Saturday, December 21, 2019

Season of the Rose: a quilt for Summer Solstice

A quilt memory on Facebook came up, and I thought this was a good opportunity to share it here. Having been designed for the Summer Solstice, it’s a bit ahead of the seasonal cycle. It is a Solstice quilt celebrating the fullness of the season, as roses bloom during this time, only to drop after they have come into fullness.

Today is the day of the Summer Solstice for 2019 (22 December), the longest hours of sunlight of the year, before our journey on Mother Earth around the Sun carries us back towards the shortest hours at the Winter Solstice. Off course it is the reverse in the Northern Hemisphere, a result of the tilt of Earth’s axis in relation to our life-giving Sun. It is a little difficult to think of Sun this way at the moment, being surrounded by blistering weather and mega bush fires. But Sun is not the one to blame. Here are some words from a dear friend, posted today on Facebook.
It's Summer Solstice - called Lithe in the Celtic Festival Wheel of the Year. I wish you all blessings of the celestial moment. Some of us remember the old ways at this time, and some of us honour this land and the many spiritual connections we weave with country. But somehow it no longer feels fitting to celebrate the Fire Festivals with Mother Nature rubbing our faces in our own soiled nest and forcing us to pay attention... there is so much that is out of kilter. Let the rains come when they may... meanwhile we must express our gratitude for all the land has given us, our grief for all the abuse we meter out upon the Earth and her creatures, day after day, and ask the unthinkable - that we might be given another chance to take our seat at Her table and then to take only our fair share. (Margi Curtis)

This quilt was made nearly 20 years ago, in 2000. The form it took on eventually was of a type of banner. Designed to represent a rose in full bloom, I used Thai raw silks for the rose in full bloom and over-dyed commercial cotton fabrics for the background. All of the stripped fabrics are cut on a 45 degree angle, machine pieced and quilted. The symbolism of the rose is important in many cultures, representing eros, an anagram of the word ‘rose’, cognate with the Greek word meaning the power of the life force. The rose is symbol of life’s passion to be renewed in beauty, strength, fragility and endurance through the endless cycles of destruction and creation.

The quilt became an icon to the continual seasonal blossoming of Mother Earth, in particular experienced through the body of Woman, as a cross-cultural icon that represents the female genitalia, the vulva, the yoni – and expresses the desire for union with the Mystery that is the gateway giving rise to all life. It is symbolic of the power, pleasure and the pain that comes with ‘a kiss from a rose’.
On the back of the quilt there is a nine-point square, included in order to make the point that we all live on the same planet and every cardinal direction shows the potential that life, in whatever form it takes, is the creative outcome of the wondrous 15 billion years of Earth’s evolution from a spec of dust…now that’s resilience! If we truly took this in would we be so keen on ignoring the effects of changing climates due to our human habitation.
It dawned on me quite a while back that this planet Earth will continue, diminished from Her former glory of wild forests, wonderful varieties of flora and fauna, birds and sea creatures – diminished, but nevertheless surviving. We humans will be the ones to become extinct – due to our self-destructive activities that can be avoided were it not for greed of the few, and denying justice, causing lack of social cohesiveness to achieve their personal wealth. Reckon it’s a safer bet to call those deniers to account than relying on an imaginary “G*d” to fix it for us.

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