08 July 2007

The Great American Fire Festival

Thunder and colorful lightning, fire and smoke; that's what Independence Day is to me. It's an energetic, fiery day of celebration. It is the official American summer holiday: a day to celebrate not only the fact that we don't speak with a British accent but also to celebrate the season. It is nearly the height of summer when the daylight hours are growing ever closer to their fullest which will be on solstice later in the month. I find it amazing that our 4th of July celebrations feature fireworks so prominently, this society doesn't even seem to realize the elemental and ritual aspects of the day.

We honor our breaking with England and the warmth of the summertime with fire. We spend untold dollars on fireworks only to watch them go up in a smoky show. But what a show! The various colors and intensity of the lights make me think of lightning; purple lighting that crackles as it falls from the sky or orange lightning that looks like a comet being spit out of the Earth. Pink lightning, green, blue and all the colors of the rainbow, bright as the sun if for only a brief moment. There is power in these things and I'm not just referring to the magic of gunpowder. There are great things to be seen within the patterns of fireworks, be they small fountains or huge fireballs that fill the night sky. The fireworks each have their own unique characteristics that can conjure up images of animals and deities as well as images from one's life that can teach lessons or provide precious reminders. As I sat watching our yearly fireworks show my witch friend 'Lil Red and I both concluded at the same time that fireworks are a form of magic. And now, 3 days later, the images are still vibrant in my mind and will provide powerful visualization tools for some time to come.

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