As you can see from the above, there is information about the Babaylan Mandala on the left side of the postcard, and a complimentary note from Leny on the right side. I decided to cover the messages with some post-its as I liked the idea of messages waiting to be discerned. I used fuschia-ish post-its as I wanted to integrate a vibrant color—Babaylans are often colorful , after all…
At this point, when I closed the book, the fuschia pages stuck out beyond the edges of the book cover.
Initially, I thought to trim the pages, but then decided to leave them sticking out. It’s an idea I recall from a chapbook by marvelous poet j/j hastain which I once reviewed. I left the pages long for the same reason I interpreted the elongated pages in j/j's chap: that the book contains something whose expanse is so large it cannot be contained within a book’s borders; I wrote in the review, “It’s as if the cover cannot contain what is inside.”
The Babaylan Mandala would be split by the book’s spine in order to be the first and last images seen by the reader.
We then open the book, first to see the first half of the Babaylan Mandala and the first half of of the postcard text about the Babaylan Mandala (which I'll replicate below):
After reading the text on the Babaylan Mandala, the reader then can pull the fuschia-colored tab to see the Igorot tribal dance:
The reader folds the page then turns it over to the next page
After reading, the reader can pull the fuschia-colored tab to see the mermaid:
The following is the text read by the reader, taken from the postcard:
Babaylan MandalaBy Perla Paredes DalyThe Babaylan Mandala represents YOU, your soul and existence in the cosmos and your connection with all of Creation. YOU are the Bahala tree of life at the center, shown with sacred numbers… symbols of the elements the Seen and Unseen, the macrocosm and microcosm… and Philippine baybayin symbols of KA and BA, HA and LA. All these symbols have metaphorical meanings that I share with you and that you too can discern for yourself. It is a message from our ancestors that I convey through symbolism, instead of words.The Babaylan Mandala can be used as a meditation tool for “pagbabalikloob” or return to “Loob” (Inner, True or Higher Self). The image is meant to be contemplative so that you can connect with the metaphoric details and the whole. It is a visual device to enable you to look inwards, realize and live from your True self and to find “pakikipagkawa” or connection to the Cosmos and to the Divine source that sparks all of Life, that exists within all humans, all creatures and all of Creation. This journey may empower you to be whole and in harmony with all your “kapwa” and the Earth.
For those of you interested in finding out more about the Philippine Babaylan, there is much information in the internet on the Babaylans. You might also click on the link to Leny's book, , Babaylan: Filipinos and the Call of the Indigenous.
And now, where oh where shall we “shelve” The Call of the Babaylan Mandala by Perla Paredes Daly? But of course, it should be placed lovingly on the coffee table of the narra sala set from the Philippines!