This morning the sun rose in the sky and illuminated the eastern horizon with that fire of pink and magentas with a burst of awareness that comes only rarely. This amber glow of fire reminds me of how precious our awareness of life is. The shift and change across a brief period of time was as vast as it was subtle. Like ephemera it was there and gone. Each second was a full bodied experience only to be replaced by the next one. These colors were so amazing that no painting could come close, yet every day the attempt is made to create such a fire in the sky in paint. The most brilliant colors seen in the depths of ceremony could not heighten this morning’s glow of awareness.
The fire in the sky harkened to the deeper pulse of the earth. The time being winter, this is a season when we rely on the warmth of the hearth with its burning fires. Fire is the first medicine, the first talent, the first creation of humans. No one can deny the entrancing actions of a flame leaping off of a log. This ritual of spreading warmth around a space is as ancient as our awareness born on the steps of a long forgotten plain. This is religio ad infinatum… traces back to our roots. The fire which burns in our hearts today is there because of our ancient ancestors tracked the flames… And as they tracked those fires, they became more than their brothers and sisters, the animals, around them. They began to change the land, the pulse of the earth, into their own needs.
We have changed the whole world with fire. Look carefully at absolutely every invention and thing that we do, it involves fire. We are people of flames burning in the night. We extended our grasp into the dark with fire. We survived the lean times when humans were a rarity on the earth in 3 small isolated locations. We endured because of fire. And we passed on the ultimate flame of life though our passionate acts of creation to our children and our children’s children because of fire. This fire which heats our homes, our lodges, our nights and days through the winter is the sacred fire and flame dedicated to the original spirits of endurance through the lean times. It is the seed of awareness which passed through the gauntlet each year.
When we trace our connection to the fire, know it, honor it, we see all the branches which spread off of the great tree of life. This is the other thing that I love about the winter, seeing all the branches with no leaves. These majestic beings stretch out their arms and bend with the wind. They are barren but not dead. Shaman can see with that inner eye the fire burning in the center of their beings, low, but still there at the root. The flame is hiding and maintaining the best in the tree. The wind takes the branches that are no longer needed. The rotten is healed in the winter through release. The release was collected by our ancestors and burned on the fires of our own needs. The trees remind us that the fire is the ultimate source of all inventions, all things.
Shelter came because of fire. It is a more efficient use of fire when it is enclosed in a space. The heat reflects back, the people are warmed better. Shelter maybe stone or canvas, hide or wood, the basic necessity of surviving through the winter requires the tree and the flame. We have massive power plants now fed with ancient dead beings, coal, and long forgotten ages of lush green jungles, oil… These ancient times trapped the fire from the sky in these bodies and moved the pulse down into the earth. That pulse from the sun was preserved in her. And from dead trees and ancient animals we have pulled energy from the earth to feed the flames of civilization fast and furiously.
To understand civilizations, look to the energy that drives it. Where does this energy come from? Is it sustainable? Will it endure? And finally is it necessary? Allocation of this primary flame is the impetus towards change over time. The shores of North America were invaded by the English settlers because of the needs of the flames. There was no more oak to fuel the fires of creating glass, so a company got together to send glass makers to Virginia where the trees were abundant and the silicon on the beaches rich. The endeavor was a total failure… the settlers had to shift their attention to their own fires before they could consider investing in a return of product to the motherland. By then, the risk was too high, the creditors came knocking and the venture was over. But other fires would be fueled as a result. The fires of canon ball factories, or rope factories, of paper factories…. All because of a lack of fuel to the fires at home.
Look to the fuel, and then the production. The fire feeds our desires. We balance between expansion and collapse because of the fuels in the fire. Our awareness is fed based on what we fuel and feed. We can consume ourselves with over stretching the fire, the fuel is the key… the flames, our flames, must be fed.
It took everything we had to make it through the winters at one time. We have for over a million years. The fire is still burning. Will we pay attention to the fuels? Ultimately, this is a season of giving. Few are aware that this giving is to the fire that fed this celebration. The fires were lit and kept going through these months. And that fire, the fire of the sun, is what we celebrate so fiercely in this turning of the wheel. Even the original word Christos is the fiery seed which is planted in the depths of the earth mystically for new growth in the spring. That flame of awareness within the dark fecundity of her body brings forth new life. This was a balanced approach to honoring the seasons, the times, the needs of the people. This was the original mystery celebrated through giving to the eternal fires of the winter. The giving was to the center, to the survival of the whole tribe… not to our individual selfish desires. This is lost in new myths of consumption, yet it is plain to see when we stare deep into the flames, into the fire of our hearts.
Season’s best to all.