Śramaṇa Rising

Foto by Jason Weaver, 2017

Foto by Jason Weaver, 2017

 

(To hear the Blacksmith Tree Frog please press play)


— The day prior to a New Moon compels total abandonment and complete surrender,
a release from all fears; by becoming an empty vessel, we can be reborn in purity —

The Shaman, dressed in his intricate fine-thread garb, has lit the
sacred flames ensconced within the ornamental shrine, festooned
in floral garlands and feathery plumes, around which they all gather,
chanting mantras and prayers, echoing his verse; later he reads
to them from the ancient texts, his sacramental words.

It is a ceremony of separation — one of death and birth,
of creation and destruction, of mothers and sons, of water and stone.

— And out of the primeval murk he was born, the strands
that once connected them shorn, as man arises from earth —

In attendance is the Seeker, who sways hypnotic to the reverberate
thumps and rings, enchanted at the ritualistic flourishes of his Master’s
lashes of sacred waters, at the intoxicating scents of mystic incense.
He knows that this ceremony is as much for himself as it is for them all,
for tonight, he has shed his doubt, arriving prepared to emerge.

Abruptly, he feels a split, the is a severance, and one by one, like strings
being snipped, the Shaman’s words begin to lose all meaning and sense.

— Bearing down in a grassy field near a passing creek, a mother
delivers
her newborn son, cutting the umbilical cord with her teeth —

Opening his eyes he finds that they have all gone. He is alone in a forest clearing,
a passage, surrounded by bog, the sounds he is hearing now like so many drums
are the tympanic mating calls of male blacksmith tree frogs resonating across
the water. Where once was a fire-lit altar, he sees a patch of grassy stalks
jutting from the murk, the scents are of night-blooms, of algae, of damp.

It is done, the cycle is complete. Cleansed and unbound from his corporal and
temporal ties, he must forge a new path of unification. But for now, he must rest.

 

By Jason Weaver, 2017

Although I took artistic liberty to re-create this account, an actual ceremony was performed by my good friend and mentor Afonso Domingues on the evening of February 25th, 2017, on New Moon’s Eve. Some details in the poem are truth, while others are embellished or simply created. In this story I call him the Shamen to instill an atemporal feel to reflect that which we all surely felt. The photo was taken earlier in the evening before the ceremony. Later, I returned to this spot just as it began to get dark, and the chorus of tree frogs (Hypsibaos Faber) left me without words. It was within this context that I wanted to share with you what happened to me that evening, and how I prepared myself for the next phase of my journey. The Title Śramaṇa Rising refers to a seeker in various Indian religious movements, and among other things, fits in with the concepts of birth and death cycles, and ultimately, finding liberation from those cycles through ascetisism.
Credits:
Audio of Blacksmith Tree Frog (Hypisboas Faber) by Rodrigo Dela Rosa, accessed from amphibiaweb.org
Lunar cycle legend retrieved from http://www.lunarplanner.com/characteristics/1-New.html
Information on Śramana I retrieved from 2 sources:
http://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/%C5%9Brama%E1%B9%87a
https://www.boundless.com/world-history/textbooks/boundless-world-history-i-ancient-civilizations-enlightenment-textbook/early-civilizations-in-the-indian-subcontinent-4/religion-in-the-indian-subcontinent-25/the-sramana-movement-108-13209/

In a Sense

A late morning sun warms my back
and casts a shadow onto the concrete slab underfoot.
It is Monday,
the First Monday
after a string of Forever Fridays.

I feel new.
Clean.

The air is immense
as it holds me in my place
filling in the empty space where nothing else seems to exist
but colors, intense
reds, blues, yellows.
Greens.

I feel that yesterday may have all
been just a dream
and that tomorrow
perhaps may never be
and so
I breathe it all in, deep
and as it rushes into my lungs and blood and bones
it binds within me,
pulsing into my mind it combines with me,
creating this very perception and memory
of all that I have seen,
of all that I have been,
of all that I know and feel,
all of this love has never been so

natural. Real.

It is Monday,
the First Monday after eternity
and here
now
is where I shall begin again.

by Jason Weaver, 2014

Pearla

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Her eyes,
like glassy black pearls,
are open.
I know now what I
should have done last night–
that and tuck under
her paws, like in sleep
because by morning
the stiffness is making it
quite cumbersome
for her to neatly fit
into the hole we dug,
and now earth
has fallen into her wide eyes.

But it is too late for that now,
so we cut flowers
and fill her grave
with the loose cool dirt,
each handful
an honor to all life,
by serving in death.

By Jason Weaver, 2013

Author’s note: Pearla, a friend’s dog, fell into a heavy sickness that fortunately did not last long and she passed on Sunday night. I was with her in her final moments and helped to bury her the next moring.   I feel it is so important for us to honor life by serving in sickness and death. Whether animal or person, all living beings share the same ultimate experience, cessation of life.  Rest peacefully, Pearla.

Linking up with DVerse Poetry Pub for Tuesday Night Open Link-– stop by, inspire!