Trite and Incorrect Interpretation

I’ve started reading “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell.  Not sure I’d be able to finish it any time soon: while interesting, it’s pretty thick and the language is sentimentally antiquated.

In any case, I got through the first chapter in the prologue and was amused by this side note, Continue reading “Trite and Incorrect Interpretation”


Shadow’s Heart

“I’ll take your heart. We’ll need it later,” and she reached her hand deep inside his chest, and she pulled it out with something ruby and pulsing held between her sharp fingernails. It was the color of pigeon’s blood, and it was made of pure light. Rhythmically it expanded and contracted.

-Neil Gaiman, “American Gods”


(Image from the Yoga International article commenting on this sutra)

This sutra opens the second book of the Yoga Sutras.  The second book is about the practice.  This sutra describes “yogic action”.  In the few commentaries that I’ve read, “tapas” is translated as “discipline” or “austerity”, acknowledging that the root means “heat”, or perhaps “energy”.  “Svadhyaya” is “self-reflection”, or “self-study”, or “going inside oneself”.  “Iśvara” is too often translated as God or Lord, which is unfortunate, because it makes it too easy to dismiss (for me and a few folks I know anyway).

This sutra came up a couple of times in our teacher training.   Continue reading “2.1”

Doctor Faust’s Error

Nina encouraged her birthday party guests to prepare something for the delight and entertainment of other guests.  I chose to read a tale from the “Fairy Tales and Stories” collection by Max Frei for the Birthday Salon.  To be precise, I impromptu translated it from Russian.  Despite my getting occasionally stuck looking for the right word, the tale delighted.

Part I of the “Fairy Tales and Stories” book could have been titled, if one were to translate it, “Weird Mythologies”.  It’s unlikely to be translated though, because many of the tales there build on the children’s literature and culture  we grew up with in back in 1970ties, 1980ies back in the urban Soviet Union, and the initial familiarity is a substantial component of the wonder and thrill of the weird mythologies.  Fortunately, the particular tale I read built on broader cultural context, so I brought it to the salon and I’ll translate it here for the delight and entertainment of those my readers who don’t read Russian, more thoughtfully than at Nina’s birthday salon.  (If you do read Russian, head over here for the original and the rest of it.)

Through many a storyteller, in great detail, in many voices (so as to find a version for every listener, according to their size and intelligence), the history tells us the tale of Doctor Faust, as she remains stubbornly silent about his contemporary, neighbor, and the closest friend named Peter.

Continue reading “Doctor Faust’s Error”