Spes

In his Going Postal, Terry Pratchett calls hope “the greatest of all treasures”, words that are in my Postal Oracle, which I’m still fine-tuning. And in the spirit of review and adjustment of my fasti, I’m thinking of adding an annual feast to Spes, perhaps even using the sacrifice I have at the end of the year. I’ve been dedicating it to Bonus Eventus, but given that His role overlaps with that of Mercury, I may subsume the former into the latter and have yet another day of tribute to Maia’s son, perhaps coupled with a sacrifice to Spes. After all, the date is appropriate: it’s the darkest time of the year, but already it contains the seed of summer, so one hopes the sun and warmth will return; it’s the last day of December, so hopefully the New Year will be a good one; there’s even a Portuguese link to it, since Bartolomeu Dias arrived back in Lisbon from the Cape of Good Hope in December. And speaking of travellers, why not a cult of Spes Mercurialis, the Hope of Wayfarers? I hope your journey goes well, I hope nothing bad happens, I hope you come back safe. Though having two feasts to Spes isn’t a bad idea either, one for Her mercurial side on the final day of the year and another for Her alone, maybe in October, when winter is approaching, sunlight is retreating and one hopes things will turn out well, that we’ll get through the dark days and see each other on the other side of it.

All of this because yesterday I listened to Madredeus’ Oxalá, a song that I haven’t heard in a long time. And yes, the title is that word that comes from the Arab insha’Allah or “God willing” and is all about hope, be it on smaller or greater things. I leave you with it and its lyrics while I ponder about the matter.

Oxalá me passe a dor de cabeça, oxalá
Oxalá o passo não me esmoreça

Oxalá o Carnaval aconteça, oxalá
Oxalá o povo nunca se esqueça

Oxalá eu não ande sem cuidado
Oxalá eu não passe um mau bocado
Oxalá eu não faça tudo à pressa
Oxalá meu Futuro aconteça

Oxalá que a vida me corra bem, oxalá
Oxalá que a tua vida também

Oxalá o Carnaval aconteça, oxalá
Oxalá o povo nunca se esqueça

Oxalá o tempo passe, hora a hora
Oxalá que ninguém se vá embora
Oxalá se aproxime o Carnaval
Oxalá tudo corra menos mal

I hope the headache goes away, I hope
I hope my step doesn’t falter

I hope Carnival happens, I hope
I hope the people never forgets

I hope I don’t walk carelessly
I hope I don’t go through a bad time
I hope I don’t do everything in a hurry
I hope my future happens

I hope my life goes well, I hope
I hope your life, too

I hope Carnival happens, I hope
I hope the people never forgets

I hope time goes by, hour by hour
I hope no one leaves
I hope Carnival draws closer
I hope everything goes less badly

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A man died, a god was born

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Today, David Bowie died at the age 69. He was already a star when I was born and he impacted my life. Some of the songs I grew up with were his, some of tunes and lyrics that still resonate in my mind since my childhood and teens have Bowie’s voice. Not to mention his role in the 1986 movie Labyrinth . And I’m not alone in this. He was truly an artistic giant, multifaceted and multigenerational, a source of inspiration for bands, singers and fashions we all too often take for granted. He paved the way and rose to the stars. So by joining his ancestors, he becomes more than an awesome household god for his family. His influence vibrates far beyond the domestic walls and reaches millions – past, present and future. In many ways, we stand on his shoulders. And by his death, natural and inevitable, a god was born.

So hail, David Bowie! Hail, Artistic Lar! Thank for you your work, thank you for your magic! May you shine bright and bless us with inspiration for generations to come!