The title doesn’t sound so good in English, ‘The Wolf that takes the kid with him’ or ‘Wolf accompanied by child.’ Part of the problem is it loses its cool sound in English because we cannot modify nouns in an adjectival way with verbs, like ‘Child-taking wolf.’ I know there is an English version of the manga, at least, but I don’t know the English title. Anyway, the story is about a war between two actual samurai families of feudal Japan. In this story the main character’s family has all been killed except his young son of about 2 or 3 years of age. He sets out with his son, on a trip of revenge against the other family. But the complications does not end their—he is blind, and must rely entirely on his samurai skills and sense, and Buddhist spirituality to make his way through this battle against countless foes, all while protecting his son.

In one climactic episode of the TV series, he, and if I remember right (I last saw this in the 1980’s), a woman who occasionally joined him in her own quest for vengeance, were to do battle with the head of the enemy family. Before the battle they both dawned kimono’s, obis (belts), and so forth, of pure white. Then right before entering into battle, with swords drawn, they slipped off their sandals—entering bare foot. This is a powerful death motif in Japan. It said that they knew this could be a suicide mission, and were prepared to die. But they would fight to the death, a death that would be cleansing and carry them into the next world, because, their white kimonos also showed that they had made peace with themselves and the world, and had fully submitted themselves to the cycle of life, whatever it brings them.

Of course, the series had to go on, and I don’t remember the details, but I believe they both lived as did the enemy master.

Even today, you see Japanese take off their shoes as a symbol of their readiness to die. If you happen to be on a roof of a high building, and see a Japanese individual step onto the roof, walk over the edge, and take off his or her shoes—-you better have someone call 911, get over there fast.

But getting back to the haiku, I believe this concept of white is not exclusively Buddhist, but Shinto as well. On one level this is a Buddhist haiku. But I am not Buddhist. I have great respect for Buddhism, and if I was to follow an organized religion, Buddhism would be a great contender to be it. But I am an animist—and therefore closer to Shintoism in belief.

Therefore this has significance in an animistic way to me that is still not alien to a Japanese sentiment: It is nature, in her endless dynamic of birth, life, death, renewal, that cleanses and purifies. The dead prostitute, left to the elements like a pile of rubbish (at least if she had been there for a while, her body not yet discovered, or perhaps not yet removed by the proper authorities), is still cleansed and purified, but not by man, not by his religious institutions, but the eternal never-ending Mother Nature.

Here is another one, that could be Buddhist, but to me it fits my animistic belief system:

 

奥へ,奥へと
冬森に
月光が。。。

 

Oku eh, oku eh to
Fuyu mori ni
gekko ga…

 

Deeper, deeper
into the winter forest–
the moonlight…

 

It is about the moon, which can symbolize enlightenment in Buddhism. There is a death significance to the moon too perhaps, but I do not remember off hand. To an animist, it is a living companion, and depending on the tradition, a god or goddess. Tsukiyomi is the Shinto Goddess of the moon–the personification of the moon. Saigyo, a Buddhist poet, wrote a tanka about the moon, flowing through the forest of Tsukiyomi–which was, to him, a metaphor for Buddhist teachings being absorbed in Japan with the animistic Shinto perspective. Buddhism was therefore adopted in a uniquely Japanese fashion when it came to this land of the rising sun. (I am not Shinto, because I am not Japanese–but animistic spirituality is not concerned with titles, or man-made designations, it is all sacred, and one animistic belief fits right in with another). ‘Oku’ can mean the center, or deep, or deep within. Oku eh refers to movement towards that inner place.

CELTIC FIDDLE AND THE ANCIENT JAPANESE SHAMANESS

I ran across this video of Lindsey Stirling playing Celtic fiddle over dubstep. I loved it, and immediately knew I had some haiku for this video

 

 

I’ve always loved experimenting with eclectic music and bringing it together. The Moody Blues did an incredible job of bringing classical music into the Rock realm. Rick Wakeman added synthesizers to the classical music-rock. The Beatles and others introduced the sitar and Indian music into Rock. I’ve played around with classical themes embellished with synthesizer…

 

But Lindsey’s Celtic Fiddle played over synthesizers playing dubstep is amazing. Lindsey Stirling is hot as hell, her music is great——–her dance moves are erotic…. This was filmed here in Colorado (I was thinking Iceland or somewhere in the Scandinavian regions)—-but, yeah—–I dig this.

 

 

 

 

 

Celtic music has always given me a feeling of the spirituality that lies underneath—playing back to the old Celtic and Pictish indigenous traditional ways.

 

This video immediately made me think back to an old Tanka I composed—experimenting with that traditional style of Japanese poetry. (This is an old style, based on haiku, but using 31 syllables rather than 17). I liked the idea but did not care for the poem at first because I thought it was too descriptive—-but it was an early experiment, and it has grown on me. This poem is about Miko, the Japanese shamaness of long ago–Japanese maidens who called down the Shinto Gods—it could be one, it could be a group:

 

冬霞
谷ぶところの
古神社
巫女神下ろしに
みみずく鳴る

 

Fuyugasumi

tani butokoro no

furujinja,

Miko kami oroshi ni

mimizuku naru

 

Winter haze

in a steep deep valley

the old shrine,

As the Miko calls down the gods

cry of the Horned Owl.

 

Here is another one:

 

冬霞
闇のかたゆく
山姫也

 

Fuyugasumi

yami no katayuku

Yamahime ya

 

A winter haze

heading into the darkness…

Ah! A Mountain Goddess

 

A Yamahime was a Shinto Goddess of the mountain. There was also the Yamatsumi, the God of the mountain. Shinto is animistic, and believes everything is alive. But older, more majestic things especially have gods living within them. In the mountains you could sometimes find little statues of the mountain god and/or goddess, placed in a special place in the forest—-the gods within that mountain. Then again, one might encounter the gods themselves…

 

 

Another Miko one—

 

山雪也
知らぬ神社に
巫女の歌

 

Yama yuki ya

shiranu jinja ni

Miko no uta

 

The mountain snow!

in an unkown shrine

the Miko‘s song

 

The Miko‘s song, heard from some hidden shrine in the midst of the mountain snow, would be one of calling the gods to come down. If it is accompanied, it would certainly be with a drum, possibly bells and a whining high pitched wind instrument. It is fast paced but with restrained tones. Celtic music too, has a certain restrained tonal quality about it—-as if the hidden sacredness underlying all of reality, is at that particular moment, straining to pierce through the veil between the spiritual, and the physical—but for all except the few most deeply in tune, the veil strains, but remains closed, leaving only the slight hint of what lays within.

 

 

OK—here’s another one I just happened to find—I wrote it in December 2009:

 

山森に
古神社
雪の宿なり

 

Yamamori ni

furujinja

yuki no yado nari

 

In the mountain forest

the old shrine

becomes shelter from the snow

 

Haiku is supposed to be experienced subjectively, and there are many experiences you could derive from this, but picture this, you are hiking through a mountain forest when a snow storm hits. You duck in to an old forgotten shrine, which protects you from the snow, but who knows what old spirits, what old gods, are lurking inside, and safe from the snow you are now in their world…

 

That reminds me of an old Japanese saying—-“you’ll never be cursed by the god you don’t touch.” (触らぬ神にたたりなし, Sawaranu kami ni, tatari nashi).

 

But I think this haiku really fits her video—-she’s playfully wandering through these ice castles (conjuring up spirits?)—but there is a little hesitation at times, maybe slight moments of fear——what is out there she seems to wonder…