temple roofs

The dragon and the crescent moon

1. There was once a queen who bestrode sleep and the waking world, and she had brought so much gold with her from dreams that she could never quite keep track of it all. One day, one of her pumpkin coaches crashed into a lake and spilled out its cargo in a great gold crescent. It had been perhaps only a few hours when the dragon came along. Now, this dragon had been born in the arms of the crescent moon and the shape held great comfort for it. It saw the sparkling crescent and swooped down to sleep there, under the water, because it was a water dragon. When the villagers came to look, they saw it there. It may be, they said, that dragons like to sleep on gold. And by the morning the dragon had woken and gone on its way, and be sure the gold was well-plundered soon. But it stuck in the memory.
2. Thereafter, whenever the villagers saw dragons and gold together, they shared a knowing look, in a way that they did not when they saw other creatures with gold. That land being still in the days of the Queendom of Sleep, there was a great deal of gold to be had. And in those days dragons were as common as crows. So passing dragonets perching on the Queen’s golden gondola, or flying into the palace via an unattended window and thrashing about inside on the golden walls, until set free: yes, and yes. The great white dragon that they hunted in the luminous night and which lay, exhausted, on the Queen’s cloth-of-gold blanket: yes. And yes, those that nested in the eaves of the golden-roofed temples of the high city.
3. Then too, when the dragons got old and knarled and chose a cave to settle down in and begin the long slow process of turning to stone, the people who lived nearby would seek assurances that they were not in danger. Knowing now that dragons liked gold, they brought gold to the lip of the dragon-cave as an offering. The dragons would politely leave it there. In this way, one could tell the entrance to a dragon-hole by the gold items scattered outside.
4. Of course, the dragons had no interest in the humans up above. Once they had settled in a cave, they ate only earth and drank only the water from underground rivers. So the people who left gold believed that their offerings were successful, and advised others to do so too.
5. And then of course there was the odd dragon who tried to explain. We’re not actually that fond of gold. Dragons, said the people. Always on about gold. Gold, gold, gold, all the time. Odd how you always hear about gold and dragons in the same breath, isn’t it?
6. Fuck sakes, said the dragons. Only they said it in their own language. It involved some emission of sulphur. Gold isn’t that uncomfortable anyway. It’s no worse than sleeping on rocks. And so it came to pass that when the Queen of Sleep descended into the land of clouded dreams, and gold once more became rare throughout the land, the gold that everyone wanted was under the dragons. And be sure that everyone who was not a dragon then knew of their greed.


Thought you’d be with your friend… aren’t you going to ask me how he’s doing?”

The whole veil of things seemed less substantial
Than the thing that moved in the dark behind me,
An unseen bird or beast, something shifting in its sleep,
Half-singing and then forgetting it was singing:
Be thou always ravished by love, starlight running
Down and pulling back the veil of the heart,
And then the water that does not exist opening up
Before one, dark as wine, and the unveiled figure
Of the self, stepping unclothed, sweetly stripped
Of its leaf, into starlight and the shadow of night,
The cold water warm around the narrow ankles,
The body at its most weightless, a thing so durable
It will—like the carved stone figures holding up
The temple roof—stand and remember its gods
Long after those gods have been forsaken.

Brigit Pegeen Kelly, from “Plants Fed On by Fawns,” The Orchard: Poems (BOA Editions, 2004)

Some lines are worth posting again …

Growing up a street orphan, and a blind one to boot, certain social niceties just…. pass Chirrut by.

He learns the basics the hard way, like when he’s very small and gets cuffed hard round the head by a merchant for taking a leak in front of his stall. Where else was he supposed to go? How was he to know how and where everyone else did it? The only lessons Chirrut ever learned as a child were taught with pain.

He learns the finer nuances of people when he’s older by listening, picking up conversations from the types who forget the blind can hear them perfectly well. He learns, for instance, that nobody likes a show off, despite the fact that every one of these people loves to talk about themselves, conveniently for him.

This is something of a revelation for Chirrut; his lack of manners has often cost him the friendship of the other beggar children, and this could be the reason why. Chirrut is good at many things, but showing off is one of his specialities. This is his first lesson in humility, and it earns him friends for the first time in his life.

These friends are the ones who take him to the temple when he’s wracked with lung illness from the cold, the ones who say they’ll miss him when Chirrut accepts the Masters’ offer of a home. They see his need to understand the world around him and the humble strength in his milky eyes. He will make a fine guardian.

That is, if they can just get him to understand the point of clothes. See, the streets of Jedha are so cold that Chirrut knows with confidence that he wore his filthy layers of banthahide round the clock to keep the freeze out. It’s only logical then, that in the acolyte lodgings lit with well-stoked braziers, or down in the kyber caves with their glowing, core-heated salt pools, or anywhere in the temple with a roof, and therefore warmer than chirrut has ever been- why would he wear clothes?

His only clue to the fact that he might have messed up yet again is when Baze, his new friend, and the best he’s ever had, chokes and coughs when Chirrut enters the mess hall bare and happy on a rare, tepid Jedhan day. Baze always reacts this way to Chirrut’s nudity, always bundles him away from the others just when they start whistling and calling things he never picks up. No one ever explains these things. He just pushes Chirrut’s robes into his arms every time, scurrying away before Chirrut can ask him.

“What is it this time?” he complains. Baze’s sleeve brushes against his lower back. “Aren’t you warm in those? It’s not even cold today!”

“Clearly,” mutters Baze, and he sounds breathless. What in the stars is that supposed to mean? More riddles of the sighted.

Not many years later Baze explains the concept of showers and growers to him, hot face buried in the crease of Chirrut’s hip, and he understands.

Baze explains everything for him now, and Chirrut sees the world in ways he never thought he would. He still begrudges clothing on warm days, though.

anonymous asked:

Zeke&Shao fix up the room on the Temple roof as a surprise for Napoleon. When they get it just right & show it to him he breaks down in tears. Zeke rubs soothing circles on his lower back & Shao gets him a glass of water. Once Napoleon calms down they suggest he get some sleep & begin to leave which makes him panic. So they sit on the floor next to his bed to keep him company. Zeke interlaces his fingers with Napoleon's & after hesitating so does Shao. Then the three of them fall asleep together


Favourite Figures from Mythology (20/25)


Queen of heaven, goddess of women and marriage in Greek mythology. She is the daughter of Cronus and Rhea, and married to her brother Zeus. She is often portrayed as solemn, majestic and enthroned, wearing her polos, or crown. She may have been the first deity to have a dedicated enclosed roofed temple sanctuary. The animals sacred to her are the cow, the lion and the peacock.

Swapped Elements (RaiKim)

Honestly, this was all Raimundo’s fault. Sure, it had technically been Jack who stole the Sun Chi Lantern and tried to use it against them, but Rai had responded with both the Reversing Mirror and the recently-won Cube of Haniku. When confronted by his alarmed and slightly altered teammates, he had sheepishly admitted that maybe using both Wu at once had been a bad idea.

The monks had their elements back, but not quite in the way they wanted.

“Wind!” shouted Kimiko.

Keep reading

Imagine you have been chosen as a human sacrifice.

There used to be a lucrative gem mine under the mountain your village perches at the edge of, but it was picked clean some years ago and your once-prosperous mining town has diminished considerably. Legend tells that there is a Trickster God living on the mountain. The older generation say a blood offering will win his favour.

You have never been well-liked in the village. You were caught, as a teenager, kissing the minister’s son. He told everyone that you forced yourself on him and you’ve been branded a harlot ever since. Had you been included in the decision-making process it would have not surprised you to have been chosen. As it is you don’t know what’s happening when they come for you in the middle of the night. Unseen hands in the dark cover your mouth and bind your arms and legs. They drag you to the local shrine where fires have been lit and a feast of lavish fruits and meats have been laid out.

You are redressed in a plain white robe and sat, legs folded beneath you and arms still bound behind your back, on a stone pedestal. You can hear excited murmuring around you, everyone is so sure that this will work. You bitterly tell yourself that at least you won’t have to put up with these people any more.

The boy who kissed you so innocently all those years ago has since taken up his father’s position, and when the moment comes it is he that approaches you with the knife. With one hand he grabs a handful of your hair, tugging your head back to expose your throat. With the other he brings the knife closer, and closer.

And then stops.

There’s a hand on his arm, stopping him. Someone is there that no-one noticed until now. Someone with copper eyes and a jagged toothy smile.

There’s a sensation in the air, the atmosphere is charged like the calm before a thunder storm. While there’s nothing physically inhuman about the stranger it would be impossible to mistake him for one of you. Somehow you just knowthat the being before you has power beyond comprehension and is older than the land itself.

He announces that since your life is being sacrificed it must belong to him. He says that he will be the one to decide what happens to it.

The minister’s boy drops the knife and scurries away like he’s been burnt. The Trickster takes his place behind you, one hand curved gently around your neck and the other slides under your robe to paw at your chest. While making a show of groping you he whispers in your ear that you have a choice to make. He can take your life in the spirit that it was offered with the promise that you will feel no pain in this world or the next. Or you could offer up your body along with your life, and you could live out your days as a priest at a temple dedicated to him. You nod, subtly. You want to live. He steps away immediately and rounds on the villagers with a grin on his face like a wolf worrying sheep.

He spreads his arms wide theatrically and proclaims that if wealth was what they wanted then they have come to the right god. Then he snaps his fingers and you black out.

When you come to it is daytime, and you don’t recognise your surroundings. You’re in some kind of open temple, a sloping roof held aloft by white marble pillars and no walls separating you from the view which is incredible. To the east; the sea. You must be on the other side of the mountain. You notice you’re wearing a different set of robes, more elaborate with fine stitching and laced with golden embroidery.

You don’t turn when you feel a heavy presence behind you, and fingers caress lightly over your cheek. Your new god makes love to you almost gently. He explains your new duties even while he’s still plowing you from behind. Your body belongs to him; is an extension of him. Any pilgrim who wishes to pay homage may do so. Any fruit of such unions are his. He won’t make personal appearances unless something draws his interest. He doesn’t leave immediately when he spends inside of you. He turns you over, twines your fingers, and lowers his mouth over your crotch until you find your own release. Then he takes you again.

You weren’t entirely sure what to expect but pilgrims do come. Most want to make deals, almost none are interesting enough for the fickle deity to show his face. It doesn’t take long for word to spread about your reason for being there and many wish to indulge. You spread your legs for any who ask it, mainly men though some women too, and it doesn’t take long for you to figure out what was meant by ‘fruit’.

Your first pregnancy is the hardest. You don’t know what to expect and it scares you when you realise your child isn’t human. Your belly grows alarmingly quickly, showing noticeably within only a few short weeks. You worry what will happen if you keep growing at that rate but before you even reach the size of a full normal pregnancy your water breaks.

You’re not the least bit surprised that the birth isn’t ‘interesting’ enough for the Trickster to deign you with his presence. Pushing a new life out alone isn’t pleasant but you are strong enough to keep it together. You are fairly startled to realise you’ve birthed a fully grown rabbit. Once you’ve cleaned and dried it’s fur it seems content to lop around the temple. Some of the more canny pilgrims bring it carrots.

Your second child is a coyote. The third initially comes out as an egg, which hatches into a raven.

Hoping to earn favour visitors to the temple redouble their efforts to knock you up. Some will hang around for days trying over and over to be sure. You spend very little time empty. The menagerie grows. Some of your children don’t stray very far, others disappear and reappear seemingly on a whim.

Eventually you hear word of your home village. It seems the villagers all vanished overnight leaving no trace. It was discovered soon after that the mine wasn’t depleted after all, it was full to bursting with rubies; red as blood.


I took the train back to Kamakura after my visit to the Great Buddha, so that I could see the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine in the daylight and covered in snow. I was warmed from my tea break, and I ignored all the shops on the way to the shrine so that I wasn’t outside for too long. The snow was pretty slushy by the time I got to the shrine (although more was falling) and big chunks of snow was sliding off the temple roofs. It was relatively pretty, especially with the acer tree’s red leaves contrasting against the white of the snow. I didn’t stay long as I was getting pretty cold, so I hurriedly walked back to the train station and went to the next stop down the tracks, Kita-Kamakura.
There’s another shrine here, called Engaku-ji. It’s right next to the train station and it’s a large area filled with numerous temple buildings and gardens. There were plenty of opportunities for gorgeous photos. If you think Japan is pretty, wait til you see it in the snow! It adds a whole new level of magic to the place. Unfortunately for me, after walking to the top of the hill I couldn’t feel my feet or my hands, so I rushed back down to the station where I only had to wait 5 minutes for the train. My only goal was to get warm, and being on the train and then the subway helped. It was a quick day, shorter than yesterday, purely because it was so cold!! Tomorrow’s meant to be warmer and I really hope it is, I can’t spend my last week in Japan trying to keep warm!