Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"kali medhanit" is a mistake

“kali medhanit” is a mistake.
i was thinking of a title for this and, as is so often the case, i was drinking coffee and it occurred to me that the phrase by which the lakota called coffee at the time black elk was talkin’ to john neihardt and still today for all i know translated as “black medicine”. i’m gonna go out on a speculative limb here and guess that the lakota word or words that get translated to english as “medicine” have the general meaning of making one “better” or “stronger” which could mean a restoration to health for one who is ailin’, but could also have to do with increasin’ the power of one who is well enough which would explain why warriors go to battle in “medicine shirts” and shamans wear “medicine hats” when they’re on the job, that bein’ sometimes but not always, healin’ the sick.
so anyhow, i thought “well, kali is sanskrit for ‘black’” and then t’was no trouble a’tall to ask an ethiopian for the amharic for “medicine” which turned out to be “medhanit” after t’was rendered in roman letters. so “kali medhanit” is what it became and its a jumble of languages an’ ideas that amounts to gibberish in a way, but that’s fine too as its also a summarization of how we’s doin’ things here. sanskrit is the oldest written language unless they found an older one whilst i wasn’t payin’ attention and ‘tis the language in which hinduism and buddhism grew up. amharic is the longtime tongue of at least a buncha ethiopians, tho’ not all by a long shot, and ethiopia is a danged old country bein’ mentioned a few times in the elder testament. christianity was established in ethiopia in the first century apple dapple and the population at the moment is about 2/3 christian, 1/3 muslim and a bit o’ “traditional”, whate’er that means. they claim they got the ark o’ the covenant there. and then there’s that reference to the lakota who’re standin’ in here for the pagan/animistic/shamanic peoples so most of the bases are touched as far as bein’ touched by god and developin’ a myth goes.
but as i said, despite all that happy horseshit, it’s a mistake becos the actual sanskrit for “black” is actually “kālī” with the two lil’ lines over the vowels that i don’t know what they mean. i found that out later and ‘tis too much trouble to change it now. we’ll have to find a way to live with it as ‘tis.
“kali” without the two lil’ lines over the vowels means “weak” and “crude” and “inarticulate” and this is the meaning that is meant in the phrase “kali yuga”, a yuga being an unit of cosmological time and there being 4 of these only one of which need concern us, that being the last one: the kali yuga, the furthest in time from the creation and the worst, most debas(ed/ing) time, the end of time, the time when ev’rything is about shot to shit and gone to hell in a handbasket and that, my friends, in case it ain’t plain and obvious, is the now. this is it. we’re livin’ in the last days and the end can’t come quick enough. oh, and also, “kālī” with the two lines also means “time” so that’s prob’ly another reason people think that the “kali yuga” is the “kālī yuga”, but its not. they’re two different words. one has little lines over the vowels; the other’n don’t have.
and medhanit means “medicine”, which is just what the witch doctor ordered for this sick society, not that i’m sayin’ what i’m writing is the medicine, but i am sayin’ that what i’m writing about is. myth is the medicine i’m suggestin’.
now whilst we’s on the subject of “kali” and/or “kālī” as the case may be, there’s also a goddess by that name who is prob’ly the most misinterpreted of the whole hindu pantheon mostly becos she takes on a certainly ferocious demeanor what with the gapin’ bloody mouth and necklace of skulls and skirt of arms an’ all and the weapons in her many hands. its no wonder she’s been generally seen as a bad thing by eyes that was washed with the spittle of the bloody lamb of golgotha when they waded into india with machine guns and swords. oh, how awful. but kālī or kālī ma or kalika ain’t nothin’ bad a’tall, bein’ a representation of time, which changes and consumes all and all and ev’rything in between, no matter what. kālī ma, “black mother” is only the changing of time and that ain’t bad unless ya’s fool enough to fight it, in which case its pretty fuckin’ hard times and will seem terrible to you. if you don’t fight the changes of time, then she appears to you in another of her aspects and you can relax into the blessin’ she bestows an’ one of her hands is always unarmed and poised in the mudra of “fear not” for that reason.
in some counties, kali ma is considered the same thing as what we was callin’ “brahman” before and in other parts she is known as “bhavatarini” or “redeemer of the universe” and let’s not forget that part about acceptin’ change.
this is all about as good a short, quick example of how this shit goes on in my life as i can come up with. i go about my business as best i can, with the general assumption that if i just show up an’ make myself available, shit’ll go on the way its supposed to and there’ll be a part for me to play in it. writin’ about myth seemed like a good idea at the time as i’ve spent a few years learnin’ a little an’ i feel i got some shite to say so i prayed about it some and commenced to set out about it. an’ ideas come into my head and shit works out in ways i couldn’t’ve planned ‘cos i honestly just ain’t all that clever, like for example how just right the mistakes i make turn out to be. kali medhanit, indeed.
shave an’ a haircut,
two bits:

“of myself, i am nothing. the father doeth the works.”
- common paraphrase of john 5:30
“the myth is not my own. i had it from my mother.”
- euripides

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