I took #5 into the desert about a month ago, driving about 1,000 miles (round trip) to the Warner Valley area in eastern Oregon’s outback. At first I had intended to camp on Hart Mt. itself but the hot springs were closed due to sequestration (despite being an unmonitored primitive camp ground). So instead I found myself driving another hour south, to Fisher Hot Springs where before her death my sister would often go for vision quests because of the extreme isolation. Out of the unintended came the purpose of the trip, as it were: placing the vessel in the hot flow of the spring, I drank.
Is there a dark side to the gift? I almost feel my sister died so I could live.
Lewis Hyde is comprehensive in his treatment, mentioning that there is no ‘free gift,’ but then there’s Bataille and the whole concept of expenditure:
“We need to give away, lose or destroy. But the gift would be senseless (and so we would never decide to give) if it did not take on the meaning of an acquisition. Hence giving must become acquiring of power. Gift-giving has the virtue of surpassing of the subject who gives, but in exchange for the object given, the subject appropriates the surpassing: He regards his virtue, that which he had the capacity for, as an asset, as a power that he now posses. He enriches himself with a contempt for riches, and what he proves to be miserly of is in fact his generosity.” Bataille, from _The Accursed Share,_ (v1, 69)
“It is not enough for our left hand not to know what the right hand gives: Clumsily, it tries to take it back”
Soon it will be time to send the vessels onward. Even in the absence I anticipate, will the power then remain? What will I seek to take back, even against my own will? The stranger knows me better than I know myself.
I’ve kept the vessel too long.
I admire the many people who quickly passed on their vessels, who had no difficulty identifying someone else to receive the gift.
On New Year’s day, it slipped from my wife’ hand. The rim fell against the floor and chipped.
I gathered the fragments and kept them in the bowl for a few days, unable to communicate the loss, wondering who will want the vessel now? The booklet seemed prepared for such contingencies: mail it back, it suggested. But that too seemed like a loss. Stasis set in.
Now five weeks have passed and at last I have someone in mind that won’t mind the flaw and will cherish the piece. MG: looking forward to your experience with #5.
Number 5 has a different rim than numbers 1-4. Gazing at the thumbnails of all 108, it’s possible to imagine a gradual evolution of form. Number 5 is the first loosening, the first foray into variation of the rim. The smoothness of the edge that characterizes 1-4 is momentarily set aside to explore a rough, feathery, uneven edge. This roughness returns in numbers 8,10,18,22,25,26,35,42,68 (a bit restrained),71 (ditto),and 105.
No. 5 is no longer in my possession but thanks to LL has been restored before passage to MG.
I am the current caretaker for Patra #5, honored by my friends David Francis and Lesley Zavar. I am writing this from the coastal town of Sayulita, Mexico where the image of Patra #5 has joined me on this calming journey. I couldn’t risk taking it with me as it has been repaired once, and from the photo you can see, quite beautifully.
What are the whereabouts of No. 5 now? You’ve probably passed it along by now, Myra?
The street-level shrines were ubiquitous in Hong Kong during our 5-month stay. Every shop, every corner, often with fresh fruit and always with a vessel and incense.
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