123 Meme

This meme has been making the rounds. I’m not certain how I feel about the relevance of posting three sentences from a nearby book (and skipping the five preceding sentences), but what the heck.

I’ve been tagged by The Friendly Humanist for a new blog meme. Here are the rules:

  1. Pick up the book nearest you with at least 123 pages. (No cheating!)
  2. Turn to page 123.
  3. Count the first five sentences.
  4. Post the next three sentences.
  5. Tag five other bloggers.

The book nearest me with at least 123 pages is a book I’ve had in queue for at least 10 years. I pulled it off the shelf the other day to think about reading it (so little time, so many books). Here are the sentences:

R’tu enabled the sisterly cooperation and dietary control women needed to successfully bear larger-brained babies. R’tu braided the mental, physical, and spiritual together in ever-expanding spirals of cultural expression. We thus led ourselves along the course of our evolution by enacting consciousness.

This begs the question: What is R’tu?

It’s a Sanskrit word. If Wikipedia is correct, it means:

Ritu (?tĂș) in Vedic Sanskrit refers to a fixed or appointed time, especially the proper time for sacrifice (yajna) or ritual in Vedic Religion. The word is so used in the Rigveda, the Yajurveda and the Atharvaveda. In Classical Sanskrit, it refers to an epoch or period, especially one of the six seasons of the year, Vasanta “spring”, Grishma “the hot season”, Varsha “the rainy season”, Sharad “autumn”, Hemant “winter”; and Shishir “the cool season”, or the menstrual cycle.

This link doesn’t define it, but it gives a sense of the concept’s importance in Sanskrit literature.

The book I used for the meme is Blood, Bread, and Roses: How Menstruation Created the World. Here is how the author defines the term.

Ritual, fromt Sanskrit r’tu, is any act of magic toward a purpose. Rita, means a proper course. Ri, meaning birth, is the root of red, pronounced “reed” in Old English and still in some modern English accents (New Zealand). R’tu means menstrual, suggesting that ritual began as menstrual acts. The root of r’tu is in “arithmetic” and “rhythm”; I hear it also in “art,” “theater,” and perhaps in “root” as well. The Sanskrit term is still alive in India, where goddess worship continues to keep r’tu alive in its menstrual senses; r’tu also refers to special acts of heterosexual intercourse immediately following menstruation, and also to specific time of year.

This should be an interesting book. The author, Judy Grahn, is an American poet, was a member of the Gay Women’s Liberation Group, helped establish The Women’s Press Collective in 1969, and is co-director of the Women’s Spirituality MA program and Program Director of the MFA in Creative Inquiry at the New College of California.

As for tagging others, I’m copping out on this one. I barely have the energy to finish this post, and I’d like to eat dinner. Besides, I don’t want to wear out my welcome with friends and recently tagged five people for another meme. If you want to play along, feel free, and leave a comment.

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