|Juliette Gordon Low center founder of Girl Scouts|
“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without spiritual life” Buddha
O ignis Spiritus by Hildegard of Bingen
"Scouting rises within you and inspires you to put forth your best." Juliette Gordon Low
According to Mrs. Z, in order to make a good campfire you need: patience, a good foundation, fuel and a mechanism to start it. Oh and using safety precautions.
Mrs. Z was my Girl Scouts Leader from juniors through senior scouting. She was a hands-on leader – meaning everything we did she did. My first fire building experience started with a 30 minute training walk in the woods. We gathered three different types of fuel: tinder, kindling (finger to wrist size), and fuel (bigger that your wrist). She was very keen on the “bleached out wood.” This type of wood was found without its bark on the floor of the forest. It appeared to me looking more bone like in color. Mrs. Z described how this particular kind of wood had been aged and now had a minimum amount of moisture in it. This would allow it to burn well. Mrs. Z also liked it because it didn’t give off a lot of smoke. We would next bring the wood back and stacked in its categories next to the bucket of water which of course was several feel away from the stone circle campfire.
Mrs. Z was a purist. She didn’t believe in chemicals to start a fire. Her idea of a Girl Scout was someone who was concerned about the air and taking care of nature to show to our Grandchildren. This would always lead to a discussion about factories and acid rain falling in Western PA and the poor Cuyahoga River catching fire. We were to use one of the following, dryer lint, pine needles or saved wood shavings from making marshmallow sticks to get the fire going. Her favorite fire structure – the tipi.
I was always amazed at how Mrs. Z had a knack at getting the fire started from something unsuccessful. I can still picture her blowing gently on the embers. Coaxing it with a little more lint to leap up and ignite the rest of the wood. She’d rebuild the wood structure to let more oxygen in giving the revived embers the best wood - that “bleached out wood.”
O Comforting Fire of SpiritBy Hildegard of Bingen
O comforting fire of Spirit,Life, within the very Life of all Creation.
Holy you are in giving life to All.
Holy you are in anointingthose who are not whole;
Holy you are in cleansing
a festering wound.
O sacred breath,O fire of love,
O sweetest taste in my breast
which fills my heart
with a fine aroma of virtues
Sometimes my creative spirit becomes like an ember dying. It’s a half burnt wood with a tiny glow that’s just hanging. The reality is that my creativity hasn’t gone away. I haven’t tended it by giving it fuel or a gentle puff of air to get it going. I haven’t found space to allow it to grow. Often, I’ve allowed the nasty voices to get in the way that extinguish my creative passion.
The same can be said about my spirituality. I find it easy to conform to other’s truth rather than lacing up my hiking boots for my own unique journey.
Sometimes you don’t know where your journey will take you. Last year I became a member of the PBP, and I’ve been lead through many different twists and turns. I accredit my 2013 Lenten study of Hildegard, creativity and mandala making from a fellow PBP. It was through them I read a quote about the sacredness of nature and I followed it back to the source. I crossed over through a door to a community made up of women from many different traditions. They were discussing and practicing creativity and spirituality. It was a group I never knew existed.
A new type of wood has been laid. The fire is crackling.
Fire in the forge thatshapes and tempers.
Fire of the hearth thatnourishes and heals.
Fire in the head thatincites and inspires.