The hearth is the symbolic heart of a home. Imagining ourselves dwelling near the hearth we become more ourselves; more human -- and humane. ~ Robert Werner...
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“Fire, you animate every atom with the spark of life. Fire, you regenerate the land and release seeds from their cones. Fire, you heat our homes and inhabit our hearths. Fire, you fill us with passion for ourselves, for our lovers, for activism and justice. Fire, be with us now in this sacred circle.”
Thanks to Maureen Corrigan and her excellent So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures, there's another upsurge of interest in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel.
I've been seeing images of the novel's original cover on tote bags and t-shirts. In fact, I’d just finished an immersion — reading So We Read On and then The Great Gatsby — when I was browsing in the regional authors section at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC. Glancing down at the table there, I see a scrap of paperboard with the cover pictured here, complete with a cryptic "95 R" jotted on the back.
As bellyqueen, and in The Woman's Belly Book, I champion our body's center as the energetic sourcepoint of our courage, confidence, intuition — and creativity. Fitzgerald's words about writing Gatsby add his own evidence. After completing the novel, he recalled:
I'd dragged the great Gatsby out of the pit of my stomach....
After thoroughly considering the manuscript, Fitzgerald's editor at Scribner, Max Perkins, sent the author a long letter. He wrote:
And all these things, the whole pathetic episode, you have given a place in time and space,…you have imparted a sort of sense of eternity. You once told me you were not a natural writer — my God! You have plainly mastered the craft, of course; but you needed far more than craftsmanship for this.
That's the body's center — the sourcepoint of our creative energy, our connection to transpersonal power.
“Open the door”, said the wise woman
“Come in and sit down.
For it is she of great worth
Who wears the King’s crown”.
I looked at the wizened face
For answers that long I had sought
Deep pools of star-filled eyes returned my gaze
And told of mysteries carefully taught.
Her countenance was hypnotic
And fingers deftly moved to and fro
Her body moving in rhythm
As the web from the spinning did grow.
Hildegard von Bingen wrote: “The soul is not in the body; the body is in the soul.” (Vol XXII, No. 5). This is a concept that I’ve been thinking about all week, and how we have tried to place unnatural limitations upon the body and soul based on our dualistic way of thinking. I suppose a true Zen answer would be the body is the soul and the soul is the body, but right now I’m enjoying thinking that the soul contains the body. Next week I’ll probably veer off into a more Zennist approach.
For this to happen, the soul must accept the body, not the other way around. As I’m not entirely certain that there is even such as thing as an individual soul, it’s an interesting concept. What if the “life force” on this little ball of rock hurtling through space is all soul, all an expression of soul? What if everything is an expression of the Earth’s soul, or the soul of the universe?
I just got off the phone after talking with my spiritual mentor. We discussed the importance of creativity, but mostly other very heavy topics. It was challenging, though she's kind and gentle.
What made it terrifying was that, after facing some ways I defeat myself, I phoned her to discuss them with her. Though they're nothing shocking, it can be scary to disclose one's faults, no matter how humdrum and unremarkable the faults or how nice the person to whom one is speaking.