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 Valley

Foto by Jason Weaver, 2017

In a valley pass, I am
LIMITLESS
like an eagle I glide
above the land,
like a fish I breathe
beneath the sea,
beyond the ego-bound
barriers of body and mind,
I am the Earth,
her chartreuse covered
contours against
cerulean skies,
I am her ruddy dust in
sun-warmed winds,
and from within,
I am light.

By Jason Weaver, 2017

In a Fog

Original painting by Jason Weaver, 2016

Original painting by Jason Weaver, 2016

A fog of cool, white
winter-wet clouds curled across
the landscape in long, low wisps
and settled in at a wooded edge.

Here within I was
(pleasantly surprised) to find
a sudden, simple clarity of mind,
cocooned in a butter-balm of calm
a world-away from the
intrusive
incessant
cacophany of clutter,
far from the voice
of white-noise news and views.

Unbound of ego and need,
unchained to doubt and fear,
I frolicked free amid the trees,
climbing, swinging,
dancing ’round arm-in-arm,
playing hide-and-go-seek and
sparring like sword-wielding warriors
with rampant abandon,
falling to the ground
hand-in-hand
in heaps of laughter and shouts!
Never shall I forget!

——–

A fog of cool, white
winter-wet clouds curled across
the landscape in long, low wisps
and settled in to free me.

by Jason Weaver, 2016

Original painting, Trees and Fog (2016) by Jason Weaver, (acrylic on canvas, 70×100 cm).  Dedicated to my dear friend Magaly Haasper. You showed me how to believe in myself, never shall I forget!

In Black and White

LoveMoreStudio11-22-2015

There is no solid ground
beneath my feet;
the plates shift
beneath me
and so I step to the next
nary a moment to rest.

Exhausted I am –or
am I?

Perhaps this feeling
is merely a relic of the old skin,
skin that I must slough off;
old consciousness, ego
pulling at me, weighing on me
like lead.

All of the old ways
of seeing this world
are so dichotymous,
so ‘this’ or ‘that’ so bold in
‘black’ or ‘white’ so that
I cannot help but see
how polarized, how
disparate our thinking
has been, how we’ve
chosen our sides and
made our opinions of
who and what was
wrong or right.

But all of these old ways
of being in this world —
they are no longer
beneficial, no longer
useful, no longer
relevant to us at all, and so
they must be
no longer.

I know nothing;
but the earth, it shifts
beneath my feet
and it is plain to see
that so too must I.

by Jason Weaver, 2015

O Rio Paquequer

O Rio Paquequer by Jason Weaver

O Rio Paquequer (2014) — original acrylic painting by Jason Weaver

Let us
drink
the clear stream
of wellsprung purity,
and breathe
with lungs of leaves
a conscious continuity;
Let us
lie down
in a rocky seam
an earthen process,
and be
this perpetual
moment of progress.

by Jason Weaver (2014)
Original painting by Jason Weaver, O Rio Paquequer (2014), acrylic on canvas, 70cm x 100cm.

The scene depicted in this painting is of the Paquequer River, the principal river in Teresópolis, Brazil, where it begins high in the forest of the Serra dos Órgãos mountains before flowing north. Working from a photo I had taken, I aimed to capture the timeless continuation of the river just downstream from the Cecy and Pery Waterfall, so named for two main characters in the Brazilian novel, O Guaraní , written in 1857 by José de Alencar.  The title is derived from the name of an indigenous indian tribe whose territorial region once included the surrounding area of Rio de Janeiro, including Teresópolis . The novel is a romantic adventure whose hero, Pery, a Guaraní indian, deserts his tribal family so that he may forever be with his blonde-haired, blue-eyed mistress, Cecília, or Cecy as he calls her. It was the majestic beauty of the river Paquequer that inspired Alencar to write his famous novel, and in turn inspired me as well; here, translated into English by James W. Hawes in 1893, are the opening words of O Guaraní:

FROM one of the summits of the Organ Mountains glides a small stream, which flows northerly, and enlarged by the springs which it receives in its course of ten leagues, becomes a considerable river. It is the Paquequer. Leaping from cascade to cascade, winding like a serpent, it dozes at last in the plain, and empties into the Parahyba, which rolls majestically in its vast bed. Vassal and tributary of that king of waters, the little river, haughty and overbearing to its rocks, bows humbly at the feet of its sovereign. It loses then its wild beauty; its waves are calm and peaceful as those of a lake […] It is not at this point that it should be seen, but three or four leagues above its mouth, where it is still free. There the Paquequer rushes rapidly over its bed, and traverses the forests foaming and filling the solitude with the noise of its career.

 

Luminous Flux

palm Jason Weaver LoveMore Studio

Photo by Jason Weaver, 2014

Somehow,  I’d worked my way
deep into the narrow cleft.
Pondering out into the darkness,
I mistook the empty for the profound,
obscurity for certainty.

But in the silence of this nothing,
I heard the respiring tones beyond.
Wandering out from the shadows,
I stretched open my palms to grasp
at conviction in sunlit spires.

By Jason Weaver, 2014