Friday, June 26, 2009

Soul Fires at the Core of Dwelling

Primal acts of place-making renew the world. The vital task of caring for the hearth narrates the whole story of creation. In Ireland, the tradition of Smooring the Fire embodies the birth of diversity from the oneness of existence. At the end of the day, the cooking and warming fire is put to rest, but not extinguished in the following ritual. "The embers are spread evenly on the hearth--which is generally in the middle of the hearth--and formed into a circle. This circle is then divided into three equal sections, a small boss being left in the middle. A line of peat is laid between each section, each peat touching the boss, which forms a common center. The first peat is laid down in the name of the God of Life, the second in the name of the God of Peace, the third in the name of the God of Grace. The circle is then covered with ashes sufficient to subdue but not to extinguish the fire, in the name of the Three of Light. The heap, slightly raised in the center, is called 'Tula nan,' the Hearth of the Three. When the smooring operation is complete, the woman closes her eyes, stretches her hand, and softly intones one of the many formulae current for these occasions."

This ritual links the structure of home to the structure of conscious through which we perceive the world. Within the oneness of Being a spark of consciousness awakens to itself. The One appears to become the Three, The Perceiver, The Perceived and The Process of Perception. Every experience in life and architecture is seen through this lens. I (Perceiver) look out (Process of Perception) at the garden of the world (Perceived). How I interpret what I see determine how I shape the world into structures for dwelling. With each perception, I am smooring the fire of of living, tend the hearth of new creation.

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