Last year I created a new bronze vessel titled “Awakening Bliss” – a vessel inspired by the growth habits of the red poppy plant.
Awakened Bliss was inspired by the common red corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas). The botanical name means sleep bearing. According to J.C. Cooper in An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols, the poppy is symbolic of ignorance, sleep, indifference; and the blood red color depicts the passion of Christ. In the image of Christ on the cross, we find both death and life. In Persian literature, the red corn poppy is denoted as a flower of love – the “eternal lover” – symbolic of people who died for love. I wonder if this truly means dying to the smaller “I” rather than death of the physical form alone; allowing us to recognize the Eternal Lover? I do not know the intentions of that literature; yet I interpret it in this way.
The common poppy is also very well known for its notable ability to form a long-living seed bank that germinates whenever the soil is eventually disturbed. This was the case in the fields of Europe after WWI and the source of inspiration for the subsequent, famous writing of the Canadian physician, John McCraes’ In Flanders Fields. I wonder, in these days of the continuing massive outbreak of the coronavirus, if in fact THIS event will “disturb our soil” in a way that ultimately promotes profound growth in us.
The poppy buds distinctly nod downward before maturing into a bloom, as if in deep swollen slumber. They seem to be PAUSING before growing upright and reaching for the heavens as they finally blooms their ultimate beauty. Are we perhaps in our PAUSE mode as we isolate – stay in our homes with great lengths of time in solitude – preparing to finally grow straight toward the heavens?
When we lift our heads from utter slumber we readily recognize we are ALL much more alike than different – for we ARE all One within the infinite web of life. We are simply here in the form of human – while so very much more than form alone could ever be.
And once the bloom is spent (our human lives here on earth in this season end), it is then the poppy (and we) remain erect; pointing toward the heavens as our seeds scatter into our world – nourishing new growth and blooming all around it – the Wind (symbolic of Spirit) sprinkling the seeds for miles upon miles. We ARE each indeed a vital part of this infinite web of Life.
The poppy is sometimes known as a weed, since it flourishes as a weed in grain fields; and it has many characteristics of a hardy weed. I love it is referred to as a weed – because most weeds simply refuse to stop growing. How lovely if we were able to follow that tenacious lead? That “eternal lover” the Persian poets refer to is ever patient – always, patiently in wait, for our awakening to our true Essence.
The delicate poppy stems remind me of the flexibility we benefit from always remembering to hold in our lives. Being flexible also means being tolerant – yet another gift this season asks us to bestow upon all our brothers and sisters. We need to be tolerant of the slower response times of services – we need to be tolerant of periods of expressed fear from others. We need to be tolerant.
Three honeybees are sculpted onto the vessel. The honeybee hive communities are a lovely blueprint for living in utter community and immense generosity. These extraordinarily intelligent insects are enormous blessings to the balance of our ecosystem. Some have written the beehive as symbolic of the church and the honeybee as the messenger between heaven and earth. Their beautiful modeling of living within a generous “community” is certainly and inspiration in these times.
Awakening Bliss is hoped to remind us of that state in which we quite naturally are pointedly and sensitively aware of our entire universe and where the life of even one single honeybee or person both matters and affects the entire web of life – it is honored – it is warmly and tenderly cherished. Those many thousands of service workers in the medical and service fields, who are currently working tirelessly on behalf of ALL of us points to this generous awareness.
We humans are not intended to remain nodding in bud forever – we are intended to awaken to the utter knowing that there is no “world out there” – we ARE each one vital slice of the world. Each of us, in all our wildly diverse forms of life, are one tiny, while vital, slice of the entire universe. We are intended – as we live on this earth as humans – to awaken to our true Essence and bloom in glorious, word defying, Awakening Bliss. Perhaps in spite of – even because of – this historical experience we each might be nudged to simply GROW toward the heavens at last.