Archive for the ‘fire’ tag
When I came home yesterday afternoon from teaching at the university, I noticed a lot of activity at the entrance to my housing compound. I immediately rushed up to the apartment in order to get my camera as I knew it was an event that was about religious rites following death. I was woken about 4:00 am with the sounds of evenly paced fireworks explosions, sounds that I have come to associate with a death in the neighbourhood. The neighbourhood is a place for the wealthy and many of these wealthy people are old. Death and funerals are frequent occurrences. The difference this time was striking as I kept busy with the camera – the white arm and headbands were missing. The event was quieter and when there was sound, it was more musical than noise.
Death, the ending of all earthly relationships, the final separation of self from other as we know it. As James Hollis puts it:
“All relationships begin, and end, in separation.”
But, I wonder. Does death which ends our connections with other humans mean the end of separation? Fire is symbolic of renaissance for rebirth. The transformation for isolated individual into a state of union with the source from which human life emerged, a pre-conception starting point is an idea that haunts me, that makes me wonder. Something to think about.
Continuing on with my earlier post, I have to admit that there are still tan lines. I didn’t dare as much as I could have in order to cook completely in this alchemical stew. The fire of the sun was hidden from aspects of my psyche, stuff that I still bury deep within. Without the sun’s transformational heat which draws out the pale ghosts, I am left incomplete. Parts of my self are not yet turned into gold, an act of transubstatiation. I cling to the raw unfinished material as though to a life raft.
Why do I not yet dare to stand fully exposed to the transformational fires? Fear. Fear that what I have will be lost, fear that relationship with self and other will be forever changed. Is this bad? Not really, but it is about loss, and I don’t know if I am ready to lose the old in order to embrace the new. Change and loss.
Yet, out of the ashes of the burning a new way of being will emerge, new ways of relation will emerge. I worry that perhaps this alchemical process will reduce my self so much that there remains only ash. I worry that I will only be left with loss and be alone, removed from sanity, self and other. Yet, I know this isn’t true at the deepest level of my being. Will I be the coward and step off this path of individuation and say “enough is enough” returning to the patterns of habit and relationship that have been the fruit of all efforts so far in this journey? Can I stop even if I want to? Or, have the losses and gains already taken place and are only waiting to be acted out in the outer world? As Rainer Marie Rilke once said in his “Letters To A Young Poet”:
Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.