Thursday, January 23, 2014

Carpe Diem #381, Birobidzhan

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We are almost 1000 km from Vladivostok as we enter the Railroad Station of Birobidzhan, a town in the Jewish Oblast of the (former) Soviet Union. It is here were Stalin once gave the Jewish people their own place to live in. It's not a very big town (a population about 78,000 people) and in this city you can see it's Jewish influences. For example the main square of Birobidzhan is dominated by a giant menorah.

Source: wikipedia

An awesome sight with those foutains around it. A 'celebration' of the Jewish culture. What a joy to see and read that Stalin once gave them their own place where they can feel free and in 'spiritual' touch with their homeland Israel.

As we read on in "Aleph" we read that Paulo and Yao are visiting a Shaman who can talk with the wife of Yao, who past away several years ago, and by whom Yao was in an earlier stage of his life. Hilal has asked if she could go with them, but the tradition of the shamans doesn't allow women at their rituals so Hilal has to stay alone accompanioned by a few other women. Yao says to her: 'You cannot go with us, but stay here on the shore of the lake. You will be part of the ritual ... just open your mind and you will feel if you were really there'. Hilal accepts that she cannot go and stays on the shore. Yao and Paulo are entering a boat which will bring them to an island, not even an island, but just a rock were the shaman will perform his "Eagle of the Baikal" ritual.
As they arrive at the rock they climb up to the top of the rock just in time to catch a last glimpse of red sky on the horizon. As Paulo looks around he only sees a few bare trees. On one of the bare trees, hanging from a bare branch he sees the remains of a carcass hanging. Paulo has a lot of respect for the wisdom of the shaman, but thinks he will not be shown new things.
I will tell you more about this ritual in our next post, which by the way will be published tomorrow around 10.00 AM (CET) I hope. My excuses for the delay of this new post.

flight of the eagle
stepping into the world of dreams -
a silent cry

(c) Chèvrefeuille


This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will stay open until January 25th 11.59 AM (CET). I will post tomorrow (24th) our new episode in which we will continue to follow the Shaman and our route straight through the Soviet Union.


  1. Very interesting post, Chèvrefeuille, and frankly a magnificent haiku.

  2. Ah love the progression of this.. wrote my haibun in advance today and focused on other aspects of the trip...

    Your haiku is a classic masterpiece.

  3. Yes, definitely a magnificient haiku. Hope everything is ok with you, Kris! Take care.