Sunday, May 16, 2010


One of the most beautiful things I've seen or read about in recent years is the ritual in which a medicine man or woman blows prayers into leaves - in South America for instance prayers might be blown into the leaf of the extremely sacred and powerful Coca. The closest practice I've come across is the way we blow kisses to each other, as a sort of airborne expression of affection. We bless each other with our breath.

In Levertov's poem "Passages" the wind is the breath of God:

Wind from the compass points, sun at meridian,
these are forms the spirit enters,
breath, ruach, light that is witness and by which we witness.

The grasses... numberless, bowing and rising, silently
cry hosanna as the spirit
moves them and moves burnishing

over and again upon mountain pastures
a day of spring, a needle's eye
space and time are passing through like a swathe of silk

In other literature wind becomes a symbol of human folly, the howling winds of emptiness and loneliness at the root of all human desperation and agony, the embodiment of an extreme longing that can never be met with material things or any sort of grasping. As if God prods the wretch until she realizes she too is as unlimited as the wind. Take heed, those who object to the non-Disney ending of Anderson's The Little Mermaid. If she doesn't get the prince, she gets to become space itself:
...But the daughters of the air, although they do not possess an immortal soul, can, by their good deeds, procure one for themselves. We fly to warm countries, and cool the sultry air that destroys mankind with the pestilence. We carry the perfume of the flowers to spread health and restoration.


Cotton Wool & Silk said...

Thank you Amirilla -- I'm borrowing some of those thoughts for my Pentecost sermon!

Cotton Wool & Silk said...

I mean, Amarilla :)

amarilla said...

I'd love to read that!