Each January, my yoga group does a B & B – breakfast and burning – and this past Saturday was our day to bring food and eat together. We shared simple gifts with each other – the perfect crystal, tulip bulbs and gardening gloves, a new meditation chant. K had snapped each of us throughout the year and put tiny snapshots of each in magnetic frames. I made little books (of course) with Thich Nhat Hanh quotes and a poem by Raicho Hiratsuko. (I’ll post a photo of some of these later. My camera still has pics of the little dog in it and frankly we can’t bear to look at them yet to download them to computer.)
Then we each wrote what we wanted to let go, to release, from the past. We also wrote individual goals for the future, our intentions moving forward. Some of us wrote a lot, some only a few words.
We moved out to the deck, where C had already filled her little iron cauldron with sea salt and Epsom salts. She poured rum (yes, rum – I think any alcohol works, but rum is perfect at the beach!) over the salts and lit a match. Once we saw the flame rising, we crumbled our tissue paper words and tossed the papers, one by one, into the cauldron.
That’s me – in my NaNoWriMo hoodie, even – tossing my words into the flame. You can see the walkway leading east over the dunes to the Atlantic, which is peeping out of the top left corner of the photo.
We watched until our words had been completely consumed by the flame. Because of the way the sunlight hit, we could watch the flame rise from the cauldron and also watch the heat shadows flicker on the wooden deck behind the cauldron.
Here’s Hiratsuko’s poem, the perfect bookend to this morning:
Women, please let your own sun, your
concentrated energy, your own submerged
authentic vital power shine out from you.
We are no longer the moon. Today we are truly the sun.
We will build shining golden cathedrals
at the top of crystal mountains, East of
the Land of the Rising Sun.
Women, when you paint your own portrait,
do not forget to put the golden dome at
the top of your head.