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  • Writer's picturehannah brailsford

A Spark of Inspiration


 a tower of books with a sign at the top saying 'shh...I'm daydreaming'
Tower of inspiration

This week, after feeling under the weather, I have found comfort in the, ever growing, tower of books for my research. It's easy to get lost in the provocations and wisdom that each work holds and delight in the stories told. So, whilst I have still allowed myself the above, I have also tasked myself with looking for the little sparks that will ignite the ideas and link the mass of thoughts swirling around in my mind!

The first flicker that has ignited a thread is that of the notion of fire itself. In 'Hagitude', Sharon Blackie writes of her experience of entry into menopause as "I was burning woman; I was a walking hellfire. Some great conflagration was occurring, and I felt as if I were being consumed from the inside out." She doesn't just talk of fire in the physical sense, of a symptom; the hot flush that many women will identify with during this period, but in the psychological sense; "For several months I not only embodied fire, but I dreamed of it." Indeed, she describes this period of her life as 'incandescent' and expands upon this through the idea of alchemy.

Now, I could talk at length about Sharon Blackies brilliant book (which I highly recommend reading for yourself if you haven't already), but this is not the point of these musings. The significance is that it has lit the first pathway in bringing my project alive and so for the past few days I have been exploring the properties of fire and its byproducts and in particular some of the mythology and folklore associated with this enigmatic state of matter.



A fire pit

"We're all alchemists, deep inside - it's just that women have learned that fires must be put out, not encouraged to burn." (Sharon Blackie)

Synapses fired, I have been delving into the stories of the Phoenix and of the Firebird and some delicious motifs are beginning to form; the alchemy beginning. As I dig further, I'm also finding the fire goddesses beginning to whisper their way into the work and waiting their turn, stoking the flames are the archetypes, the hags, the crones, the wisdom bearers who first provided the spark for this project. But more on them later...

For now, I'm contenting myself with the little flashes of light that are beginning to form into something more tangible and return to my tower of inspiration for the next piece of fuel to add to the fire.




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