Monthly Archives: March 2017

Winds Four Quarters

Maiden, Warrior, Mother and Crone

Chorus:
Wind’s four quarters, air and fire
Earth and water, hear my desire,
Grant my plea who stands alone,
Maiden, Warrior, Mother and Crone

Eastern Wind, blow clear blow clean
Cleanse my body of its pain
Cleanse my mind of what I’ve seen
Cleanse my honor of its stain
Maid whose love has never ceased
Bring me healing from the east

Southern wind, blow hot blow hard
Fan my courage to a flame
Southern wind be guide and guard
Add your bravery to my name
Let my will and yours be twinned
Warrior of the southern wind

Chorus:
Wind’s four quarters, air and fire
Earth and water, hear my desire,
Grant my plea who stands alone,
Maiden, Warrior, Mother and Crone

Western wind blow stark, blow strong
Grant me arm and mind of steel
On a road both hard and long
Mother, hear me where I kneel
Let no weakness on my quest
Hinder me, wind of the west

Northern wind, blow cruel blow cold
Sheathe my aching heart in ice
Armor round my soul enfold
Crone, I need not call you twice
To my foes bring the cold of death
Chill me north wind’s frozen breath!

Chorus:
Wind’s four quarters, air and fire
Earth and water, hear my desire,
Grant my plea who stands alone,
Maiden, Warrior, Mother and Crone
Maiden, Warrior…Mother and Crone

Mioriţa

Though there are countless whimsical and ghostly tales, Mioriţa is a folklore poem, exclusive to Romania. There are over 1,500 variants of the poem and was conceived in Transylvania. The poem, which was translated into a ballad, is based on an initiation rite and is sung in the form of carols during the winter holidays. It’s cultural significance is that it has been shared among some of the most influential and important people of Romania. Having been translated into over 20 languages, the Mioritic has been the inspiration for countless writers, composers and artists. It is one of the most popular of the four traditional myths of Romanian literature. Here is the translated version:

Mioriţa

Near a low foothill
At Heaven’s doorsill,
Where the trail’s descending
To the plain and ending,

Here three shepherds keep
Their three flocks of sheep,
One, Moldavian,
One, Transylvanian
And one, Vrancean.

Now, the Vrancean
And the Transylvanian
In their thoughts, conniving,
Have laid plans, contriving

At the close of day
To ambush and slay
The Moldavian;

He, the wealthier one,
Had more flocks to keep,
Handsome, long-horned sheep,
Horses, trained and sound,
And the fiercest hounds.

One small ewe-lamb, though,
Dappled gray as tow,
While three full days passed
Bleated loud and fast;
Would not touch the grass.

”Ewe-lamb, dapple-gray,
Muzzled black and gray,
While three full days passed
You bleat loud and fast;
Don’t you like this grass?

Are you too sick to eat,
Little lamb so sweet?”

”Oh my master dear,
Drive the flock out near
That field, dark to view,
Where the grass grows new,
Where there’s shade for you.

”Master, master dear,
Call a large hound near,
A fierce one and fearless,
Strong, loyal and peerless.

The Transylvanian
And the Vrancean
When the daylight’s through
Mean to murder you.”

”Lamb, my little ewe,
If this omen’s true,
If I’m doomed to death
On this tract of heath,

Tell the Vrancean
And Transylvanian
To let my bones lie
Somewhere here close by,

By the sheepfold here
So my flocks are near,
Back of my hut’s grounds
So I’ll hear my hounds.

Tell them what I say:
There, beside me lay
One small pipe of beech
With its soft, sweet speech,

One small pipe of bone
Whit its loving tone,
One of elderwood,
Fiery-tongued and good.

Then the winds that blow
Would play on them so
All my listening sheep
Would draw near and weep
Tears, no blood so deep.

How I met my death,
Tell them not a breath;
Say I could not tarry,
I have gone to marry

A princess – my bride
Is the whole world’s pride.
At my wedding, tell
How a bright star fell,
Sun and moon came down
To hold my bridal crown,

Firs and maple trees
Were my guests; my priests
Were the mountains high;
Fiddlers, birds that fly,
All birds of the sky;
Torchlights, stars on high.

But if you see there,
Should you meet somewhere,
My old mother, little,
With her white wool girdle,
Eyes with their tears flowing,

Over the plains going,
Asking one and all,
Saying to them all,

’Who has ever known,
Who has seen my own
Shepherd fine to see,
Slim as a willow tree,

With his dear face, bright
As the milk-foam, white,
His small mustache, right
As the young wheat’s ear,

With his hair so dear,
Like plumes of the crow
Little eyes that glow
Like the ripe black sloe?’

Ewe-lamb, small and pretty,
For her sake have pity,
Let it just be said
I have gone to wed
A princess most noble
There on Heaven’s door sill.

To that mother, old,
Let it not be told
That a star fell, bright,
For my bridal night;
Firs and maple trees
Were my guests, priests
Were the mountains high;
Fiddlers, birds that fly,
All birds of the sky;
Torchlights, stars on high.”

We Remember Them

At the rising of the sun
and at its going down,
We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind
and in the chill of Winter,
We remember them.
At the opening of buds
and in the rebirth of Spring,
We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies
and in the warmth of Summer,
We remember them.
At the rustling of leaves
and the beauty of Autumn,
We remember them.
At the beginning of the year
and when it ends,
We remember them.
As long as we live,
they too will live;
for they are now a part of us,
as we remember them.
When we are weary
and in need of strength,
We remember them.
When we are lost
and sick at heart,
We remember them.
When we have joys we yearn to share,
We remember them.
When we have decisions
that are difficult to make,
We remember them
When we have achievements
that are based on theirs,
We remember them.
As long as we live,
they too shall live,
for they are a part of us,
as we remember them.

~by Rabbi Jack Riemer

The King of the Cats

Here’s a great cat story from Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland, by Lady Francesca Speranza Wilde, published in 1887.

A most important personage in feline history is the King of the Cats. He may be in your house a common looking fellow enough, with no distinguishing mark of exalted rank about him, so that it is very difficult to verify his genuine claims to royalty. Therefore the best way is to cut off a tiny little bit of his ear. If he is really the royal personage, he will immediately speak out and declare who he is; and perhaps, at the same the, tell you some very disagreeable truths about yourself, not at all pleasant to have discussed by the house cat.

A man once, in a fit of passion, cut off the head of the domestic pussy, and threw it on the fire. On which the head exclaimed, in a fierce voice, “Go tell your wife that you have cut off the head of the King of the Cats; but wait! I shall come back and be avenged for this insult,” and the eyes of the cat glared at him horribly from the fire.

And so it happened; for that day year, while the master of the house was playing with a pet kitten, it suddenly flew at his throat and bit him so severely that he died soon after.

A story is current also, that one night an old woman was sitting up very late spinning, when a knocking came to the door. “Who is there?” she asked. No answer; but still the knocking went on. “‘Who is there?” she asked a second the. No answer; and the knocking continued. “Who is there?” she asked the third time, in a very angry passion.

Then there came a small voice–“Ah, Judy, agrah, let me in,–for I am cold and hungry; open the door, Judy, agrah, and let me sit by the fire, for the night is cold out here. Judy, agrah, let me in, let me in!”

The heart of Judy was touched, for she thought it was some small child that had lost its way, and she rose up from her spinning, and went and opened the door–when in walked a large black cat with a white breast, and two white kittens after her.

They all made over to the fire and began to warm and dry themselves, purring all the time very loudly; but Judy said never a word, only went on spinning.

Then the black cat spoke at last–“Judy, agrah, don’t stay up so late again, for the fairies wanted to hold a council here tonight, and to have some supper, but you have prevented them; so they were very angry and determined to kill you, and only for myself and my two daughters here you would be dead by this time. So take my advice, don’t interfere with the fairy hours again, for the night is theirs, and they hate to look on the face of a mortal when they are out for pleasure or business. So I ran on to tell you, and now give me a drink of milk, for I must be off.”

And after the milk was finished the cat stood up, and called her daughters to come away.

“Good-night, Judy, agrah,” she said. “You have been very civil to me, and I’ll not forget it to you. Good-night, good night.”

With that the black cat and the two kittens whisked up the chimney; but Judy looking down saw something glittering on the hearth, and taking it up she found it was a piece of silver, more than she ever could make in a month by her spinning, and she was glad in her heart, and never again sat up so late to interfere with the fairy hours, but the black cat and her daughters came no more again to the house.

Kwan Yin and the Swallows

“Kwan Yin is one of the most universally beloved of deities in the Buddhist tradition. Also known as Kuan Yin, Quan Yin, Quan’Am (Vietnam), Kannon (Japan), and Kanin (Bali), She is the embodiment of compassionate loving kindness. As the Bodhisattva of Compassion, She hears the cries of all beings.”

Kwan Yin and the Swallows
by Dharmadasa Karuna

The cloud blue crests of Jianshan Mountain leaned into the morning light. Flaxen rays reached into the window of a young woman sleeping on a bed of straw. Her hair was the color of the night sky, and lapped over her belly and hips. Her skin was the color of the sun. She awoke and walked outside. The nest of swallows on her windowsill was empty. It was the end of summer.

Her bare feet pressed into the fallen leaves on the ground. She entered the woods in search of a cluster of white flowers with purple stems. Mother seemed unsure of herself this week, and Dong Quai would calm her nerves. She closed her eyes and let the forest guide her. She found the flowers in the silence.

“Kwan Yin, where are you? Talking to your birds again?”

“Coming mother.” The young woman emerged from the woods. “I was gathering a tonic for our tea.”

“I have to go wash clothes at the river for Mrs. Lim. Save the tea for lunch. We’re having visitors.”

“Who mother?”

“Madam Hong and her son.”

“Why are they coming? We don’t need visitors.”

“The fortune teller said you were a good match for Madam Hong’s son.”

“Mother, you know I don’t want to marry.”

“You are a woman now, and while your hair still falls down your back and your breath is sweet, you must take a husband.”

“I’m going to enter the nunnery.”

“That is a child’s dream, Kwan Yin.”

Kwan Yin looked down and did not answer.

“We are poor Kwan Yin, and the Hongs are wealthy. They are an honorable family. Do you understand?”

“Mother, I…”

“You have never been with a man and….”

“I know it is my duty to care for you.”

“They are not all as kind as your father was. After you clean the house and cook the meals, they will make you cut wood, carry water, and milk the goat. Then you must lay with them every night. Your work is only done when you sleep.”

“Mother, I know. I know what I must do.”

Continue reading

The Powers of Kuan Yin

World-Honored One!
May I ask once more
The reason that this holy Bodhisat
Is named as Kuan Yin?
The World-Honored One replied
By uttering this song:

engle-i-tusindvis

She responds well to all places in all directions!.
The echoes of her holy deeds
Resound throughout the world.
Her broad vows as deep as the ocean.
When, after countless aeons
Of serving countless Buddhas,
She pledged great and pure vows
To liberate afflicted beings.

Now listen carefully to the results.
To hear her name or see her image
Or sincerely and mindfully recite her name,
She delivers beings from every woe.

If someone is malicious
Pushing you into a pit of fire,
One thought of Kuan Yin’s saving power
Would turn the pit of fire into a pool!

Were you adrift upon the sea
With dragon-fish and demons around you,
One thought of Kuan Yin’s saving power
Would spare you from the hungry waves.

Suppose from Mount Sumeru’s peak
Some enemy should cast you down,
One thought of Kuan Yin’s saving power
And sun-like you would float in space.

Were you pursued by evil men
And crushed against the Iron Mountain,
One thought of Kuan Yin’s saving power
And not a hair would come to harm.

Were you chased by a band of thieves,
Their cruel knives now raised to slay,
One thought of Kuan Yin’s saving power
And their minds would immediately develop compassion.

Suppose the King was extremely anger at you,
The headsman’s sword upraised to strike,
One thought of Kuan Yin’s saving power
Would dash the sword to pieces.

Were you in jail by prison walls,
Your wrists and ankles bound with chains,
One thought of Kuan Yin’s saving power
Would instantly obtain release.

Were you cursed or poisoned,
And lay now in the danger,
One thought of Kuan Yin’s saving power
Would send the spells back & nullify its poison.

Were you surrounded by demons
Or harmful dragons and ghosts,
One thought of Kuan Yin’s saving power
And none would dare to do any harm.

Did savage beasts press all around
With fearful fangs, ferocious claws,
One thought of Kuan Yin’s saving power
Would make them run off quickly.

From: The Lotus Sutra and Spring Liao

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