Tuesday, July 27, 2010

16  One good reason for building your own private outdoor temple is the fact that many countries, especially those located in Eastern Europe, are against the freedom of conscience. We at the temple of "Melnays Jahnis" see this attempt to limit our choices as a form of spiritual corruption. 

See article at http://www.voltairenet.org/article166468.html

This site has no objections to a temple dedicated to Buddha, Jesus, Shiva, Krishna, or whomever one choses to dedicate it to. However, we believe that our times require and will be more receptive to a temple that is located in nature and is dedicated to no more than a sense of the sacred. As the reader may see from the entries and photos below, we are--as we claim to be--a private temple to our sense of the sacred.

While we welcome the public to share with us our sense of the sacred, we insist on the private nature of our temple. If there develops an interest in such temples among others, we may of course form a league of like minded for freedom of conscience.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

15 Our private temle, “Melnays Jahnis”  (Black John) takes the idea of the temple garden into the 21st century. Of course ours is a different time. We no longer live in the days of the ancient Greeks, or Romans, or Chinese, or Japanese. But this does not mean that the idea of a sacred place does not have a place in our time or in our lives. We believe that the idea of the temple—even if it originates as a private affair—connects to a much larger public. This is why “we” by inviting “the larger public” to visit us dare claim this private temple to be “ours”.

Our “Melnays Jahnis” is a temple still in its developmental stages. One of our “developments” are the trees. We have planted and are still planting trees all around the property. Some of the trees are still under the grass, so to speak, but in ten and twenty years time, the appearance of the temple should change substantially.

Our private temple is dedicated to our private faith, each his and her alone. This writer has his own, and it is inevitable that I will share with the reader some of my ideas and theology. A private temple is, after all, also a personal temple. On the other hand, no visitor is in any way asked to “buy” my beliefs or orientation even as the management may be so rude and ask you for a donation or entrance fee. “Melnays Jahnis” is a temple garden which makes (or if you will, makes-believe) the land it occupies to be sacred. We validate our claim by dedicating it to Nature, more specifically to Trees, Trees which are alive and Trees which are no more, Trees which are growing as we speak and Trees which have been sawed down and not replanted.

As circumstances will have it, we are located in what is known as a "biosphere reserve"  . The biosphere reserves are under the auspices of UNESCO. Specifically, we are within the boundaries of the North Vidzeme Biosphere Reserve.

We plan to keep you informed of our developments, ideas, and events.

“Melnays Jahnis” is located at the “Ceļmalnieki” estate. You may reach us by way of Valmiera. Take the road from Valmiera to Matishi. When in Matishi take the road to Aloya (left). When at Vilzeni (a small village with a crossroad) turn right and drive about 6 km toward the Old Braslava center. You will soon reach an oak lined alley. Several hundred meters down this alley you will see (on the right) a sign that reads “Matishi” and “MELNAYS JĀNIS”. Drive about a 1½ km. We are on the right hand side of the road. Please park on the road. Enter under the sign that reads Melnays Jānis….

If you live in Latvia or come to Latvia, please be sure to visit us. We prefer Saturday and Sunday visits. There is a gong (or soon will be) near the entrance. Please hit it several times with the hammer provided if no one is around. Some information about Melnays Jānis may be found at the entrance sign.

Forest News
For the curious: We take the name of our temple from the name Jahnis. This is a cognate of John, Johann, Ivan, Huan, Giovanni, etc. While there is no definite proof of it, we believe that the name "pagan" originates from Jahnis prefixed with a "pa-" + Janis, re "pa-gan". The word "gans" in Latvian means herder. Thus, pa-gan (originally pa-jahnis) is meant to belittle John by making him a lesser John, a lesser herder. Lesser to whom? You figure it out.

Full or partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline+ Forum Home + Open Forum – The-Not-Voter. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author http://esoschronicles.blogspot.com/, http://melnaysjanis.blogspot.com/, or http://the-not-voter.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cut it down, cut it down!
Yesterday, July 13, 2010, traveling from Riga to Valmiera, I noted that the deforestation which I noted last fall and this spring, is turning these areas--thanks to the +30C heat--into a desert of grey sand an dry brush.

Sitting high in my bus seat, and thus able to look beyond and through the row of trees that flank the highway, one can see vast areas of just such a desert.

This morning this revealing article at the DELFI fortal (in Latvian) about the further deforestation of Latvia.

Note the letters accompanying the article. At least a half are from people who wish to see Latvia deforested, that is to say, these letters are more or less plants (no not real trees) to confuse the reader's mind. The Temple of Black John (Melnays Jānis) is opposed this "strip mining" of Latvia.

The photo below is our symbol of the saw-(ac)ross the tree's heart.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The "private temple" that I am suggesting that Latvians build to develop their tourist industry has its roots not only in the history of temples of earlier times, but also in the garden as a temple. Here is a story in the NYT about Sissinghurst Castle in England. It is worth while to read also the comments of the readers.

Latvians should find it worth their while to remember their Wandering Teachers, the Johns, in whose honor they celebrate Johns Eve on Midsummer's Eve. Might not the remembrance be honored with a temple, designed in contemporary style?

It is a mystery to this blogger why Latvians should think that visiting old buildings of long forgotten barons is of more interests to foreign tourists or, for that matter, to themselves than building temples to Johns to renew not only the economic foundations of their country, but something of their own heritage. Else, the victory belongs to Pop culture, and the Latvian people prove themselves to be broke in more ways than one.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The director of the tourist branch of the Latvian Ministry of Economics, Marina Pankova, does not think that Latvia will attract as many tourists as, say, Turkey. Says Pankova: "We [Latvia] will never be the goal of tourists." See here.

How sad to see and hear such assertions from bureaucrats without an imagination. This is why this question to the reader:

Would Latvia attract tourists if Latvia has a thousand temples?
We say: Of course, it would.

Would a thousand temples in Latvia built as sacred places honoring nature attract tourists to Latvia? Of course tourists would come to see. We at Black Johns (Melnays Jānis) believe that they would in fact come in great numbers.

But it takes a ministry filled with lively people rather than dundurheads to make it happen.

First comes the idea, then the encouragement to realize it (say, tax relief), then the building of it.

The Latvian countryside would benefit 1000 x!

So, why can the Prince of Wales support the English countryside, but Latvians cannot promote theirs?

As the man said to the new recruit: You are here so that I can change your attitude.