Friday, April 12, 2013

Blessed Pussy Wiillow

On Saturday night, 

eve of the feast day 

of the 'Entrance of the Lord 

into Jerusalem'

("Palm Sunday") 

Orthodox churches welcome

foliage in their services.




Worshippers bring

what flowers they may, 

and especially branches 

of pussy willow.


Like the people of Jerusalem

those centuries ago,

the Orthodox  

greet Christ 

with tree branches. 
(in Church Slavonic "s vaiyami")








Of course, 

Russia has no palm trees. 

The local trees they do enjoy,

do not leaf so early in the 

legendary climate. 


Only the pussy willow 

shares her tender catkins.



And so, the pussy willow 

is an especial emblem 

of Spring,

 
A featured solo 


in the season's theme 


of spiritual rebirth. 









Modest pussy willow

cheers the people,

hails a King,
 
but her tender leaves 

of green 

bloom only later. 


Royal velvet

soothes eye, 

and touch, 

especially

after winter's

harshness. 
 

But pussy hides 

her mystical side. 


Green Leaves, 

and the tender business 

of keeping on,

are as yet 

but promised 

resurrection; 

Like the very day's 

feast, 

soon eclipsed 

in anguish

(killing frost)

and then 

Exceeding Joy.


Part of the evening's service,

is a ritual blessing

of the pussy willows. 


The Gospel is read,

and then,

in that rarified space,

the clergy who are present 

cense the pussy willows 

with blessed Orthodox incense,
 
read a specific prayer,

then bless the branches,

the catkins, 

with holy water. 




I cannot 

but think 

that these are 

happy words
to the faithful:


 "These pussy willows

 are being blessed,

through the grace of the All-Holy Spirit, 
by the sprinkling of this holy water, 
in the name of the Father and the Son 
and the Holy Spirit. Amen!"



Usually the blessing is repeated

on the next day 

of the feast itself. 



Then the blessed 

pussy willows 

are lovingly 

brought home,

and reverently 

appreciated,
 
as a sign of God's 

'Penetrating Grace

even until 

the following year 

when the old branches

are burned.



In some communities, 

they are used instead

as the stuffing 

of special pillows, 

upon which the heads 

of pious Orthodox Christians

rest in their coffins.  


 



How Good, and Right, 

and Joyful it is, 

to celebrate nature

as the pageant of wisdom

and sustenance that she is.




Celebrate Creation

Honor the Creator

too awestruck 

to argue

questions too big

for right now.








Thanks for spending time here with us!
                                  Your friend, cloudia

22 comments:

Laurie Mcknight said...

sigh,,,,,,,,,,,, this was lovely, a great read for the start of my day, thank you,

Brian Miller said...

too awestruck to argue...i rather like that...and some interesting stuff on the pussy willow...as i dont think i knew that...

aloha from va

Charles Gramlich said...

I remember when we used to burn palm to calm storms. My mom was a strong believer in that.

TexWisGirl said...

did not know that about pussy willows.

Cloudia said...

Thanks, Dears :-)

rosaria williams said...

Ah, something new to add texture to our rituals.

LOLfromPasa said...

I will remember this...! Thank you, Cloudia.

Karen S. said...

Wow, what a wonderful bit of joy you have shared with us! Peace-Karen

Adam said...

wonderful post

Betty Manousos said...

this was lovely to read and see.
how interesting about pussy willow.

xoxo

a huge alohaaaa!!!

Robert Geiss said...

We had our son baptized on Palm Sunday. Thank you for the memories.

Please have you all a good weekend.

LONDONLULU said...

Ah, very lovely, Cloudia...

Anonymous said...

I thought pussy willow was a winter something. I think they're little buds of cattails, which are fun to play with. Nice "flashy" photo of our flashy friend. aloha, DrumMajor

Elephant's Child said...

Such a beautiful plant - nice to hear of it being honoured.

Cloudia said...

Thanks, pals

King of New York Hacks said...

I saw some for sale in Union Square the other day,and I couldn't think of the name and just kept walking in a rush...but it bothered me...because I remember my mother always bringing them home once a year...fascinating as usual CC...Aloha from NYC my friend. :)

Bob Bushell said...

Pussy Willows are beautiful, well taken Cloudia.

magiceye said...

Fascinating!!

Namaste /\ from Mumbai
Aloha!

Couture Carrie said...

Very cool ~ I did not know this!

Happy weekend, darling!

xoxox,
CC

PerthDailyPhoto said...

It's always fun coming here Cloudia, and now I'm looking forward to the glimpse of yourself each day :)

ladyfi said...

Those sunny leaves are magical!

Kay said...

I loved pussy willows on the mainland. I didn't know about any of this history. LOVE that photo of you, Cloudia.