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.

New episode delayed

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

During circumstances i hadn't time to publish our new episode ... sorry for the inconvinience.

Warm greetings,

Chèvrefeuille, your host.

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.