Original mixed media collage by Melanie Weidner
Created in 2013 — 14 inch diameter
Art paper, graphite, paint, ModPodge on wood
Not lightfast - will last several years if kept from sunlight
See the blog post September 6, 2014 - Fire, Stars, and Bombs
Handwritten text on the background of the Ready for Flame mandala:
I come tonight with a prayer for a broken heart, a burning heart with the pain of impossible, unthinkable choices. Or the terror of an earth on fire with greed, out of balance as we rich burn oil dug up from millennia of trees laying down their bodies as offering. Is there any offering we can make to the embers to calm them? Is there any act of peace that will still the bombings? The mountains burn, apartments burn, busses burn. And then the stars also burn, covered by day and lifted by night into strings of guidance and blessing. I ache with the pull between blessing and evil, especially the self-serving harm done by those in the name of religion or being right. That “leadership” feels nothing like star guidance, or the wisdom of the Universe unfolding in its way. In its powers. Greed and dominance are twisted versions of generativity and centration.
Last night I spoke with Holly about humanity and this horrible, amazing paradox of glory and awfulness. I still struggle with understanding the extent of violence and blind ambition that fuels war and persecution, gendered violence, hostile takeover… strip mining, acquisition, monoculture, pesticide, contamination, and a hundred other versions of exploitation. Really, that reality was never in my experience or vocabulary as a little kid in Idaho. But I remember the first time I saw a clear-cut forest– I felt nauseous and faint with the shock. How could a gorgeous community of trees and plants be so easily decimated? Years of growth chopped and ground up in days or minutes, left ravaged and wounded with no second thought beyond the cheap grace expectation that it would heal itself? It does, when it can, heal itself.
She does, when she can, heal herself– Gaia, Israa, the forest, the rape victim. It’s an unstoppable power, yet it can’t overcome destruction in any speed comparison to the damage. Who am I to measure speed or healing? Who am I to underestimate healing’s speed or its journey? So many on that journey have looked to the stars as guide out of slavery, or hope in the darkness, the evidence of something more and something beyond the surface of our lives and of our planet, the surfaces of profit or conquer, the surface of appearance or judgment. I suppose I could name that some of my prayer and my gifting is to dive and live below the surface, or maybe beyond it in the case of assumption or toward stars.
Here I am looking at constellations again… Not more than three poems or my paintings can go by without stars. Embers of the Flaring Forth. Gravity on fire! Beyond us yet our birthplace. Home, in one sense… on the molecular level we and all of earth are born of stardust. So maybe looking to the stars is a reminder of our kin and kinship, beyond even carbon-based genetics on this planet, there’s an atomic level of connection that shouts out against the disconnection bombs and firearms require for use. Natural fire is another story– no less destructive, perhaps, but aligned with planet rhythms, star rhythms, even forest rhythms.
Not only that, but the forest itself keeps seeds that are ready to germinate only after the fire sweeps through…. Like the imaginal cell of the butterfly, hiding in wait for butterflies’ cocoon mush in which to emerge and trigger transformations.
What element of the human heart or soul is waiting to germinate for healing change? And if we haven’t seen it yet emerge, what fire or meltdown will it take to call it forth? Maybe that tragic invitation must be as strong as the crushing pull that drove the gasses to ignite in starlight, our sunlight– strong enough to burn for eons, luminous enough to feed the oceans and the trees, and draw up flowers from the soil. Gravity on fire!
This seriously scary time might yet catch blaze with compassion, spark with creativity, burn with understanding. At times my heart flares up in a prayer or an action, yet more often I am a burned-down campfire waiting for new fuel, new wind, to fan the flame of passionate response, timely argument, or a quiet act of kindness.
May I burn as a starlight ember in waiting, ready for flame.
Art and text ©Melanie Weidner, 2014
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