I assembled this rose petal spiral high up in a sunny pasture. The wind was strong that day. The construction of this offering quickly became a lesson in impermanence, a reminder of how everything in life is change. Nothing in this world is permanent, or reliable. As the old saying goes, “The only thing that is constant IS change.” As I built the spiral, it continued to blow apart and just as it would be completed, the wind would come and dismantle another part of it. I was lucky to snap this photo before it was destroyed. I was reminded of the Tibetan sand paintings. In the Tibetan tradition the monks will spend hours and days making a beautiful and intricate mandala out of colourful sand. At the end of this multiple day process, the mandala is destroyed with a sweep across it’s centre. The sand is then collected and offered to a nearby river with prayers. I have gotten a chance to experience this ceremony on a few occasions. The monks worked tirelessly with special tools, to carefully “draw” with the sand. They made sure every detail was perfect. It was amazing to watch, knowing that no sooner would their work be completed that it would be destroyed. It is a powerful lesson in letting go. Acts such as these remind us that life is about the “process” or the “journey,” and not the end product. I feel the same goes for art. Even the most famous, preserved, and influential pieces of art work will fade and disappear someday. I also find from personal experience, that those works of art, music, writing, acting, etc that are created for the process and not with the end result in mind wind up being the most beautiful and precious gifts. That intention and presence comes through.
The spiral is a sacred symbol in many cultures. The Reiki symbol “Cho Ku Rei” is a Sanskrit symbol consisting of a spiral with a line down the center. Drawing the symbol over a patient is said to tell the energy where to focus. As if saying “put the energy right here!” That one is traditionally drawn counter clockwise, from large ring to small ring. In other energy work if one is trying to instead pull energy outward, a spiral can be drawn in a clockwise motion from the centre outwards. In a sense showing the energy a route outward and upward, an escape. The spiral is also significant in the Celtic culture and Celts often had spirals tattooed on their bodies. I remember my Druid teacher, Ivan McBeth, had a blue spiral “snake” tattooed on his cheek.
I have much more to say about roses and their universal as well as personal significance, but that’s a story for another time.