Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Carpe Diem #861 Sacred Stones (Ovoo)

[...] The girl says that the next time my mother passes that way she should tie a scrap of fabric and a prayer around the small tree growing there. [...] (The Zahir - Paulo Coelho)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We are in the Altai Mountains following the path of the shaman and today we are looking closer around us in our direct environment and as we do that we can see several natural altar like piles of stones in several countries and cultures we see that kind of "altars". Here in the Altai Mountains the Tuvan-people make those piles of sacred stones too, those piles are called "ovoo". Let me tell you a little bit more about these "ovoos". In a way the above quote from The Zahir tells us more about the Tengri spirituality as we see in the "ovoo".

An ovoo (heap) is a sacred cairn found in Mongolian shamanic religious traditions, usually made from rocks with wood or from wood. Ovoos are often found at the top of mountains and in high places, like mountain passes. They serve mainly as Tengriism religious sites, used in worship of the mountains and the sky as well as in Buddhist or Shamanist ceremonies, but often are also landmarks. Almost all researchers say that originally all ovoo were made from holy woods, and to this day they must include wood elements inside of them.

Credits: Ovoo (Sacred Stones)
When travelling, it is custom to stop and circle an ovoo three times in clockwise direction, in order to have a safer journey. Usually, rocks are picked up from the ground and added to the pile. Also, one may leave offerings in the form of sweets, money, milk, or vodka. If one is in a hurry while travelling and does not have time to stop at an ovoo, honking of the horn while passing by the ovoo will suffice.

Ovoos are also used in mountain- and sky-worshipping ceremonies that typically take place at the end of summer. Worshippers place a tree branch or stick in the ovoo and tie a blue khadag, a ceremonial silk scarf symbolic of the open sky and the sky spirit Tengger, or Tengri, to the branch. They then light a fire and make food offerings, followed by a ceremonial dance and prayers (worshippers sitting at the northwest side of the ovoo), and a feast with the food left over from the offering. (Source: Wikipedia)

three times around
the ovoo blesses my journey -
cry of an eagle

© Chèvrefeuille

I like this idea of the ovoo ... it makes you humble and with following the rules of the ovoo you honor nature, the spirits of the steppes ... be safe on your journey ...

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 21st at noon (CET). I will try to publish our next episode, vistas, later on. For now ... be inspired and share your haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form with us all.