I’ve long been fascinated with the idea of Mount Everest. Not climbing it (I don’t have the commitment or physical stamina for that) – no, I think I’m in love with the romance of it. I love the idea of following a crazy dream even if it means risking your life, of going someplace few have gone, and I’m in awe of the sherpas and traditions that make it possible for mere mortals to climb that sacred rock! That tradition and symbology, especially, borders on magical to me and, as Meg and I have worked through The Artist’s Way this summer, we’ve both longed for some tangible symbol of the creative spirituality we’re uncovering for ourselves. She mentioned some months ago that she’d like to have a set of prayer flags in her art studio and voila an idea was born!!
Traditional prayer flags are made in primary colors (blue, white, red, green, and yellow) and are intended to balance the five elements… blue represents sky and space; white, the air and wind; red symbolizes fire; green is for water; and yellow for earth. Through this balancing, health and harmony are said to follow. On Everest, that means a safe return to base camp; in our normal lives (“normal” being always relative) they can mean whatever we are especially needing in order to find our own harmony.
In The Artist’s Way, we’ve been looking a lot at rediscovering possibility in our lives. Sometimes I think possibility is something that sits at the edge of my peripheral vision. I suspect it’s there, but when I turn to look, it’s nowhere to be seen. My reading this summer is challenging me to look a little more closely – to look at possibility full-on and grab some for myself!
For me, personally, it’s very easy to fall into a “why me” mindset, overlooking all the goodness in my life and focusing instead on problems and a myriad of seemingly-insurmountable worries. The prayer flags will serve as a gentle and very visible reminder of the possibility all around me… to expect better for myself, to wish harmony for those around me, and to let down my guard a little – to let fear and worry float away so the goodness is more accessible!
FAR from traditional, these flags are more what I’ve heard called “gypsy prayer flags” – meaning (best I can discern) they can be whatever you want them to be. Mine, in the order shown, represent fire, water, sky/space and air/wind. I also plan to do one for earth and a sixth for spirituality and creativity.
My flags (no surprise) all have Gelli® monoprints as a base – fire has the Circle Rays stencil from StencilGirl Products, water has a hand-made stencil (inspired by Carla Sonheim’s printmaking class), sky/space features Starry Starry Night from Dylusions/Ranger, and air/wind has Clouds from the Julie Balzer collection with The Crafters Workshop.
Would you be interested in exploring this a little further? I’m working on a little video series that will dive deeper and walk you through making a set of your own prayer flags! I’ll share more here and on Facebook as that develops.