Fire has been used by humans for hundreds of thousands of years and holds all different types of symbolism. From destruction, burning, hell, and loss; to purification, rebirth, hope and resurrection. Many of these symbols are embodied by the ancient mythical creature of the Phoenix. A majestic bird-like creature with an infinite life cycle. A cycle that repeats every thousand years where the bird is consumed by the flames of its own nest and reborn from the ashes.
In life, many times over, we are like the Phoenix. Dying to our old selves and awakening with renewed purpose and perspective. Into, through, and out of the fire. We are resurrected by hardship.
At the end of last year, a family member’s home was consumed by fire, displacing them, and changing the course of their lives. A week later, while removing dead wood and old vines from the forest for burning, I was thinking about their experience and how grateful I was that they weren’t in the home. Then I knelt next to the burn pile. Quickly, the wind changed when striking a match and for a brief second, I knew something was wrong. A ball of fire engulfed my upper body, setting my clothes and hair ablaze resulting in severe burns to my face, neck, and right hand. It took more than three weeks to recover enough to play guitar and piano again. Which to a musician, is heartbreaking. Thankfully, the nerves in my hand were intact and my lungs weren’t damaged.
Slowly, I began processing what happened and it was more than just being burned. My spirit was crushed and it truly was one of the most fearful moments of my life. Before this event, I had a rough draft of a song written about felling dead trees, relating it to cutting away the old to make way for the new. “Fire Song” was born from this fire, and like the Phoenix, tells the story of renewal. My wounds have since healed and my perspective has changed. Now even more so with the current state of the world.
We’ve all been going through our own version of this story. Collectively we’re going through a reframing of life as we knew it and rebuilding it in a new light.