In Memory of All Saints Day 1755: The Great Lisbon Earthquake

The Mocambo barrio on the outskirts of Lisbon

The Mocambo barrio on the outskirts of Lisbon

On this day 258 years ago with the vast majority of Lisbon, Portugal’s population at church, earthquakes struck the city followed by tsunami waves and mass fire.  The “Princess” of Europe’s capitals was destroyed.  Today, the grievous day is often referred to as, “The Great Lisbon Earthquake”. I would like to send out a prayer to those who were lost on this day in 1755 and the subsequent months that proceed these horrific events.

Artist rendering made after the All Saints Day events

Artist rendering made after the All Saints Day events

My novel-in-progress, Cut From The Earth, strives to recreate Lisbon before the tragedies, while Portugal was at the pinnacle of its colonial wealth and at its height of artistic developments in tile making. I’ve tried to bring to life what it might have been like on this disastrous day, and afterwards — what was lost forever.

The exact origins of All Saints Day are uncertain. Although, after Christianity was legalized in Rome by Emperor Constantine in 313 AD, a common commemoration of saints and martyrs, of the known and unknown, began to appear in various areas and dates throughout the Church’s reach.


Fra Angelico Early Renaissance Italian painter

The primary reason for establishing a common feast day was due to the desire to honor the great number of martyrs, as there were not enough days of the year for a feast day for each martyr and many died in groups defending Christianity in the late Roman Empire. Therefore, a common feast day for all saints and martyrs seemed logical and appropriate. According to accounts, it was Pope Gregory III (731-741 AD) who dedicated an oratory in the original St. Peter’s Basilica in honor of all the saints and martyrs on November 1st in Rome, thus officiating the date.

pao do deus oven

pão-por-Deus (God’s bread)

All Saints Day in 1755 Lisbon was not only a day to attend mass, it was also a day to make offerings, to light candles, and was to be a day of placing flowers upon the graves of loved ones. Also, it was the day when groups of children went door-to-door before mass with cloth bags or baskets to receive chestnuts, pomegranates, and little cake-like breads called pão-por-Deus (God’s bread). This tradition of giving and receiving pão-por-Deus would become a vital link to survival for those that lived through the dreadful day and those that followed, as they fled Lisbon, begging for God’s bread in the countryside. Today may we remember the saints and martyrs and all those who have gone before us, while we prepare for All Souls Day tomorrow, November 2. It is a good day to read your favorite saint’s story (whatever your beliefs and affiliations) and to remember those who’ve come before us. Click here for recipe: pão-por-Deus (God’s bread)


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All Hallows Eve in Old Lancashire

Guest blog post by author MARY SHARRATT


Come Halloween, the popular imagination turns to witches. Especially in Pendle Witch Country, the rugged Pennine landscape surrounding Pendle Hill, once home to twelve individuals arrested for witchcraft in 1612. The most notorious was Elizabeth Southerns, alias Old Demdike, cunning woman of long-standing repute and the heroine of my novel Daughters of the Witching Hill.

How did these historical cunning folk celebrate All Hallows Eve?

All Hallows has its roots in the ancient feast of Samhain, which marked the end of the pastoral year and was considered particularly numinous, a time when the faery folk and the spirits of the dead roved abroad. Many of these beliefs were preserved in the Christian feast of All Hallows, which had developed into a spectacular affair by the late Middle Ages, with church bells ringing all night to comfort the souls thought to be in purgatory. Did this custom have its origin in much older rites of ancestor veneration? This threshold feast opening the season of cold and darkness allowed people to confront their deepest fears—that of death and what lay beyond. And their deepest longings—reunion with their cherished departed.

720 720After the Reformation, these old Catholic rites were outlawed, resulting in one of the longest struggles waged by Protestant reformers against any of the traditional ecclesiastical rituals. Lay people stubbornly continued to hold vigils for their dead—a rite that could be performed without a priest and in cover of darkness. Until the early 19th century in the Lancashire parish of Whalley, some families still gathered at midnight upon All Hallows Eve. One person held a large bunch of burning straw on a pitchfork while the others knelt in a circle and prayed for their beloved dead until the flames burned out.

Long after the Reformation, people persisted in giving round oatcakes, called Soul-Mass Cakes to soulers, the poor who went door to door singing Souling Songs as they begged for alms on the Feast of All Souls, November 2. Each cake eaten represented a soul released from purgatory, a mystical communion with the dead.

In Glossographia, published in 1674, Thomas Blount writes:

All Souls Day, November 2d: the custom of Soul Mass cakes, which are a kind of oat cakes, that some of the richer sorts in Lancashire and Herefordshire (among the Papists there) use still to give the poor upon this day; and they, in retribution of their charity, hold themselves obliged to say this old couplet:              

God have your soul, Bones and all.

Pendel witch photosOther All Hallows folk rituals invoked the power of fire to purify and ward. In the Fylde district of Lancashire, farmers circled their fields with burning straw on the point of a fork to protect the coming crop from noxious weeds.

Fire was used to protect people from perceived evil spirits active on this night. At Longridge Fell in Lancashire, very close to Pendle Hill, the custom of ‘lating’ or hindering witches endured until the early 19th century. On All Hallows Eve, people walked up hillsides between 11 pm and midnight. Each person carried a lighted candle and if the flame went out, it was taken as a sign that an attack by a witch was impending and that the appropriate charms must be employed to protect oneself.

What do these old traditions mean to us today?

All Hallows is not just a date on the calendar, but the entire tide, or season, in which we celebrate ancestral memory and commemorate our dead. This is also the season of storytelling, of re-membering the past. The veil between the seen and unseen grows thin and we may dream true.

Wishing a blessed All Hallows Tide to all!

Excerpt from Daughters of the Witching Hill

405 Sharratt_Daughters

“At Hallowtide, Liza insisted on walking up Blacko Hill, as we’d always done, for our midnight vigil on the Eve of All Saints. Under cover of darkness we crept forth with me carrying the lantern to light our way and John following with a pitchfork crowned in a great bundle of straw.

Once we reached the hilltop, after a furtive look round to make sure no one else was about, John lit the straw with the lantern flame so that the straw atop the pitchfork blazed like a torch. With him to hold the fork upright and keep an eye out for intruders, Liza and I knelt to pray for our dead. In the old days, we’d held this vigil in the church, the whole parish praying together, the darkened chapel bright as day with the many candles glowing on the saints’ altars. Now we were left to do this in secret, stealing away like criminals in the night, as though it were something shameful to hail our deceased. I prayed for my mam and grand-dad, calling out to their souls till I felt them both step through the veil to bring me comfort.

In my heart of hearts, I did not believe my loved ones were in purgatory waiting, by and by, to be let into heaven. There was no air of suffering or torment about them, only the joy of reunion. My mam, young and pretty, worked in her herb garden. She hummed a lilting tune whilst her earth-stained fingers pointed out to me the plants I must use to ease Liza’s birth pangs. Grand-Dad whispered his old charms to bless me and Liza and John.

A long spell I knelt there, held in the embrace of my beloved dead, till the straw on the pitchfork burned itself out, falling in embers and ash to the ground. Our John helped my pregnant daughter to her feet, then we made our way home through the night that no longer seemed so dark.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMary Sharratt is an American writer living in the Pendle region of Lancashire, Northern England. Her acclaimed novel of the Pendle Witches, Daughters of the Witching Hill, is out in paperback and ebook. Illuminations, her award-winning novel exploring the life of visionary abbess and polymath, Hildegard von Bingen, is now out in trade paperback and ebook. 

Visit Mary’s website:  

Click here for:  Soul Cake Recipe

 Source: Ronald Hutton, The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain

Thank you Mary for sharing with us, Happy All Hallows in Old Lancashire!

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Witches Plight: Past & Present

Guest Blog Post by author Erika Mailman

big witch woodblock

Why are witches affiliated with Halloween?

It’s so funny—I initially thought, “What a silly question, everyone knows why,” but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it is a strange connection and I honestly don’t know how witches got pulled into it!

Historically speaking, Halloween derives from Samhain, the ancient Celtic pagan festival which celebrates the end of the harvest season. On October 31, the curtain between the living and the dead was to be lifted, and the dead would return to walk their old paths. Samhain celebrants would light bonfires and wear costumes to keep the dead from performing malicious acts: both meant to distract or mislead them.

Burning down town Compendium Guazzo 1610Bonfires of course bring to mind the wretched staked pyres upon which Europe’s witches were executed – is that the connection?

Witches are unholy and allied with Satan (part of why they were burned was so that they might not have a corporeal body to return to and enact revenge upon their executors), so it seems natural that Halloween, when the dead return to walk the earth, would be connected with witches.

I also wonder if the fear that the dead would return to ruin stored foods or cause livestock to die was quite naturally folded into the fear of witches, who were also reputed to do such things. Witches steal fertility; they murder babes and steal children. They destroy crops and wreak havoc on animals and their ability to produce food (such as hens with eggs). Since Halloween falls at the end of the harvest, people are naturally protective of their food stores as winter approaches. Witches are known to take pleasure in destroying the means of sustenance.

calling down rain de lamiis1489In my novel The Witch’s Trinity, villagers accuse my main character Güde of causing a hen to stop laying her eggs. This is the type of mundane, morose misfortune that women were meant to burn for. My ancestor Mary Bliss Parsons, whose story is explored in the book’s Afterword, was accused of (among many other things) making a neighbor’s ox die. He needed the ox to plow his fields and plant grain: she directly interfered with his family’s food-getting. When we look at the accusations these witches faced, they were often simple random acts of fate that the sufferer wanted someone to blame for.

This year as my daughters happily don their pointed hats and their striped socks, I have to remind myself to take a deep breath. That period of history is over… or is it? On February 7 of this year, a woman in Papua New Guinea was burned to death as an accused witch. Hundreds watched as she was doused with gasoline and burned inside (or on top of—news reports vary) a pile of old tires. If one scans news reports carefully, the world is still actively seeking out and punishing witches.

Here is a sampling:

May 2009: CNN reports on abuse of “child witches” in Nigeria

Sept. 2008: A soccer game erupts in riot in Congo for fear of witchcraft: 15 fans trampled to death

April 2008: Attempted lynching in Congo for witch craft

Nov. 2007: The New York Times reports on children in Angola, Congo and Congo Republic being branded as witches and abandoned to street-life by their parents (as young as six).

I have loved thinking about witches ever since I was a child. I still viscerally recall the witch mask, green and warted, that my three sisters and I alternately wore for years. But part of what I loved was the safe “over and doneness” of it all. I’m appalled and so, so inexpressibly sad that it isn’t over.

An Excerpt from The Witch’s Trinity

paperback cover US lightened

“Künne looked down at her arm, the betrayer of her entire body. “The great and mighty God has blessed me with herb knowledge,” she said. “I look at my own arm and know I may pack it with herbs and in a moon’s phase heal it. I know, too, that I may make a pessary for Frau Zweig that will help fasten her husband’s seed in her and later ease her in childbirth. I will remove the hex from the hen and she will lay again. I will make my potions that everyone in the village relies on, to lessen a fever or bring the humors to their proper balance. I will be a slave to this good village, devoting all my labor to undoing my treachery.”

“She never will!” screamed Frau Zweig.

God has given you herb knowledge?” asked the Friar. “We all live and die according to his mandate. It is his will that we burn in fever or rise from the sickbed. You are blasphemous to think you have such power!”

“But you say my herbs had the power to cause Frau Zweig to expel her babes, is that not blasphemous as well?” She faltered through this short speech, and I groaned as I heard it. I knew what she had just spoken had sealed her death. Silence reigned, then Künne began to cry. I sank onto my knees and Jost put his hand on the crown of my head. The Friar adjusted his robes and when he raised his head again his face was filled with fury.”

erika-mailman1-269x300Erika Mailman is the author of The Witch’s Trinity, a novel about a medieval woman accused of witchcraft by her own daughter-in-law. The book contains an Afterword about Mary Bliss Parsons, an ancestor of the author who was accused of witchery.

Visit her website:

Thank you Erika for sharing this important story.

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Trick or Treat!

Guest Blog Post by author Suzy Witten

witch photo

I’m excited to announce that for the next three days authors Suzy Witten, Erika Mailman, and Mary Sharratt will be guest bloggers here, sharing stories of how witches became affiliated with Halloween! All three of these authors have written novels delving deeply into the world of the “witch”. Looking for a good Halloween read? Or wanting to know more about this subject matter?

Read their novels:  The Afflicted Girls by Suzy Witten, The Witch’s Trinity by Erika Mailman, and Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt.

Now, I’d like to introduce author Suzy Witten and her fascinating post on the multicultural history of how witches became connected with Halloween…

“Ask a child:  who rides a broom on Halloween night? Of course, she’ll know.

Then ask: but why are witches associated with Halloween? You’ll get a shrug.

Because she’d have to look back thousands of years… to when on Yule night in Norway, goddess Reisarova and her witch hordes mounted their black steeds with eyes of shining ember, and during the wild ride would cast down saddles onto roofs, foretelling death for the occupant.

Or when the troll witch giantess Hyrrokin rode through her Swedish skies on a wolf bridled with snakes.

400 Hyrrokkin_by_Pietsch

Or when on Lithuania’s midsummer night, all magicians and witches flew to the top of Mt. Szatria to revel with their mighty sorceress Jauterita.

flying witch

Or when in the Scottish highlands at summer’s end, with a wand of power in her hand, grey-cloaked crone Nicnevin led her witch fairies and goblins astride animal spirits in a great celebratory Parade. Or when in Ireland, the beings and souls of the Otherworld—some of them human who’d been turned into cats for evil deeds—assembled at the sacrificial bonfire of the Druids among the people to honor the dying natural world in the presence of the aged Crone, the Hag, the Cailleach… all knew would re-emerge in spring as a beautiful, powerful maiden. For it was on Samhain night that the barrier between the worlds was so thin, spirits who were homesick could re-enter this mortal world and commune with and visit their loved ones.

In the German-speaking countries of Eastern Europe, the Old Goddess might appear at harvest’s end as an ugly, long-nosed spinster. On this Ember Night, she’d bring treats or play tricks: spindles of finished thread for industrious girls, dirtying or tangling the unspun flax of lazy spinners. Sometimes she’d sport a tooth or nose of iron, or carry live coals in her pitcher for burning their distaffs. Her job was to reward and punish children. Often she took the form of a pig.

In time, she became a myth… as did  her namesakes.

“At the end of the middle ages an international myth of the Old Goddess stretched from the Slavic east to the Celtic west and from Italy to Scandanavia. People said that a vibrant, powerful crone flew in the midst of a cavalcade of spirits dead and unborn, joined by witches of all lands. On the eves of pagan holy days the spirit hosts set out for high mountaintops or other sacred places. At these animist sanctuaries the witches dance, play music and games, feast and celebrate their mysteries. The divine “Mistress of the Night” presides over the gathering, giving cures and revealing the future. Often she miraculously revives the animals the witches have been feasting on.” (The Tregenda of the Old Goddess, Witches, and Spirits; Max Dashu (2000))

witceh photo

In these seemingly unrelated populations of pre-Roman, pre-Christian times, the Old Goddess’ names and manifestations were many. She was secure in her recurring reverence… until in the 1st Century B.C, the Romans invaded Northern Europe and brought their own festivals and goddesses with them.

Over the next four centuries, old and new customs merged, until by the 4th Century A.D., Roman Emperor Constantine declared Christianity everyone’s lawful religion and launched a holy war against Paganism and its symbols. The old practices were “Christianized,” and the old names, rites, meanings, symbols were recast.

By the 8th Century A.D., the Pagan holy day of Samhaim was celebrated as Hallowmas: a triple Christian holiday comprised of All Hallow’s Eve or Hallowe’en (October 31), All Saints Day or All Hallows Day (November 1), and All Souls Day (November 2). This was still the time of year to remember the dead… but now the dead included martyrs and saints, and all faithful departed Christians.

As for the rest of us, it is the night when witches ride brooms, ghosts come a’haunting, and skeletons rise from graves… to shout in every doorway: “Trick or treat!”

EXCERPT from THE AFFLICTED GIRLS A Novel of Salem by Suzy Witten


“Abigail sailed up and set her hand upon the Good Book (which her uncle held) swearing to speak the truth (while gazing into his proud eyes). And then she looked visage to visage at the jurymen, memorizing each of their expressions for a future accounting. She knew their names, although not in the current sitting order—she’d memorized a list left out on her uncle’s desk: Fisk, Fisk, Batcheler, Fisk Jr., Dane, Evelith, Perly Sr., Peabody, Perkins, Sayer, Eliot, and Herrick Sr. She’d wondered then if any were bachelors. Now she didn’t care, since not a handsome face sat among them. She also looked about the room to make certain all were attentive. Especially that Boston minister Cotton Mather, who was scribbling in his book and thus failed to see her smile. Disappointed, she began with a pout:

“I saw Bridget Bishop administer the sacrament on the Witches’ Sabbath. Midnight of the last new moon, I was awakened by the sound of a great horn blowing—“

By now the courtroom had dissolved into the supernal light and in her mind’s eye she beheld her uncle’s pasture, but greener and vaster and brighter than it ever was. Brim full with cowslips, a frothy brook, pretty blue and white violets, fragrant lilies, and of course no screeching crickets, biting bugs or grunting frogs, only golden billowy butterflies—no, NO! ‘Twas midnight when the witches consorted! She blinked and now saw a hint of a slivered moon, her ally, dangling not above the crabapple tree, but a tree abundantly adorned with crisp red succulent apples, bigger and rounder than were Eve’s.

“I ran to my window and saw from all directions the damned mounted on their broomsticks. A great whirlwind had arisen. Then those three-score witches swirled down and landed in my uncle’s pasture like a flock of cackling caw-birds. They grounded their sticks and, one by one, renounced their Baptisms. The witches took out red bread and cake from their pockets, while the wizards built a great bonfire. Then all shed their clothes and danced naked around it. Bridget Bishop walked amongst them giving them blood to drink: ‘Consecrated wine of newborn .”

400 Suzy Witten author photoSuzy Witten’s career spans twenty years in the entertainment industry: as a filmmaker, screenwriter, story analyst, and editor for film and television. A graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, she was nominated for a Women In Film filmmaking award, and was a Walt Disney Studios Fellowship finalist for her screenplay about the Salem witch hunt of 1692. Her new Young Adult coming of age action-adventure novel 10/10ths will be published in 2014. She is also a Media Relations specialist during disasters for FEMA (U. S. Federal Emergency Management Agency). She resides in Los Angeles. Her debut novel, The Afflicted Girls, won the 2010 Independent Publisher (IPPY) silver medal for historical fiction.

Thank you Suzy for sharing this informative and intriguing article!


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7 Favorite Historical Novels with Art/Artists

I love to read fiction with art and artists. Do you? Do you have some favorite titles to share here? Recently, author Susan Vreelend, preeminent writer of novels focusing and drawing from the visual arts, asked on Facebook for readers to submit titles of books that have what she calls: “art tie-ins”. After some weeks she amassed more than 100 titles! Art in fiction is a growing niche. I’ve been voraciously reading these art-based novels as this is also my passion in writing and reading.

My current top 7 favorites (and these are not in any particular order — I love them all equally but for different reasons, the numbering is for organisation only):

The Forest Lover Cover1. The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland

“She sat very still, listening to a stream gurgling, the breeze soughing through upper branches, the melodious kloo-klack of ravens, the nyeep-nyeep of nuthatches – all sounds chokingly beautiful. She felt she could hear the cool clean breath of growing things – fern fronds, maple leaves, white trillium petals, tree trunks, each in its rightful place.”
― Susan VreelandThe Forest Lover

This one of my all-time favorite novels. The writing is gorgeous and evocative of the majestic Pacific Northwest of North America and 19th century Canadian painter/writer, Emily Carr — her painting, her struggle, her love of this special place — its native people and culture.

Cascade cover2. Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara

“She knew better: when artistry seems most elusive is when you must focus, dig deep, and force yourself to think about how to give form to an idea that seems too vague to express.”
― Maryanne O’Hara

I really loved this story: tension on every page as you are plunged into the plight of the female painter. I could relate profoundly to the protagonist being a working visual artist for the last 20 years.



The Passion of Artemisia cover3. The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland

“I remember being disappointed when Papa had shown me Caravaggio’s Judith. She was completely passive while she was sawing through a man’s neck. Caravaggio gave all the feeling to the man. Apparently, he couldn’t imagine a woman to have a single thought. I wanted to paint her thoughts, if such a thing were possible — determination and concentration and belief in the absolute necessity of the act. The fate of her people resting on her shoulders…” ― Susan VreelandThe Passion of Artemisia

This is an important and fascinating story about Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi. I wish for everyone  to read it and learn about her story and incredible paintings.

Portraits of an Artist cover4. Portraits of an Artist by Mary F. Burns

“I want to paint something that no one has ever painted before,” he was saying. I almost laughed at that — doesn’t every artist? We are all touched, however lightly, by the finger of god, and long to be gods ourselves, bringing forth new creations, and yet, so very few achieve it. Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Titian. We stumble in their footsteps, and wait at the closed door.” ― Mary F. BurnsPortraits of an Artist

I loved the writing and voices in this book, along with poignant and insightful reflections of what the artist thinks and cares about.

The Agony and the Ecstasy cover5. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone

“Talent is cheap; dedication is expensive. It will cost you your life.” ― Irving StoneThe Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo

I read this novel way back in 1993, while I was studying oil painting, ceramics and Italian art history — living in the blessed city of Florence, Italy. This is a classic and moving tale.


Claude & Camille cover6. Claude & Camille by Stephanie Cowell

“Sometimes he dreamt he held her; that he would turn in bed and she would be there. But she was gone and he was old. Nearly seventy. Only cool paint met his fingers. “Ma très chère . . .” Darkness started to fall, dimming the paintings. He felt the crumpled letter in his pocket. “I loved you so,” he said. “I never would have had it turn out as it did. You were with all of us when we began, you gave us courage. These gardens at Giverny are for you but I’m old and you’re forever young and will never see them. . . .”
― Stephanie CowellClaude & Camille: A Novel of Monet

I cried at one point in this read. It is a touching and beautifully wrought story. The writing is exquisite and vivid: irresistible. I highly recommend this novel.

7. I’m currently reading The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro and loving it, but I’m not yet finished, so I will wait to comment!

My to read list: The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen, The Miracles of Prato by Laurie Lico Albanese, Lydia Cassett Reading the Morning Paper by Harriet Scott Chessman, The Painted Kiss  and The Wayward Muse by Elizabeth Hickey, The Hypnotist by M.J. Rose

Please leave a comment and your favorite Art in Fiction titles!

For more highly recommended books visit my blog page “Recommended Reading: Fiction with Art/Artist”

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“Stories of Serendipity: Writing Historical Fiction” Series debuts at the Historical Novel Society!

cascade_tpb coverFor the next seven weeks I will post each Sunday on the Historical Novel Society website a serendipitous story. Sharing an author’s magical tale of serendipity while writing, researching, and publishing historical fiction, along with their speculations as to possible reasons behind such phenomena.

This week’s post features author Maryanne O’Hara and her bewildering accounts while writing and publishing her recent novel Cascade, read on, you’ll be amazed!

Click Here to Read Story!

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Prose poem “Haiku Hijiri” to be published in literary journal Lalitamba

This Japanese scroll calligraphy of Bodhidharma reads “Zen points directly to the human heart, see into your nature and become Buddha”. It was created by Hakuin Ekaku (1685 to 1768)

This Japanese scroll calligraphy of Bodhidharma reads: “Zen points directly to the human heart, see into your nature and become Buddha”. It was created by poet, artist, sage Hakuin Ekaku (1685 to 1768).

I am pleased to announce that “Haiku Hijiri”, my prose poem about the acceptance of what is — to welcome all that comes, enjoy the now, enjoy aloneness — will debut in the 2014 issue of Lalitamba.

It is the story of an eccentric wandering Japanese priest whose existence serves as an example to the common people — how to live — what is important in life. The piece reminds us to have reverence for our sages, and that we don’t know when our last moment will arrive, so live in such a way as to elevate others, knowing all things pass, and offer the world what you have to give.

Hijiri: (Japanese: “holy man”), in Japanese religions, a person of great magnetism and spiritual power, as distinct from a leader of an institutionalized religion. Historically, hijiri has been used to refer to sages of various traditions, such as the shaman, Taoist magician, Shintō mountain ascetic or Buddhist reciter. Most characteristically hijiri describes the wandering priest who operates outside the orthodox Buddhist tradition to meet the religious needs of the lay people.

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