So, I finally finished the ritual to where I could share it with my group so they have a chance to read it and really help them get a sense of the whos, whats, wheres, whens, whys and hows of the whole thing.

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Now, while I’ll admit I still have a few more lines of verse to create (and Frater Superabo and I still need to work out the details of the invocation) it’s enough so everyone knows what they’re “in for”. The current draft is pushing 50 pages, but a great deal of it is exposition, not performance, so it’s naturally better to have read first before going in, as I also plan to have “cheat sheets” for everyone else’s parts (which will be quite simple). I’ve written it with, I dunno, posterity in mind or something… maybe I’ll share it after we’ve had a chance to perform it and I make all the tweaks I’m sure I’ll want to do after.

Brother Alex has also sent me the list and write-ups on the five different teas he’ll be bringing and preparing for the five main operations (Health, Peace, Joy, Strength, and Wealth) on Saturday. We really will be privileged with a unique, and in many respects, unprecedented opportunity, and I’m very grateful to him for sharing his expertise and treasures with us.

And they were too good not to share.

  1. Health : Hand-rolled Budset Alishan Biluochun Liu Cha (Green Snail Spring)

    I wanted to kick things off with something special, so I decided to go with a bright, fragrant, anti-oxidant packed green tea. What makes this tea so special, beyond it’s typical characteristics and quality, is the fact that every step in its processing, from picking to finishing, was done by me. It’s the only tea that I, myself, actually crafted from start to finish, and so, it’s my personal offering to the group. I plucked only the topmost, youngest tea buds, and created a single batch of high quality green tea, that I think will really help to get things going.

    2. Peace : Tie Luo Han Wuyi Shan Oolong Yan Cha (Iron Arhat)

    This tea is a Chinese Oolong, from Wuyi mountain, it grows from bushes that sprout out of rocks in the mountainside, which garners the name Yan Cha (Rock Tea). This is a lightly roasted, gently sweet, and fragrant oolong tea, from the same family as the tea I prepared for you couple weeks ago. I chose this particular tea for to represent peace, due it’s juxtaposition of a delicate, yet sturdy, practically ascetic nature. Due to this teas particular ability to balance and harmonize opposite characteristics in such a masterful way, it’s been named “Iron Arhat”, Iron being one of the sturdiest metals and Arhat referring to a Buddhist monk, or holy one, who has attained Nirvana. What better tea could be used to represent the virtue of peace?

    3. Joy : Ancient Tree Feng Qing Dianhong Cha

    I thought this tea would fit well with “Joy” because of it’s flavor profile and what it represents, particularly to me. Dianhongs make up a very special and unique category of black teas that come directly from Yunnan province in southern China. Feng Qing, being the town most historically well known for the best quality of dianhong cultivation. This tea has a natural sweetness to it, sometimes likened to “burnt sugar”. It has a thick mouthfeel, and slight hints of natural chocolate flavors and fruit such as apricot or mellow citrus fruit. This Dianhong is harvested strictly from Ancient trees, all of which are at the least 300 years old, giving it a rich depth. Dianhong teas are actually my personal favorite type of tea, which is why I decided to choose such a special variety for joy. Not to mention the fact that it’s luscious natural flavors are most reminiscent to other sweet foods that bring people enjoyment.

    4. Strength : 1990 Shou Puerh Cha

    This tea is absolutely perfect to represent strength because of it’s flavor profile and characteristics, as well as it’s sheer age. Puerh tea is the only type of tea which is fermented, rather than oxidized, giving it very different qualities than your typical cup of tea. Shou (Cooked) puerh in particular is baked in order for rapid oxidation, which gives the tea a very strong earthy flavor, as well as making it extremely dark, similar in color to black coffee. Because the tea is fermented as opposed to oxidized, it ages phenomenally, and the greater the age the more mature the tea, and therefore, the higher the price. This rare Shou puerh, being from 1990, is now 26 years old, creating a strong, but wonderfully mellow and balanced mature tea. This tea, however, because of it’s difference in manufacturing, can be a bit of an acquired taste for some who are not so used to drinking “earthy” tea. I would not be surprised if some people are not so taken by this tea, but I would like it to be regarded moreso as a strength elixir for our ritual purposes, some may not like the taste, but the effects are what we’re after, and most strengthening concoctions typically sacrifice taste for effectiveness. I think it makes it makes for a fantastically appropriate tea given the category.

    5. Wealth : Gaoshan Nantou Jin Xuan Oolong Cha (High Mountain Milk Oolong)

    This tea is everything you would want for a proper finale, and representation for carrying wealth. This tea is incredibly rare, literally impossible to get outside of Taiwan, and even difficult to get inside Taiwan. Painstakingly crafted over a period of 4 months by an old tea Master, high in the mountains of Nantou, Taiwan, this tea takes on depth in a way unlike any other tea I have had the honor to drink. It’s very likely that this decadent tea will be, by far, the highest quality and rarest tea any person taking part in this event will ever have the chance to taste. This tea holds such majesty, that upon drinking, it seems to instantly ground you in the moment, begetting reverence in a manner not unlike the divine. It’s sweet, yet curiously savory, flavor embodies the very concept of “umami” and practically dances throughout the mouth of the drinker. It’s thick, almost milky, liquor baptizes the tongue in it’s regality, and unites ones senses with the divine.

I think it’s safe to say we’re all in for something special.

 

Monday 2/15/16

Sun: Aquarius

Moon: Gemini

For my disclosure on this or any of my post or pages… please visit my Disclosure page.

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