The Fire is Within
In proposing this theme, I drew heavily on my own experience. In the nine burns that I have attended, I have only seen one Effigy burn - that of Alchemy 2012. Since Alchemy 2013, I have always volunteered on Perimeter, and I’ve never regretted it once - even on the two Effigies that I helped build. While - to me - the Effigy is an extremely important part of the ritual that is a burn, it isn’t the ceremony itself that makes it special. And, for a burn where it seemed likely that we would not have an Effigy, it seemed important for me to share that feeling.
What makes an Effigy burn great for me has always been watching the joy, sorrow, and love that it embodies dawn on the faces of those who watch it go. There is so much beauty contained within people that the unique golden glow of Effigy firelight seems uniquely capable of bringing forth. So much that it has been more desirable for me to remain at my post on Perimeter than to watch the product of 40 hours of my own labor in its three-hour performance.
To put it succinctly, my burns have always been without an Effigy. And - while I sincerely hope that I can go back to work building the most elegant piles of firewood for future burns - I would say that my burns have been just as good spending the time while the Effigy burned in contemplation of the beauty that lies within the people of our community - in feeling connected to something bigger than myself.
So, given that explanation, I hope that the theme for this year will inspire you to celebrate the fire is within you - and within the community that surrounds you. I hope that it will inspire you to mend relationships that should be mended, to cast off the stony feelings that the hardships of yesteryear engendered in all of us, and to find beauty in those new individuals who have come to join us. I also hope that it will inspire you to bring the best of that fire that the Effigy embodies out from within you. For every bit of the missing art that the Effigy represents, I hope to see that art reflected in what individuals bring to this year. For every missing hour of work that the Effigy represents, I hope to see people throwing those hours into helping the burn go as smoothly as possible.
Per ardua ad astra - (Latin) “Through difficulties unto the stars.”