Logographing the Moon

Baybayin script calligraphy: logographing “buwan” (moon; ᜊᜓᜏᜈ᜔). “ang buwan at ang mga bituin na iyong inayos” (Psalm 8: 3-4). This is a continuation of my series of calligraphy pieces in Baybayin script (ancient, Filipino writing system) to examine the meaning and aesthetic of one word or phrase in Tagalog. The combining of Baybayin alphasyllabic letters into an aesthetic whole, I have coined this neologism, Logographing. (© 2017 Henry Del Rosario)


Many poems of indigenous Filipino tribes contain imagery of the moon. Below is a poem (ambahan) of the Hanunoo people from Antoon Postma’s Treasure of a Minority (Ambahan 198).  It is about strong friendship, a theme very significant to Filipino culture.

Look! The moon so full and bright,
Shining in front of the house!
How can you explain to me,
that the rays are soft and cool?
If a man like us he were,
I would hold him by the hand!
Seize the hair to keep him back!
Grasp the clothes to make him stay!
But how could I manage that!
It is the moon in the sky!
The full moon shining so bright,
going down beyond the hills,
disappearing from the plain
out of sight behind the rocks.
Anong si kanaw bulan
Sinmalhag sa rantawan
Kabiton lugod ginan
Salhag mabalaw diman
No ga tawo di ngaran
Kang way inunyawidan
Buhok ngatay tawidan
Palaylay ngatay huytan
Unhunon sab araw man
Tida ti kanaw bulan
Tida kuramo diman
May bantod pagpaday-an
May ratag pagrun-ugan
May ili pag-alikdan

Moon Mindful

I have been using my free time lately reading about mindfulness, the history of Zen Buddhism, indigenous mythology, and decolonization. Here is a fantastic bible verse that strikes me as a mash-up of meditation and worship.

English (ESV)
Tagalog (ADB1905 & FSV)
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Pagka binubulay ko ang iyong mga langit,
ang gawa ng iyong mga daliri,
ang buwan at ang mga bituin na iyong inayos;
Ano ang tao upang iyong alalahanin siya?
At ang anak ng tao, upang iyong dalawin siya?

In Christianity, Lectio Divina (Latin for “Divine Reading”), is a meditational practice that treats scripture as texts to reflect on rather than theologically analyze. Dissecting and building a theological understanding is important, but spending time to “be with” God is just as vital— Lectio Divina is a method that can be helpful in that purpose.

As we contemplate and ponder on this text, I find it wonderful that the author imagines how God ponders us! 


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