Sunday, February 7, 2010

Moving Superstitions

Two years when I was first moving into my present apartment, a friend gave her advice on how to properly prepare a home: the first action to take upon moving into a home was to plant or put a vial with a bamboo shoot on the northern-most wall or window of a home. Either this would ward off evil or be auspicious for me - I can't remember. Not sharing that superstition and certainly not understanding the reasoning behind it, I didn't do it but when I arrived at my new home with the moving truck I did notice that on the biggest bag of stripped wall paper and trash that needed carrying out was a vial of bamboo. Evidently when a person moves, the vial is also the last object to be removed from the house. The previous residents of my apartment also applied clear orchid-printed contact paper to the sliding glass windows on the north. If there is any special significance to that, I don't know but I do know that bamboo, plum blossoms, orchids and chrysanthemums are the Four Gracious Plants with each symbolizing a season (respectively winter, spring, summer and fall) and en masse having special significance to calligraphers who often painted them individually or collectively.

Another symbol in my house is shamanistic in origin, a yellowed paper about seven inches square with red text of some kind on it. The paper is hung over the lintel of my bedroom door and it is likely that connected with it there was a shamanistic house-moving gut (exorcism) held to help move or appease the house spirits. The meaning of the red square-stylized text is unknown to me but in a couple of days I will move again ... and my new home is devoid of cultural and shamanistic symbols. With off-white walls and windows without contact paper, I can create my own atmosphere and if there is any symbolism involved, it will be created through my books ... the symbols of a scholar [maybe just symbolism only, but the kind that is more propitious to the brain].

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