Sunday, October 25, 2009

[Hypothetical Poetry] Vastu Poetics

A few years ago there was a push among the culture vultures to present the Indian approach to space arrangement, Vastu. This was a different perspective to consider in comparison to the Chinese arrangement system of Feng Shui. Both essentially channel the flow of cosmic energies for the benefit of an individual or family's fortunes. And blame misfortune on a badly placed couch.

There's all sorts of magical mumbo-jumbo and lingo that gets discussed, infinite testimonies and contradictory results and data and typical efforts to strip out the metaphysical principles of Hindu beliefs to create a secular novelty commodity that will typically last in most households until the next mystic fad comes along.

Does it really work for living spaces? I haven't tried it. My approach to space arrangement is: Do it so you don't trip on things and you can find most of your stuff easily. From an arts perspective, I appreciate looking at new ideas and how one might take on Vastu poetics. I don't think anyone has but I imagine it goes like this:

A page or canvas is seen as a representation of the firmament, waiting to be anchored down by different spirits or concepts. A perfect square is the best, but any page would do, for practical purposes, and one would conceive of the space mostly as a 3x3 grid.

One common sense of that grid is:
The uppermost row would be attributed to Air, Prosperity (Health and Wealth) and Water. This row would be where inquiries begin, as the Air element is connected to indecisiveness or constant motion. The conventional belief is Water is connected with serenity and depth, flow and possibility, among other things.

The middle row has properties of Darkness and Mystery, Space and the ethereal, and Light connected to it. A poet engaging Vastu poetics uses the center of the page, the poem to present unifying concepts. This is the heart where energy collects and radiates outward- the center should be as open and spacious as possible.

The lower row references the elements of Earth, the cycle of life, death and duty, and finally Fire or electricity and energy. This row is associated with wisdom and emotional strength, responsibility, and spiritual and physical transformations.

Notably, an alternate version sees it as:
Top row: Wind and Air. Wealth. Faith and the unknown.
Middle row: Water. Space/Spirit. Light.
Lower row: History or Earth. Life and Death. Fire.
There's a slight difference in this arrangement. Less helpfully, this changes depending on the time of the year if you're going all out to explore this.  This is all theoretical. I don't know if any poet has consciously worked, especially in English, to write poems structured or influenced in such a way.

Basic Vastu poetics would probably prefer triplets over couplets. Possibly nine syllables or nine-word lines. Books with nine sections or chapters. A poet might try to keep in mind their general ayurvdic type- pitta, kapha or vata and tie that in to their approach. I imagine a perfect book would thus be 81 pages. 9 chapters of 9 poems each, one of a total of 9 volumes.

Advanced Vastu poetics would undoubtedly ultimately point towards transcendence and seeing beyond dualities and polar opposites and interrelations towards the overall unification of the whole cosmos at physical, spiritual and intellectual levels, thus at a certain level of achieved understanding you can throw all of this out and make art.

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