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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tea-bowl for Victoria, #18 of 36 "The Shiva Cup"

     "Shiva's lingam in a cave,
      Brings success, the 'I Ching' says."

This bowl goes to Victoria Hamilton, a friend and potter, as a gift on her birthday. I look forward to sharing tea with you Victoria, and handing this one over to you.

The picture shows the quiet side of this cup. On the other side there's a lot of ash and greenish drips where it faced the fire.

What's intriguing to me is the form of the brushwork. I intended it as a mountain, but it hovers inside a space, something interior, within the red shadow of the flame. It reminds me of the Shiv ling, like the one at Amarnath.

In all seriousness, meditation means keeping still. Keeping cool. The lingam at Amarnath is made of ice, naturally cool. So this image kept it's integrity by being on the cool side of the cup, hidden from the bright glare of the fire. It meditates and keeps its form.

First let me clarify one point. I'm not confusing ancient Taoism, and the I Ching with Hinduism, and one of its oldest dieties, Shiva, though their evolution is roughly contemporary.

Nor am I forcing a comparison, between these cups, and the readings of that great classic.

I'm having fun, seeing if a 'grid' of pots yields meaning, much as hexagrams do, or yarrow sticks, or shards (which were 'read' in ancient times as well).

Such patterns are everywhere, in all things. Everything we see and do is imbued with patterns of transition, stillness, change, abrupt change, division, and unity, peace, war, etc. When one extracts one's desire for an outcome from this matrix, it's possible to see that all matter may be thought of as a divination, since all matter and energy foretells the future of itself, in every place.

Reality is holographic.


I'm comparing the first 64 readings of that great work to these cups, and observing synchronous patterns at work. For the fun of it.

Why else do we use our minds? For same reason that birds sing and otters slide down mudbanks. Because we can. Play sharpens our brains, thought, after all is said and done, may be just a ritual.

My arrangement of the 36 cups in the grid was essentially random. The synchronous outcome between the arrangement of vessels and my speculations in looking at them and imagining stories to go with them, proves the infinite correlations possible within that Taoist classic.

A agree, reading 'content' into cups is a completely subjective experience. I'm doing this because it's fun, and am overjoyed to find suitable readings in the I Ching.

Here is the reading for the 18th Hexagram, 'Ku" 'Work on What Has been Spoiled":

     Work on what has been spoiled
     Has supreme success.
     It furthers one to cross the great water.
     Before the starting point, three days.
     After the starting point, three days.

Here the I Ching speaks of giving Cup number 1 to Natsuko Koizumi, who lives in Milan, and who chose the cup with the image of Mt. Fuji.

The I Ching says that after the Tsunami, (Cup number 17), there is 'work on what has been spoiled.' The tsunami destroyed so much, Japan will be a very long time rebuilding. However that rebuilding will have "supreme success", since 1 + 17 = 18.

It furthers one, (the reader of this, me mostly) to "Cross the great water" (take a flight). This I am doing, to deliver the cup to Natsuko. We'll drink tea in Milan. I may even go to Japan.

Before the starting point, three days.

The I Ching calls for ritual fasting, before and after the tea ceremony. Shiva, the Hindu God of Destruction, was responsible for the Tsunami via the force of Kali, his terrifying female aspect.

However Shiva also, by meditating, engaging in yoga, and ritual fasting, gives the strength to rebuild.


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