Thursday, February 23, 2012

№ 69. Next Best Thing

If we can't fly to New York, we'll settle with this small gem: A curated tour.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

№ 66. The Art of Divination in Bangaan: Orpi



Every February, when green seedlings of mountain rice have already sprouted from the nursery, the Ifugao farmers of Bangaan, Banaue in Northern Philippines begin the long ritual of transplanting them to the terraces. Water, a plentiful resource from the slopes of the mountain, flow through a network of irrigation channels carved on the sides of the terraces. Fresh water makes the fertile soil yield to the manual labor of sowing the tender roots of the grass.


On this occasion, the village, through their priest, the Mumbaki, and the elders, gathers to perform a communal ceremony of song, dance, sacrifice, prayer and hepatomancy. Hepatomancy is a form of divination also practiced by the Babylonians where the liver, the "source of blood" and the "base of life", is examined to discover the divine will. The priest is specially trained to interpret the "signs" of the liver.(1)