E is for Elixirs of Exuberance—A to Z Blog Challenge

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Hope & Healing…folktales around the world that beat back viruses. Each post highlights one or more balms to soothe and cure our struggles of today with oral tradition and lore of the past. At times, a post will make a connection to history. You can guess what inspired this theme. Yes, the COVID-19. What better time to delve into tales where things can and do turn out “happily ever after”?

Elixirs of Exuberance

From Japan-

The hermits in this story are from the mountains, which are likely the Yamabushi known for supernatural powers. The sacred mountains Kumano and Omine could be the mountains where Isamu found the hermits.

50-word-or-less summary:

Isamu sought hermits who created Elixir of Life. Hermits said Isamu was too selfish. Sent to land with no death. Everybody ate poison hoping to die. Isamu flown over sea. Fell! Shark! Isamu wished life! Hermits said he had no spiritual strength. Given book of wisdom. Became kind. Died happy.

Version of The Elixir of Life story: https://www.uexpress.com/tell-me-a-story/2017/4/23/the-elixir-of-life-a-japanese

Compare to History:

Modern-day hermits in Japan are known as hikikomori. Over half 1 million prefer are choosing to self isolate. This was before COVID-19. Japanese psychologist Tamaki Saito used “hikikomori” to describe the people and the condition back in 1998. This has increased as people interact without connection with the real world. The face-to-face and video chat are still possible for people to fight depression. Perhaps Isamu needs to return the book of wisdom to these hermits. Let us create the Elixir of Life and reach out in whatever way we are able—whether that be by phone or computer or face-to-face.

More on the History: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamabushi and https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190129-the-plight-of-japans-modern-hermits

From China-

Magu became Goddess of Hemp with healing powers. Though, she had many tools and techniques, and this story focuses on peaches.

50-word-or-less summary:

Magu, poor seamstress, was paid with peach. Gave peach to woman poorer than her. Headed home to give same woman porridge. Took too long and locked in her room by father. Next day Magu couldn’t find woman except peach pit. Magu planted pit. Peach tree had healing powers. Magu immortalized.

Finding the Story: https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-asia/magu-hemp-goddess-who-healed-ancient-asia-008709

Compare to History:

Peaches originated from China over 4000 years ago. In the 1980s, a peach tree was found in Tibet that was 1000 years old with a 30 foot circumference. In China, giving the gift of a peach was blessing that person with long life. Within the saga “Journey to the West,” the Monkey King traveled to the Peach Garden of the Heavenly Queen Mother. These peaches gave the gift of immortality.

More on the History: https://www.whiterabbitinstituteofhealing.com/herbs/peach/ and https://www.clemson.edu/extension/peach/commercial/rootstocks/chinese-peaches-past-and-present.html

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings in process of being adapted due to COVID-19. Our postponed Festival is now scheduled for May 12, 2021 with other plans that can be seen here: https://storycrossroads.org/contingency-plans-covid-19/ or http://www.storycrossroads.org/virtual.

We thank our funders such as National Endowment for the Arts, Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, Zoo, Arts & the Parks of Salt Lake County (ZAP), City of Murray, Salt Lake City Arts Council, and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support by donating today!

2 thoughts on “E is for Elixirs of Exuberance—A to Z Blog Challenge

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