Rowan Tree

Today I had the privilege of representing the university at the Shinto ceremony to prepare for the construction of our new Child Development Centre. Before the diggers rumble in, the spirits who inhabit the place have to be warned and apologized to for the disturbance. There is an elaborate ceremony in 32 degree heat during which there is a series of incantations from the priest, miming of slashing, digging and hammering by the major players, a blessing of the four corners of the site, offerings of branches the significance of which I have forgotten, then finally sake drinking. It takes about an hour. It is really hot!

The stage is set

The stage is set

He is howling

He is howling

I have to play a significant role as host. First I have to mime slashing down undergrowth with 3 swipes of the sickle, emanating a convincing mixture of grunt and screetch at each gesture. There is much bowing before and after. I worry about getting it wrong.

Sorry grass sprits

Sorry grass spirits

Big builder boss bashes

Big builder boss bashes

The architect practices vampire extermination

The architect practices vampire extermination

Salt and vinegar?

Salt and vinegar?

I then have to offer the branch of er, um, I forget with complex bowing and clapping.

Our team claps

Our team claps

Why man, that's my hobby

Why man, that’s my hobby

Anyway as I am sitting there I mull over the fact that Shinto is not that different to west highland belief. For example the holy Rowan tree must not be cut down lest disaster falls on those implicated. Also there was a strong tradition of not insulting the Broonie, a kind of familiar spirit, for he would certainly have his revenge. Indeed various lochs and hills also had strong spiritual connections. My Father blocked the construction of a house in the village for many years as it meant the felling of a Rowan.

Oh there arose my father's pray'r In holy ev'ning's calm How sweet was them my mother's voice, In the martyrs' psalm Now a'are gane! We meet nae mair aneath the rowan tree But hallow'd thoughts around thee twine O'hame and infancy Oh rowan tree

Oh there arose my father’s pray’r
In holy ev’ning’s calm
How sweet was them my mother’s voice,
In the martyrs’ psalm
Now a’are gane!
We meet nae mair aneath the rowan tree
But hallow’d thoughts around thee twine
O’hame and infancy
Oh rowan tree

After his death the house was built and lo it is the very house in which I stayed during Bobby’s wedding. I lie not in stating there was a moment of incertitude as to whether it was a good thing to sleep a house built over the  site of Rowan abuse.

The desecrated tree stood just near the gate.

The desecrated tree stood just near the gate.

As you know from previous blogs, my journey home was blighted by the loss of my suitcase and the mysterious uncorking of  a bottle of whisky whose contents were distributed around the interior. As I bowed before the Shinto altar I realized that the Broonie had punished me justifiably for sleeping on  ground tainted by unhappy spirits.

He totally understood the Rowan tree  dilemna

He totally understood the Rowan tree dilemma

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1 Response to Rowan Tree

  1. paraulata says:

    Ashes to Ashes.

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