Monday, November 30, 2015

Carpe Diem #869 Tavn Bogd

[...] "We started climbing one of the dunes, and as we proceeded the noise grew more intense and the wind stronger. When we reached the top, we could see the mountains standing out clearly to the south and the gigantic plain stretching out all around us." [...] (The Zahir - Paulo Coelho)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's with sadness and pain in my heart that I am writing the last episode of CDHK for November. 2015 Runs to an end and next month we will go on "the Narrow Road to the Deep North" following in the footsteps of Matsuo Basho. I am looking forward to that wonderful journey.

But first ... Tavn Bogd (or the Five Mountains or Five Saints) five snow-capped mountains who are sacred in the Altai .. vistas are gorgeous here and the snow-capped peaks are mirrored in the pools and lakes around them. Must be a real holy experience to sit there taking in the view and the power of the mountains. Listen to the wind over the steppes, listen to the sweet sound of the grasses waving, listen to the birds ... listen to the eagle, king of the skies, and Messenger of the gods.

Credits: Tavn Bogd (Five Mountains)

The Tavn Bogd (lit. "five saints") is a mountain massif in Mongolia, on the border with China and Russia. Its highest peak, the Khüiten Peak (formerly also known as Nairmadal Peak) is the highest point of Mongolia at 4374 meters above sea level. The Tavn Bogd massif is located mostly within the Bayan-Olgii Province of Mongolia; its northern slopes are in Russia's Altai Republic, and western, in China's Burqin County.
Besides the Khüiten Peak, the Tavn Bogd massif includes four other peaks: Nairamdal, Malchin, Bürged (eagle) and Olgii (motherland). 
To inspire you a little bit more I have found a nice video on You Tube about Tavn Bogd:
Wow ... what a beautiful place ... really a holy place where you can feel the spirit of the Altai Mountains ... must be awesome to walk there and experience the magnificent nature of Mongolia .. the land of shamanism and Tengrism ... I can hear the drums of the shaman to reach his/her trance to be a mediator between the spirit wortld and us.

resonating drums
the five saints ... impressive beauty
spirit world opens

© Chèvrefeuille

Hm ... not a very strong one, but I like the feeling of it ... it's a (real) shaman haiku I think ...

PS. I have published our new prompt-list for December 2015

This episode (a little later than I had planned) is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until December 3rd at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, our first of December, later on.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Carpe Diem Special #184 Ese's fifth "still beautiful"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It is with sadness in my heart that I welcome you at our last CD Special of November in which I shared haiku from a wonderful and very gifted haiku poetess ... Ese of Ese's Voice. She has written a lot of beauties and for this last CD special of November I hope I did make the right choice.

Back in January 2015 we had a pre-Basho haiku poet as our featured haiku poet, Iio Sogi(1421-1502). I shared the following haiku by Sogi as the last featured haiku for January 2015 and this haiku was an inspiration for a lot of our family members and also for Ese.

This was the haiku which I shared:

Now that they end
There is no flower that can compare
With cherry blossoms

© Iio Sogi (1421-1502)

A beauty ... I think and this was my response on this beauty by Sogi:

Ah! those cherry blossoms
everywhere I look their beauty amazes me again -
finally spring is here

© Chèvrefeuille

I remember that I wasn't really impressed by my own haiku inspired on Sogi’s, but the one by Ese was really a beauty, she even came up with two haiku inspired on the one by Sogi. In her first response on Sogi’s haiku I sense his tone and spirit, and in her second response it was very clear to me that it was a real wonderful haiku in the spirit of Ese.

Cherry Blossom (photo © Chèvrefeuille)

Let us first look at the haiku she wrote in Sogi’s spirit:

first cherry blossoms
despite the bites of morning frost
still beautiful

© Ese

Read and re-read Ese’s haiku, read it aloud and you will sense, feel the spirit of Sogi ... did you try it? Have I said to much?

And here is her second, in which I really can feel Ese’s spirit ... try to read and re-read it saying it aloud and I know for sure that you can feel Ese’s spirit ... she is really a gifted haiku poetess and I hope to read a lot more beauties composed by her.

left behind
in the frozen pond
white feather

© Ese

I hope you all did like the CD-Specials of this month and I hope I did make the right choices from her oeuvre of haiku ...

Well ... you know the drill .... try to compose an all new haiku inspired on the haiku by Ese trying to touch her spirit ...

a shimmer
between colorful leaves
white pebble

© Chèvrefeuille

dark forest
a full moon walk -
Nightingale's song

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope that you all are inspired to come up with an all new haiku (or two) in the spirit of Ese.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until December 1st at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, 
Tavn Bogd (Five Mountains), later on.

I also hope to publish our new prompt-list for December in which we will follow Basho again on his journey into the deep north. We will see where he has been and we will read ALL the haiku from his famous haibun "narrow road into the deep north". I am looking forward to it ... and I hope you all will do the same.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Carpe Diem #868 Stag Beetle / Flying Deer

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First this ... as I was preparing the prompt-list for this month I thought that this episode, stag beetle, was the right choice, but after almost three weeks I discovered that the prompt had to be "flying deer", because that's what was meant. So in this episode, it's all about a "flying deer" and not about the (insect) stag beetle.

I love to tell you about a kind of "astral journey" I made while I was preparing November's prompt-list. It felt like I was really there, so it was a wonderful spiritual journey through the land of the Tuvan (people) and the Altai Mountains. I hope I can find the right English words to tell you this story.

[...] "Three days, two canyons and crossing several rivers later my companions and I arrive at the sacred Shevet Uul valley, where the prehistoric humans left signs and carvings behind on the rocks. As I walk on I smell the sweet perfume of thyme. A hare jumps away. There ... I see the first horseman. carved, with a lasso in his hand. A little further I see a primitive image of an Ibex, a kind of mountain goat with long horns, carved in the rocks. Solidified life, everywhere I look. Horsemen and galloping horses, Ibexes, a wild boar and magnificent magical creatures. Than ... my heart misses a heart beat. In front of me tumble a lot of little creatures, monkey like, in a dark universe of solidified magma. I forget to breath ... I see a huge flying deer with antlers of spiraling curls and legs elegantly floating through the skies. This magnificent animal escaping from two reaching hands, is three thousand years ago made by humans from the Bronze Age. The half open mouth is from a goose, symbol of the soul; its flight is pointing to the universe, maybe its a symbol of the transformation of the soul that rises to Heaven after dead.
I visit a Tuvan family and the grandfather of this family tells me about the "magical monkey" who is the creator of all carvings on the rocks in the Shevet Uul valley. No human could have done that, only this mythological creature. And the "flying deer" is one of the deities who are pointing us the way, teach us the way to let go and accept life as it is." [...]

Credits: Flying Deer (petroglyph Altai Mountains, Shevet Uul)

It was an uplifting "astral journey" and it opened my eyes to look to my world from another perspective ... a perspective of unconditional love, love for all and everything ... The "flying deer" is always there just around the corner of my mind and he shows up on moments of sadness, but also on moments of great joy ... and every time again it helps me to remember that I have to take life as it comes.

flying deer
points towards the after-life
true acceptation

© Chèvrefeuille

cry of an eagle
reaches the ears of the flying deer
listen to nature

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode was a joy to create, but it wasn't easy ... NOW OPEN for your submissions and it will remain open until November 30th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, our last CD Special by Ese, our featured haiku poetess, later on.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Carpe Diem #867 Tuvan People

Dear Haijin,visitors and travelers,

The Tuvans or Tuvinians (Tuvan: Tyvalar) are a Turkic ethnic group living in southern Siberia. They are historically known as one of the Uriankhai, from the Mongolian designation. The Tuvans' recent ethnic history is rooted in Mongol, Turkic, and Samoyedic groups of peoples.
Tuvans have historically been cattle-herding nomads, tending to their herds of goats, sheep, camels, reindeer, cattle and yaks for the past thousands of years. They have traditionally lived in yurts covered by felt or chums covered with birch bark or hide that they relocate seasonally as they move to newer pastures. Traditionally, the Tuvans were divided into nine regions called khoshuun, namely the Tozhu, Salchak, Oyunnar, Khemchik, Khaasuut, Shalyk, Nibazy, Daavan & Choodu, and Beezi. The first four were ruled by Uriankhai Mongol princes, while the rest were administered by Borjigin Mongol princes.


There doesn't seem to exist a clear ethnic delineation for the application of the name Uriankhai. Mongols applied this name to all tribes of Forest People. This name has historically been applied to Tuvans. In Mongolia there are peoples also known by this name. A variation of the name, Uraŋxai, was an old name for the Sakha. Russian Pavel Nebol'sin documented the Urankhu clan of Volga Kalmyks in the 1850s. Another variant of the name, Orangkae , was traditionally used by the Koreans to refer indiscriminately to "barbarians" that inhabited the lands to their north.

Credits: Tuvan on a horse

They are two groups under the name Uriankhai: Mongol Uriankhai, Uriankhai (Tuva) of mixed Mongol-Turkic origin. All clans of the Mongol Uriankhai are Mongol, and Tuva Uriankhais have both Mongol and Turkic clans. In the beginning of the Mongol Empire (1206-1368), the Mongol Uriankhai (Burkhan Khaldun Uriankhai) were located in central Mongolia but in the mid-14th century they lived in Liaoyang province of modern China. In 1375, Naghachu, Uriankhai leader of the Mongolia-based Northern Yuan dynasty in Liaoyang province invaded Liaodong with aims of restoring the Mongols to power. Although he continued to hold southern Manchuria, Naghachu finally surrendered to the Ming dynasty in 1387–88 after a successful diplomacy of the latter. After the rebellion of the northern Uriankhai people, they were conquered by Dayan Khan in 1538 and mostly annexed by the northern Khalkha. Batmunkh Dayan Khan dissolved Uriankhai tumen and moved them to Altai Mountains and Khalkha land.

Credits: Tuvan throat singer (in Paris)

Tuvan throat singing, Khoomei, Hooliin Chor (in Mongolian, ‘throat harmony’), or Mongolian throat singing is one particular variant of overtone singing practiced by people in Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, Tuva and Siberia.
In Mongolian throat singing, the performer produces a fundamental pitch and—simultaneously—one or more pitches over that. The history of Mongolian throat singing reaches far back. Many male herders can throat sing, but women are beginning to practice the technique as well. The popularity of throat singing among Mongolian seems to have arisen as a result of geographic location and culture. The open landscape of Mongolia allows for the sounds to carry a great distance. Ethnomusicologists studying throat singing in these areas mark khoomei as an integral part in the ancient pastoral animism that is still practiced today. Often, singers travel far into the countryside looking for the right river, or go up to the steppes of the mountainside to create the proper environment for throat-singing.
The animistic world view of this region identifies the spirituality of objects in nature, not just in their shape or location, but in their sound as well. Thus, human mimicry of nature's sounds is seen as the root of throat singing. An example of this is the Mongolian story of the waterfall above the Buyan Gol (Deer River), where mysterious harmonic sounds are said to have attracted deer to bask in the waters, and where it is said harmonic sounds were first revealed to people. Indeed, the cultures in this part of Asia have developed many instruments and techniques to mimic the sounds of animals, wind, and water. While the cultures of this region share throat singing, their styles vary in breadth of development.
Credits: Tuvan shaman

Mongolian shamanism, more broadly called the Mongolian folk religion, or occasionally Tengerism refers to the animistic and shamanic ethnic religion that has been practiced in Mongolia and its surrounding areas (including Buryatia and Inner Mongolia) at least since the age of recorded history. In the earliest known stages it was intricately tied to all other aspects of social life and to the tribal organization of Mongolian society. Along the way, it has become influenced by and mingled with Buddhism. During the socialist years of the twentieth century it was heavily repressed and has since made a comeback.
Yellow shamanism is the term used to designate the particular version of Mongolian shamanism which adopts the expressive style of Buddhism. "Yellow" indicates Buddhism in Mongolia, since most Buddhists there belong to what is called the Gelug or "Yellow sect" of Tibetan Buddhism, whose members wear yellow hats during services. The term also serves to distinguish it from a form of shamanism not influenced by Buddhism (according to its adherents), called black shamanism.
Mongolian shamanism is centered on the worship of the tngri (gods) and the highest Tenger (Heaven, God of Heaven, God) or Qormusta Tengri. In the Mongolian folk religion, Genghis Khan is considered one of the embodiments, if not the main embodiment, of the Tenger. The Mausoleum of Genghis Khan in Ordos City, in Inner Mongolia, is an important center of this worship tradition.
A lot of information about the Tuvan people, I have tried to bring the most important facts together in this episode of our Kai. (Sources: Wikipedia)

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 29th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, stag beetle, later on.

Carpe Diem #866 Shevet Uul (or the valley of Shiveet Khairhan Mountain)

[...] "We started climbing one of the dunes, and as we proceeded the noise grew more intense and the wind stronger. When we reached the top, we could see the mountains standing out clearly to the south and the gigantic plain stretching out all around us."[...] (The Zahir - Paulo Coelho)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First I have to apologize for being this late with this episode, Shevet Uul). I had read about this sacred place in Mongolian Altai Mountains, but couldn't find enough to write a episode about it, so it took some more research. I discovered that "Shevet Uul" is the valley of Shiveet Khairhan Mountain and that it is a very sacred place for the Tuvan people. Shirveet Khairhan means "holy carved mountain" and it points towards a very large amount of petroglyphs which can be found on this mountain. Those petroglyphs are telling the creation of the Altai Mountains region and its religious meaning for the Tuvan.

The above quote from The Zahir by Paulo Coelho could be scened on this very mountain, because in The Zahir the head character becomes a new name ... following the Tuvan way of religion.

Credits: One of the carvings on Shiveet Khairhan Mountain

Awesome I think ... there are several other carvings in which you can see how the Tuvan thought their world was created.
This kind of petroglyph we see everywhere around the world ... they are carved or "painted" by our faraway ancestors to tell us their story. Petroglyphs are the predecessor of written words as we know them.

carvings from the past
telling the story of our ancestors
without words

© Chèvrefeuille

Not as strong as I had hoped, but I think this haiku says it all ...

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 29th at noon (CET). I hope to publish our next episode, Tuvan people, later on today.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Carpe Diem Haiku Writing Techniques #20 Paradox

“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” -  Plato, The Republic

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Why this quote by Plato to start this new episode of Carpe Diem Haiku Writing Techniques with? Well ... as we look at that quote we immediately see the paradox in this and I think what Plato says is true for every one. We are all intelligent people, we  are all wise, but ... we know nothing. That's sounds more negative then I meant it to be, because I think we are wise people, but we learn new things every day again.

The HWT of this episode is paradox. As I was preparing this episode I remembered something I have written earlier here at our Haiku Kai. I don't really remember when it was, but I remember it was something I wrote about the paradox in haiku.

[...] "Paradox is the life of haiku, for in each verse some particular thing is seen, and at the same time, without loss of its individuality and separateness, its distinctive difference from all other things, it is seen as a no-thing, as all things, as an all-thing." [...] (Chèvrefeuille)

As you all know I create these episode of Haiku Writing Techniques in cooperation with Jane Reichhold, she not only is a great haiku poetess, but she also has become a close friend of mine (and Carpe Diem Haiku Kai). So let us take a look at what Jane tells us about paradox:

One of the aims of haiku is to confuse the reader just enough to attract interest. Using a paradox will engage interest and give the reader something to ponder after the last word. Again, one cannot use nonsense but has to construct a true, connected-to-reality paradox. It is not easy to come up with new ones or good ones, but when it happens, one should not be afraid of using it in a haiku.

Here is an example by Jane herself:

waiting room
a patch of sunlight
wears out the chairs

© Jane Reichhold

And here is an example written by Basho in which he uses paradox:

black forest
whatever you may say
a morning of snow

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Let us explore "paradox" a little bit further.  Søren Kierkegaard, writes the following about paradox, in the Philosophical Fragments:

[...] "...that one must not think ill of the paradox, for the paradox is the passion of thought, and the thinker without the paradox is like the lover without passion: a mediocre fellow. But the ultimate potentiation of every passion is always to will its own downfall, and so it is also the ultimate passion of the understanding to will the collision, although in one way or another the collision must become its downfall. This, then, is the ultimate paradox of thought: to want to discover something that thought itself cannot think." [...] (Source: Wikipedia)

And what do you think of the paradox in a great painting by one of my favorite Dutch painters, M.C. Escher. Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) is one of the world's most famous graphic artists. His art is enjoyed by millions of people all over the world, as can be seen on the many web sites on the Internet. One of his most beautiful paintings (in my opinion) is titled "Paradox".

Escher's "paradox"
I thinks this HWT challenges us and ... it will make us wiser ...

reaching for the sun
tulips bursting through the earth -
colorful rainbow

© Chèvrefeuille

Another one, more artificial:

different images
seen through readers eyes
haiku paradox

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 27th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, Sheved Uul-valley, later on. For now ... be inspired and share your haiku using this HWT with us all.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Carpe Diem #865 torn apart book (reading nature)

[...] "A sense of paradise descends from the skies. And I am aware that I am living through an unforgettable moment in my life; it is the kind of awareness we often have precisely when the magic moment has passed. I am entirely here, without past, without future, entirely focused on the morning, on the music of the horses’ hooves, on the gentleness of the wind caressing my body, on the unexpected grace of contemplating sky, earth, men. I feel a sense of adoration and ecstasy. I am thankful for being alive. I pray quietly, listening to the voice of nature, and understanding that the invisible world always manifests itself in the visible world." [...] (The Zahir - Paulo Coelho)

[...] “What is Tengri?” “The word means ‘sky worship’; it’s a kind of religion without religion. Everyone has passed through here—Buddhists, Hindus, Catholics, Muslims, different sects with their beliefs and superstitions. The nomads became converts to avoid being killed, but they continued and continue to profess the idea that the Divinity is everywhere all the time. You can’t take the Divinity out of nature and put it in a book or between four walls. I have felt so much better since coming back to the steppes, as if I had been in real need of nourishment. Thank you for letting me come with you.” [...] (The Zahir - Paulo Coelho)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What a joy ... this month we are exploring the Altai Mountains and their spiritual meaning. In this last week of this month we will even come closer to that spirit. As you have read in the above quotes from The Zahir by Paulo Coelho it's all about reading nature this day. 

Credits: Reading Nature (the Altai Mountains)

I remember an article which I read about a woman exploring the region of the Altai Mountains. She had a Mongolian guide who never used a map or travel-book ... he could read his path, the weather coming and so on ... just by reading nature. Reading nature is one of the most important pillars of what is called Tengrism or 'sky worship’. 
That's truly being one with nature ... to have the ability to read nature's signs. Those signs are all around us. In plain simple words I can say: As I see the buds of the cherry grow ... than I know that spring is coming. Or ... as I see the changing colors of leaves at the end of summer I know that autumn is coming.
Isn't that beautiful? Let me look at our beloved haiku ... what do I see? I see kigo (seasonwords) who are pointing to the season in which the haiku was written ... through those kigo we can read nature ... that makes the haiku not only a Japanese poetry form, but also a poetry form of the Altai Mountains, haiku is part of Tengrism ... look around you .... see the signs of nature and read them ... just read them.

yellow meadow
starts to become green again
spring is coming

© Chèvrefeuille

Awesome ... reading nature is really a spiritual experience ...

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 26th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, another Haiku Writing Technique, later on. For now ... have fun!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Carpe Diem Special #183 Ese's fourth "inevitable"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today I love to share another wonderful haiku composed/created by our featured haiku poetess Ese of Ese's Voice. She won our "peace of mind" kukai and next to an e-book which we will create next year, she won the "honor" (if I may say so) to be our featured haiku poetess for November.

Ese, just recently, "closed" her wordpress weblog "Ese's Voice", because of personal reasons. The haiku for today is distilled from her last post on the WP weblog and I love to share, a wonderful poem, or just wonderful words she also shared at "Ese's Voice" hidden behind the title "the danger of being me". In this poem she describes who she is and what her ideas and dreams are.


that every journey begins with a single step, laughter really is contagious and family isn't a word but a sentence;
that there are no better antiques than old friends;
in a difficult climb to earn the view from the top of the mountain;
that when I am good I am very good, but somehow I seem to be better when I am bad;
in „The God Of Small Things”, „The Kite Runner” , „My Poor Marat” and „The Prophet” as much as I believe in „The Little Prince”;
in coffee, green tea, caramel ice-cream and crème brûlée;
in Indian summer, winter twilight and pouring rain;
that rugby is like war – easy to start, difficult to stop and impossible to forget;
in music of different forms, colors, tongues and rhythms;
that it takes two to tango…

I am a Believer.

I think our days would be more meaningful if everyone believed in something. Either yourself, a flight to the Moon or simply tomorrow. Viva La Vida!

Such wonderful words, such a wonderful poem ... that's who Ese is ... a Believer ...

After closing her WP weblog she started a new weblog on Tumblr (also called "Ese's Voice") and that's the place where she often posts new haiku or re-blogs haiku from other wonderful haiku poets.

Credits: snow red leaves

Okay ... back to the haiku for this episode of CD-Special ... "inevitable" is (in my opinion) a very strong haiku with a very true deeper meaning ... everything in our life is inevitable ... as it is in nature. Here is Ese's haiku for your inspiration:

the dance of a falling leaf
with a snowflake

© Ese

Isn't it a beauty? Strong in its choice of words, the balance of the seasons following each other inevitable ...

The goal of this CD-Special is to create/compose an all new haiku inspired on the given haiku trying to touch the sense, tone and spirit of the haiku poet(ess). So here is my attempt to write a haiku inspired on this beauty by Ese.

fresh fallen snow
sprinkled with the colors of autumn

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... I hope you did like this CD-Special and that it will inspire you to write an all new haiku.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until November 25th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, torn apart book (reading nature), later on. For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all here at our Haiku Kai.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Carpe Diem #864 Juniper

[...] As empty as the steppes: I understood now why Esther had decided to come here. It was precisely because everything was empty that the wind brought with it new things, noises I had never heard, people with whom I had never spoken. I recovered my old enthusiasm, because I had freed myself from my personal history; I had destroyed the acomodador and discovered that I was a man capable of blessing others, just as the nomads and shamans of the steppes blessed their fellows. I had discovered that I was much better and much more capable than I myself had thought; age only slows down those who never had the courage to walk at their own pace. [...] (fragment: The Zahir - Paulo Coelho)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I can not remember why I have chosen this prompt for today, juniper. I think it's because of the fruits which are used to make strong sake-like wine or gin, but there is something else with juniper ... it has magical powers according to the shamans of the Altai Mountains.

For countless generations, Altai people herded their livestock across what is now known as the Golden Mountains of Altai UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, in Russia’s southern Siberia. They endured many obstacles–from Mongol hordes to Soviet oppression.  Today, they face the new challenge–climate change. Torrential downpours, freezing and thawing splinter the rock and destroy petroglyphs, the millennia-old repository of Altai people’s culture. Permafrost that preserved the remains of Altai ancestors in burial grounds for thousands of years is melting. And unpredictable snowstorms, winter rains, thawing and freezing, decimate herds of sheep and horses on which Altai people still rely heavily.
Local shamans are convinced that only through restoring their reverential relationship with the sacred and spiritual realms can Altai people and the rest of the world restore the balance of the Earth and its climate.
Credits: Shaman and Healer Maria (photo © Gleb Raygorodetsky - NGC)

One of those local shamans is Maria Amanchina, a traditional Altai shaman and healer, she lights a pipe as she sends her prayers with the smoke to the Sky, the Land, and the Spirit of Altai. The “tobacco” in her pipe are needles of the juniper. It is said that the smoke of juniper can clear peoples minds from evil and can restore the health of Mother Nature.

This is closer to Tengrism and shamanism than we were earlier in this month ... we are now entering the last phase of our journey ... the spiritual path of the shaman ...

holy smoke rises
blesses the steppes - the wind
spirit of Altai

© Chèvrefeuille

behind clouds
the cry of an eagle -
holy smokes rises

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 24th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, another beautiful haiku by our featured haiku poetess Ese, later on.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Carpe Diem #863 Black Lake (Khar Us)

[...] “We drive through Almaty, stopping only to fill the tank with gas and buy some food, then we drive on in the direction of a tiny village near an artificial lake constructed by the Soviet regime. I find out where the nomad is staying, but despite telling one of his assistants that I know the man’s grandson, we still have to wait many hours, for there is a large crowd wanting the advice of this man they consider to be a saint.“ [...] (fragment from The Zahir by Paulo Coelho) 
Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today I have another nice prompt for your inspiration, Black Lake (Khar Us), but I haven't a lot to tell about this lake.

Khar Lake ("black lake") is located in the Khovd aimag (province) in western Mongolia's Great Lakes Depression. It is part of a group of lakes that were once part of a larger prehistoric lake that disappeared 5,000 years ago as the region became drier. 
Credits: Black Lake (Mongolia)

It's a wonderful lake that's for sure as you can see at the image above. A friend of mine visited this lake once and told me that it was the most beautiful, spiritual, mystical and mysterious experience he had ever had. As I look at the above image I can only say ... "this is a place where I once will be to meditate and be in close contact with nature and the spirits of the steppes".

For this episode I have another approach ... maybe you can remember our special feature "Carpe Diem Distillation", in which you had to "distil" a haiku from a longer poem. And for this episode I have a nice poem by a Mongolian poet, L. Olziitogs.

Looking at mountains, I feel I am a mountain.
Looking at mist and haze, I feel I am a cloud.
After the rain has fallen, I feel that I am grass, and
When sparrows start to sing, I remember I am morning.

       I am not a human, that’s for sure.
When stars flare up, I feel I am the darkness
When girls shed their clothes, I remember I am spring
When I smell the desire of everybody in this world,
I realize how my quiet heart is a fish’s.
       I am not a human, that’s for sure.
Under the colorful sky, an immense EMPTINESS
Starting from today I am only…
Black Lake (Mongolia)
Sorry that I am late with publishing, but you can now submit your haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form inspired on this episode until November 23rd at noon (CET). I will try to publish our next episode, Juniper, later on.



Thursday, November 19, 2015

Carpe Diem #862 Vistas

[...] “I left Antioch with about two hundred dollars in my pocket,” said the Dutchman, having described mountains, landscapes, exotic tribes, and endless problems in various countries with police patrols. “I needed to find out if I was capable of becoming myself again. Do you know what I mean?” [...] (The Zahir - Paulo Coelho)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today we have a rather strange prompt, vistas (or panoramic views), this prompt isn't specific for the Altai Mountains, but I think vistas must be awesome in these mountains so I decided to use it. To illustrate this idea I quoted from The Zahir above. In that quote a Dutchman tells his story and the main idea of that quote is "becoming myself again". I think that's what the vistas of the Altai Mountains can do. Those vistas are magnificent and beautiful and it gives you the feeling to be truly in contact with nature ... and that's what the shaman is "completely in balance and one with nature".
This "oneness" is also strong in Buddhism, one of the pilars on which haiku has been build.

For this episode of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai I love to challenge you to write an all new haiku inspired on a few images of vistas of the Altai Mountains and try to bring that "complete balance with nature, being one with nature" into your haiku.

Here are the images for your inspiration:
Credits: Altai Mountains

Credits: Vistas Altai Mountains

Credits: The Eagle ... one holy king of the sky

All beautiful vistas I think and these images inspired me to write the following haiku:

deep blue sky
an eagle cries ... drum of a shaman
spirits alive

© Chèvrefeuille

eyes wide open
in silent adoration of the mountains
heart lost forever

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions, and will remain open until November 22nd at noon (CET). I will try to publish our next episode, Black Lake, later on. For now ... have fun!

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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Carpe Diem Haiku Writing Techniques #19 as is above; as below

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Though it seems to be using a religious precept, this technique is only working to make the tiny haiku a well-rounded thought. Maybe you can remember our series about the Tarot, or more specific, the Great Arcana of the Tarot, in which I tried to bring back the Christian meaning of the Tarot. In that series I frequently used the precept "as is above, so is below" in a religious way. This episode of CDHWT takes you to the "as is above, as below" (a very explicit religious proverb) in haiku. So let's go on with this episode.

Simply said: "the first line and the third line exhibit a connectedness or a completeness". Some say one should be able to read the first line and the third line to find it makes a complete thought. Sometimes one does not know in which order to place the images in a haiku. When the images in the first and third lines have the strongest relationship, the haiku usually feels balanced. As an exercise, take any haiku and switch the lines around to see how this factor works. Try reading the following haiku without the second line. See how "straight down" applies both to the rain and the horse's head:

the horse's head bowed
straight down

© Jane Reichhold

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

Or take this haiku by Basho and switch the lines around to see how this works, or try reading this haiku without the second line:

snow on snow
this night in December
a full moon 

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Let me also "explain" the situation in which Basho composed this haiku and literally uses this technique in a "real" situation.

Basho was staying with the rice merchant Tokoku in Nagoya, two members of the renga group had a grave difference of opinion. Basho, as acknowledged leader, was in charge of easing the tension. The message seems to be that radiance is everywhere. In my opinion a "real" case of "as is above; as below".

In a way this "as is above; as below" technique is similar with Baransu, of course with a slight difference, in which we try to bring "balance" in our haiku. Isn't that an awesome idea!?

Credits: Buddha with mirrored moon

I like this haiku writing technique and I had to use it ... just to see if it works. It wasn't easy, but I think I succeeded in a nice way.

steel blue night
the old pond ripples in the breeze
mirrored full moon

© Chèvrefeuille

colored leaves
struggling with the wind
dance through the street

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... this is another nice way to improve your haiku. This "as is above; as below" technique is awesome, but it's not an easy technique to use. Have fun ... !

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 20th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, sacred stone (ovo), later on.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Carpe Diem Special #182 Ese's third "in the darkest hour "

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I am a happy guy, because my PC is brought to life and so I can do what I love to do ... writing posts about haiku ... to inspire you all.

Today I have another wonderful haiku created by Ese of Ese's Voice for you.which she wrote in response on the haiku by another featured haiku poetess here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, Kala Ramesh. Kala Ramesh was our featured haiku poetess in this year's April.

Ese wrote the following haiku in response on this haiku by Kala:

morning prayers
the rising sun between
my hands

© Kala Ramesh

I remember that it was one of the first haiku which I read written by this beautiful Indian haiku poetess and I was immediately in love with her work as many of you I think.

the sun between my hands
Ah ... looking back and re-read post from our rich CDHK history is really a joy and this one is very special ...

Ese wrote the following haiku inspired on the one by Kala ... and I think she did a great job ... what a beautiful haiku this is:

in the darkest hour
wishing upon the morning star
just like years ago

© Ese of Ese’s Voice

This haiku is a real beauty ... you can feel the strong emotions hidden deep below the surface of this haiku, maybe Ese wrote this as a kind of tribute to someone she dearly loved or missed. But there is also a feeling of hope and new beginnings in this one ... One can feel the sadness, tears and the pain of loosing. At the other hand ... one can feel the strength ... the power to rise again like a phoenix starting to enjoy life again. As I read and re-read this haiku ... tears roll over my cheeks ... I am really touched by this haiku ... it brings sweet memories back to loved ones I lost during my life ... I can almost feel the presence of my brother who died more than 20 years ago ... he was 35 yrs as he passed away. He was my older brother and I had a hard time as I became 36 ... the age he never has reached.

the moon is rising
silvery waves resonate
in tune with my heart

© Chèvrefeuille

in deep prayer
eyes closed in devotion -
Lotus starts to bloom

© Chèvrefeuille

Two beauties found in my archives ... and here a new one inspired on this beautiful haiku by Ese.

prayers rise
on the wings of an eagle
reaching for God

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope this episode will inspire you to compose, create, write an all new haiku (or tanka). This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 19th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, a new Carpe Diem Haiku Writing Techniques, later on. For now ... have fun!

Carpe Diem #860 Cosmic Order

"Living with nature is giving yourself totally to the Cosmic Order" - Chèvrefeuille

“I was in touch with the energy of the universe,” he replied. “God passed through my soul.” - quote from The Zahir by Paulo Coelho

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First I love to thank Hamish Manaqua Gunn (a.k.a. Pirate) for being our guest-host this weekend. His posts were wonderful. I was surprized with his "shaman-haiku" post ... what a great idea to "create" a new haiku genre especially to give words to the ideas and spirituality of the shaman. The "shaman-haiku" fits this month's theme like a glove. Thank you Hamish, my friend.

After those wonderful posts of Hamish it will not be easy for me to create our new episodes, but ... well ... my style of writing the posts is different from the style of Hamish and that makes the beauty of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, a loving family of haiku poets.

We are on "the path with the shaman" while we are on a journey through the wonderful Altai Mountains. During our journey we are accompanied by Paulo Coelho as we are reading one of his most wonderful novels, The Zahir.

Today our prompt is Cosmic Order and that's what the people living in and around the Altai Mountains are following in their daily life. They live totally with nature and are one with the Cosmos. As I am saying in the above quote ... I too am living with nature following the Cosmis Order. How could I live in another way as a haiku poet? As a haiku poet, writing the poetry of nature (as is haiku called often) we are one with nature and part of the Cosmos (or the Universe).
Haiku IS the Cosmos I dare to say, because haiku is not only a beautiful poem, it's a way of living. As a haiku poet you have to live haiku. We are, as humans, all part of nature. We are not above nature, we are nature and therefore we have to take care for nature. Nature is the source of our poetry.

The people in the region of the Altai Mountains are nature. They are living with, by and through nature. And that we can see in their daily life. They listen to the wind, to the rain, to the snow, to the hail, to the sun, the gurgling streams ... they listen to the cry of the eagle, because for them the Eagle is holy and a Messenger of the Gods and they have to follow it.

[...] "I believe in signs. After I had walked the road to Santiago, everything had changed completely: what we need to learn is always there before us, we just have to look around us with respect and attention in order to discover where God is leading us and which step we should take next. I also learned a respect for mystery. As Einstein said, God does not play dice with the universe; everything is interconnected and has a meaning. That meaning may remain hidden nearly all the time, but we always know we are close to our true mission on earth when what we are doing is touched with the energy of enthusiasm." [...] (The Zahir - Paulo Coelho)
[...] "All men and all women are connected by an energy which many people call love, but which is, in fact, the raw material from which the universe was built. This energy cannot be manipulated, it leads us gently forward, it contains all we have to learn in this life. If we try to make it go in the direction we want, we end up desperate, frustrated, disillusioned, because that energy is free and wild." [...] (The Zahir - Paulo Coelho)

Credits: Ger (or Yurt)
In the "architecture" of their "gers" (or yurt), their homes, we can see their strong bond, connection, with the Cosmos. Everything in, at and on their gers is in balance with the Cosmis Order. Their gers are based on equality, because you have to bend your head, as you enter the ger, in praise of its owner, in praise of the Cosmos.

Entering the ger is almost the same as entering the Japanese teahouses to attend a tea-ceremony. It has also a low door that makes you bow ... in praise of the owner and host, based on equality. We are all the same, no ranks ... equal to each other.
Isn't that wonderful? We are in the Altai Mountains, but also in Japan. There are similarities between these two regions we can not over see. In the Altai Mountains they live with nature. They praise and honor nature. In Japan they live with nature, they are part of nature based on the Shinto religion. That completes the circle betwen us, haiku poets, and the people of the Altai Mountains and Japan. That is the Cosmic Order ... that is the Cosmos, the universal consciousness that binds us together, like a family ... as I love to call our haiku community Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. Thank you all for being part of this family of haiku poets. That makes me proud, but also humble. Who am I that I may be your host?

one with the Cosmos
a nature loving family
of haiku poets

© Chèvrefeuille

the cry of an eagle
resonates through the Altai Mountains
like a prayer

© Chèvrefeuille

Credits: Festival of the Golden Eagle (Altai Mountains)

circle of life
seasons come and go ... always
the Cosmos leads us

© Chèvrefeuille

deep silence
I bow my head in adoration
snowflakes fall

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope you all did like this post and that it will inspire you to write haiku, tanka or another Japanese poetry form.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 19th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, the third haiku by our featured haiku poetess Ese, later on.

!! PS.: Don't forget our new kukai "WINTER". You can submit a maximum of three unpublished haiku (only haiku) until December 23rd 10.00 PM (CET) !!