A Contemporary “Canticle of the Creatures”

A Contemporary “Canticle of the Creatures”

This is my contemporary version of the Medieval “Canticle of the Creatures”

With joy we greet you Brother Sun and Blue Sky! 

You brighten and enliven all.

Ah, Sister Moon, such a comfort, 

your soft glow companions us, and with the stars twinkling by your side,

you give us hope when life is darkest.

While the Weathers, fierce creatures that you are, 

swirling rain and snow, winds and heat, 

swaddle us in your wild caresses.

Ah, Sister Water, so soothing, refreshing, invigorating, playful,

and Brother Fire, cozy, bright, enlightening, ardent,

both of you so useful.

You teach us how to be truly helpful

singing and dancing and making merry even as you serve.

O dear Earth, you are surely our Mother, 

nourishing us with every good and delicious thing, 

surrounding us with beautiful and engaging things, 

providing us with furred and finned and feathered ones,  

friends to enrich and enchant us.

But you are also most surely our Sister, 

created by the hand of the same Mother/Father God; 

we are born of the same with destinies linked.

Having been cared for all this time by you, our older Sister,

we now recognize that to go forward, we must walk hand-in-hand, conscious of each other’s needs.

And most fondly of all, we embrace the humanity of all humanity…the whole of what it means to be a human creature, spirit-embodied, both beautiful and disfigured, both charming and crude, both creatively  boundless and yet utterly limited,  

And we rejoice most especially when we can clasp the reality of all of that, and become a source of forgiveness and pardon and love to ourselves and others.

Finally, deeply encoded in our humanity, our continuing companion, Death, we call you Sister as well

…even as we name the nurturing creatures of Earth herself and Water and the Moon… 

who, in your way, completes each of our bodily lives as we know them and frees our spirit from those confines.

So Which Garments Don’t Fit Anymore…?

So Which Garments Don’t Fit Anymore…?

September has unceremoniously arrived. Most of us can hardly believe it…I know I can’t. I thought for sure we would be ‘through the Portal’ by now, on to other things, the new taking shape…

But no.

“The Portal…calls us to tarry rather than rush through, to accept our vulnerability and not simply re-clothe ourselves in garments that no longer fit”.

I continue to sit in that doorway trying to discern which “garments I should not re-clothe myself in,” which “garments no longer fit,” looking out at the world, still very separate, visiting few friends, at best, “zooming” with family.

Knowing that offering classes and workshops are very definitely some of the “garments” that no longer fit, that organizing and administering arts groups in the community is assuredly “a wardrobe” I have definitely outgrown, I looked with uncertainty at the Studio’s relationship to the rest of the world. I agonized over whether or how I should reach out and connect with the community during the height of the Quarantine, but recognized that, too, was not vestiture that was mine. And with it all, I was concerned that my connection with others would become more limited than I would appreciate.  

Shaking me into the beginnings of a new consciousness, however, is the surprising unsolicited flow of commission requests. I am in the midst of a whole series of large projects and small ones, all delightful ideas that call me to engage with the clay in both familiar ways as well as those that stretch my knowledge and relationship with the material. Interaction with individual clients around specific projects these weeks has assured me that there will continue to be lively human connection in the studio.

Every artist, and I believe to the pluperfect, the clay artist, has an element of the hermit in her personality. Thus, my alone-time working at Earthsongs is deeply welcomed. Despite that, there has continued to be a genuine flow to the life of the Studio. Because of this, I have come to know that it is the creative impulse itself, purely the energy inherent in the action of creating, that is an attraction, even as my “old garments” are cast aside.

So that even while alone, standing purely as maker, I understand myself more clearly now as a genuine part of the flow of life here in this local community and the community of the world.

Do I need to do away with other “garments”? Perhaps. But for now, I’m becoming more comfortable wearing just the ones I still have.

RECOGNIZING THE PORTAL

RECOGNIZING THE PORTAL

We are created to create, to leave the familiar, to cross thresholds and give birth to bold new ideas. We are invited to the borderlands of the known, to imagine a new earth healed not scorched, rested not exploited, and regenerated by human ingenuity and innovation.   —Tom Gunning

The very day last month that claysongs.com went live and introduced the Porta Caeli to the world, quite unexpectedly I received a small paperback publication that included a series of essays identifying this current time/space moment as “Liminal Space,” in other words, a time in-between or a Portal before we enter the next space.

Now, having spent six months focused on creating just that…a Portal…I was rather blown away. All of those writings presented this as a time/space experience of Threshold…life is not what it was before, but we don’t yet know how it’s going to be.

Creating for me is always a spiritual experience, but never has my work linked so thoroughly and serendipitously to a deeply spiritual moment involving the entire planet.  The Porta Caeli, as Nino baptized it, had been in my mind for many years, but only now in 2020 was it able to be brought to life and so become an apt symbol for our experience.

Interestingly in Tibet, there is no word for creativity because for the people of that culture, the very fact of being human is to be creative. And so for the maker, the one who creates, and that is all of us, liminal time is essential. It makes us see things differently; forces us to let go of what was, and hence is crucial to the creative process.

This is undeniably a moment of transition…the very thing a Portal proclaims…a space of demarcation.  Anxiety and unsettledness permeate everything; all is mystery. Despite that, Liminal space is a place of power where we learn to let go so that we can genuinely embrace and shape what is to come. 

In Liminal Time/Space, we sit on the Threshold and be with the mystery.

The Portal becomes an object that both beckons and protects; it invites us to acknowledge that a transition is taking place and calls us to tarry rather than rush through, to accept our vulnerability and not simply re-clothe ourselves in garments that no longer fit.

This is a time 
that is not a time
A place that is not a place
...between the worlds...

including ideas shared by Tom Gunning, Felicia Murrell, Brandan J. Robertson