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Autumn is reaching out her arms to me; quivering in the shifting warmth as the cold slips quietly into our lives.

Animation & The Spirit

The excitement bubbles beneath the surface and I can barely contain the will to express. So I’ve got Lunasa blasting from my speakers; the violins can be heard from downstairs and it makes grin like Stephen Fry* – I can’t help but dance in my seat.

[*As in when he played the Cheshire Cat in the recent Alice in Wonderland movie]

Damn. One of my cats is complaining so I best turn it down a little. Maybe she should sleep downstairs.

Enthusiasm

With my family, you’re meant to smile politely and state that you’re looking forward to something. Dignified. And afterwards, you comment on how many wonderfully intellectual conversations you shared and how exquisite the food was.

Sheesh, up yourself much? This is all just my opinion, but it doesn’t sit well with me to force my joy into a little box and never show it in public. If I’m so happy I could dance in the street, I damn well WILL dance.

When I explained that I wanted to stay in Brighton next Summer to do something that inspired me, I had to add a disclaimer.

I know that once I’m out of University i’ll need to join “the real world” and get a job. I’ll need to act mature and “normal” and do all I can to fit in with others expectations. And I take that seriously.

It’s purely because of that; because this could be my last chance to experience before I’m tethered to a mortgage, job and children that I’m so determined to go to this camp.

It didn’t help that my grandparents don’t know what Buddhism is and get vague images of the 1970’s hippie scene* when I mentioned it.

[* Again, nothing wrong with this except that my family tend to judge and wouldn’t want me sitting in a tent praying to the flowers. Well, tough.]

In Flow

When 2010 began, I spoke about how everyone seemed to be in the zone of making the most of life. In March, I found myself carried on this current of flow. Now, I can feel the tide pulling me into the next swirl; and I’m anxious to go.

I’ve put a heavy emphasis on human connection and community for the next four months, though I’ll be taking time to myself with my books, writing, shivanata and some healthy food.

I’m attending three gigs, meeting a friend at the beach, shopping and making dinner with another, celebrating five birthdays, society meetings, another friend is visiting from Ireland [who I met up with last year when I went there], Pagan Sabbats, volunteering and then classes.

Then, for next year we’ve already got a few plans in motion… a karaoke night, the Buddhist camp, yoga, Pagan Sabbats, volunteering, classes, societies & whatever other plans come to fruition. I’m excited for the opportunities; bubbling over with the suspense of another journey around the sun.

Spirituality

This morning I read Ali’s posts about her peace retreat in Ireland; and one phrase she used in this post spoke to me:

“I sat to pray, and no words came, except the sacred silence, the intake of breath, the slow and gentle rearranging of my body to open and let in just a little more sky. What kind of prayer could I utter after this? When what I wanted most was only to keep moving, to keep shifting in this way, until every part of me was open, and the waters and the clouds and the mountains in their shining came rolling in.”

The very concept of “letting in a little more sky” moved me. Then I read on and interpreted her idea as “shifting until open; so water, sky and earth could move into me”. Apart from its apparent poetry, I felt a kind of… personal truth in her words. Except I’d have never thought to word it that way.

(For those who don’t know, Ali writes the most amazingly articulate posts about all sorts of topics, though they seem to focus on spirituality, nature, poetry and peace. With my own love of language, reading her blog is like getting a fix of imagery and connection through words.)

This is what I’m excited for. I can feel my petals opening towards the sky and see the insects ready to reach in. I feel the breeze and prepare to take a big breath, to sigh out the scents of the flowers around me. For me, I connect with the air and ocean much easier than the Earth or Fire. If I had to choose one element, I’d go with water*. And yet, if I look closely, I feel alive in the forest, with the scents of herbs, with bare feet over grass and with my hands in the soil. And I have an inner fire everyone claims they feel emanating from me.

[*astrologically speaking, I’m one part Virgo/earth and two parts Scorpio/water]

I’m vaguely pyrophobic, so never explored the firey side of myself- yet even people who only know me online [even one woman who knows me only through three forum posts I made a comment:

I could see that it matches something in you, your special, glowing fires, banked in serenity.”

But I’ve never connected with fire in the way I connect with the elements of air, water and earth. Though if I seek connections; I find them. My first [and still most often called upon] face of deity have been the fiery warriors; Scathach, Morrigan and Artemis/Diana. The animals I call upon for guidance are the birds of prey, the wolves and tigers; the bear, the turtle, the deer and the butterfly.

I have balance, yet still seek only four of the five elements in my words, my thought and my actions.

A Society Without Flame

I’m not sure I can even call it conditioning but the physical parts of our world barely mention fire. As Ali mentions in another post, our bodies forget the fire:

I stood on the shore letting the sun and wind bathe the white stone in my palm, then bent to wash the stone in the waters of the lake. Breath, blood, bone — wind, water, stone”

We are warm-blooded beings who use fire to cook and to stay warm. Without it, we could survive- body heat, the skins of animals and a raw diet; but life wouldn’t have the tastes, textures and feel. Could we tell stories without that atmosphere or meditate without the steady flame? Would it truly satisfy us?

Where would we be without the passion of anger, love and a sense of justice? Without the encouraging words and hugs of friendship – would we function as a society without fire?

The typical picture of this world shows the sea, some land with trees and the sky. Fire is left out of our artwork as it has been left out of our physical bodies.

The closest I can think is in the autumnal colours. The leaves here will soon fade to rustic beige, rich brown and orange hue. The colours of flame will keep us warm as the temperature cools and winter approaches.

And I for one will light a candle to welcome her in.

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