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We Are the Flame

When we pray at a house of worship or go to a healing center we often light a candle or sit in the glow of candles already burning.  Some are lit in memory of loved ones, some are lit to empower Divine requests, some are lit in honor of a significant any case we all feel a deeper connection to the Spirit as we enter the dome of  that gentle light.  Whether it's 100 flcikering Novena candles in a Catholic Church,  Shabbat calendabra or  soft orange glow in a Buddhist sanctuary, we touch  something greater than ourselves when we yield to the flame.  But it is not the candle itself that acts as a  lightning rod; that's merely a symbol. We’ve heard many times that we are the keepers of the flame, but we could dispute that because we are much more than caretakers. We are not the keepers; more accurately, we are the flame itself.

All living beings house the flame, that spark of the Divine. Call it soul, spirit -- it's the essence of the eternal that propels us, more than the simple breath of physical life which Dr. Frankenstein manipulated.  It's what Chabad, the sect of mystical Judaism, explains as kelipot (lit. “shells”) the outer covering which conceals the G-dly light within all creation."    It
The earth, a living energy, also holds the spark of life in its core. Fire has always been a potent cleanser, initially destructive but through organic demolition, new life is created. The Hindu deity Shiva symbolizes this cycle of destruction and renewal, paralleling the earth’s natural ongoing purification process.  Witness how volcanic eruptions send  flaming lava past the shore, killing existing land and creating new land masses that stretch into the sea.  
We can ignite our own inner spark for the same cleansing and healing.

In our Western theology, God as the flame is revealed in the book of Exodus when Moses first met God.  While many misinterpret the writing, identifying God as a burning bush, it was actually   "an angel of the Lord [who] appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed."  The context of this encounter was that having hheard the cries of his enslaved people in Egypt, God  vowed to release them from suffering.  As Moses approached him, he was ordered to remove his shoes before coming closer because he was "on sacred ground."
But where is that sacred ground?  Must it be in some established physical structure or does any space become holy when we stand in the awareness of our own natural connection to the light?Joeph Campbell asks, "Is it Benares? Rome? Jerusalem?," asserting that it is all of them, the center of wherever we are.   
We activate sacred center when we light candles before meditation, go to church, practice a ritual in a spiritual center of any kind, steal a silent moment from a busy day to breathe and tune in to higher energies.  The intention remains the same even though despite the change in form.
In the New Testament Divine Light is exalted as a healing gift within us all.  "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands."  While this gets a narrow, warped interpretation in some  evangelical  communities, for the holistic spiritual practitioner it does not. We  cite this as invitation to all healing: Reiki, Healing Touch, auric healing .  And we are all capable of this merely by finding our inner light.

Meditate on the flame within.  We don’t need thousand dollar gurus with patented, marketable titles to acess our own Divine spark.


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Visual and Visionary Part 2: The Images

The Grief of the Pasha

by Jean Leone Gerome

The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau

The Bear Dance by
William Holbrook Beard

Spirit Wolf
by Susan Seddon Boulet

Calico Kitty by Georg Williams

Blue Dog (the original)
by George Rodrigue

Bodo Flying through the Night
by Martin LaBorde