Kublai Kahn’s birthday, 1215 AD, was yesterday. Happy Birthday, Sir. He was a grandson of Genghis Kahn who had unified Mongolia and parts of northern China. After a haphazard power struggle when Genghis died, Kublai eventually became the Grand Khan.
During the turmoil of accession, Kublai conquered the Sung Dynasty, in southern China, a huge, fractured nation. With time, Kublai, who was one shrewd ruler, adapted the Chinese to Mongolian ways, and vice versa. Kublai created a new form for governing, mixing local experts and aristocrats with Mongol forces, to create a more organized environment. Kublai also called his realm the Yuan Dynasty, a nod to the Chinese, who numbered in the millions.
The Yuan came to be the largest contiguous Empire in history. Kublai’s game-changing methods are felt to this day.
YIR Readers have noticed that We skipped Post 2183 last week. An error at best and a disgrace at worst. An office hunt for the elusive 2183 has been a flop.
Because Rhinos are lacking, numerically speaking, We feel the shortcoming keenly. Yet, We plunge ahead, with many resolutions of Future Excellence (secretly gulping, and muttering, “We hope”.)
Please understand: We do make lists, and keep track, and look serious, but Rhinos are not wired for Organization. It’s not our thing. We make do, in this as in many other areas in Life. As We say, Plunging Ahead.
Today We remind you about Nasir-i Khusrau, a famous Persian Muslim philosopher and writer. In 1046, age 42, he responded to a dream urging him to go to Mecca; shortly he set out on a trek of 15 thousand miles, taking 7 years. He was seeking wisdom, experience, and spiritual enlightenment, ultimately visiting Mecca four times before returning home.
Nasir-i Khusrau was a diligent diarist; his detailed account of his travels is the basis for a modern understanding of the medieval Middle East. His ‘Book of Travels’ (The Safar-nama) remains a Muslim source of pride. It is available in translation and in the original Persian.
Rhinos are all for a Spirit of Inquiry, immersion in intellectual evaluation, enhanced by wise folk all along the path, though few have had a path quite as amazing as Nasir-i Khusrau!
Today is Wednesday, named for the king of the Norse gods, Wotan. A difficult diety to like, but a figurehead for a people who had few romantic illusions.
In an effort to gain Wisdom, Wotan had sacrificed his eye. Thus he lost vision but gained Greater Insight, a grim but poetic trade-off. With him are shown Huginn and Munn, ravens that daily informed Wotan of all they had seen. Also there sit Geri and Freki, Wotan’s companions. Power under control, measured and remorseless.
Thus YIR ends this day-at-a-glance series, begun on August 25.
Today We focus our attention on Alexander von Humboldt, a Prussian born in 1769. His accomplishments as a Naturalist are astounding and his influence can’t be calculated. He wrote, he studied, he pondered how the World works. He never specialized in the modern sense, but was interested in all areas of study, paying close attention to the interactions of one area, say botany, on another, say ocean temperatures. He traveled extensively, but not to tour, but to deduce how all the elements form an organic Whole.
The modern perception of Nature is due to his work and writings. He stressed the need of the scientist to go into the field and study. In 1799 he went for 5 years to Latin America; nothing was safe from his interest, particularly, in his case, volcanoes. He became a public figure, speaking, writing, discussing with anybody who knew anything new. He was Interested!
He did not invent Restless Energy, but he was a poster boy for it. In fact, in 1805 he predicted the problems in store for humanity caused by reckless abuse of the Earth.
Sol and her brother Mani were born before Norse Time got started. When the Planets and stars were invented, the twins were assigned to pull the Sun and Moon across the sky. Mani (see Sept. 7) took the Moon and Sol took the Sun. Daunting Jobs indeed, say We Rhinos.
At dawn, Sol takes her two horses, Arvakr and Alsvior, hooks up the Sun, and spends every day pulling it, one horizon to the other. The task is made more interesting by a Giant Wolf named Skoll, that chases her chariot. Sol seemed to think it was funny, as Skoll never caught her. Sadly for Sol, when Ragnarok (The Finale) comes, she will be eaten by Skoll, along with the sun itself and the stars. So Skoll gets the last laugh.
Sol has assorted names, and from one of them (Sunnu) comes Sunday, named for her.
Freya was the Norse Goddess of Beauty, Love, and Fertility. She attended to Gold, Prosperity, and explored Mysteries. She also attended to those slain in battle. Freya was a popular Goddess; Friday is named to honor her.
Missing from the image is some of her Goddess Equipment, namely, Hildisvini, a large boar, Brisingamen, an enchanted necklace, and her feather cloak, which she used to fly around. (Her chariot and two blue Tomcats were a gift from Thor.)
Freya was a goddess who knew how to have a Good Time. And then had it. Repeatedly.