edition of 36
20.5″ h x 14″ w
along the quiet stream bed
of the deep, interior woodlands
the purifying trickle of the
slow running water is heard
golden orange and vermilion petals
clothe the peaceful alpine lily
as she opens – stretches – into tall, sprawling stems
of brilliant flaming jewels gracing the banks
here she thrives in the deep, quiet stream bank
growing gloriously with no concern – no distraction
regarding how she looks or what she wears
dressed – beautifully- in her mystical garb
the slow flowing waters’ melody swells
with the whirling buzzing sound
of the black-chinned wings
as she tirelessly flutters about the lordly flames
the black-chinned hummingbirds innately
give, receive and rest in their dance with the lily
joyfully receiving the rich, sweet nectar
generously pollinating the vermilion queens
she reminds us, through her lengthy migrations, never to fear our wings too small
to carry us the great distance of any season
for if we do, unlike the black- chinned, we choose illusion above Truth
limitation above infinite possibility, trust and Love
sparkling like a diamond, as she flutters
her enormously strong, tiny wings form a figure eight
– the symbol of infinity –
reminding us of the infinity of Trust – of Love – of Joy
native tribes believe she is a messenger from the gods
Mayans unite her to the fifth world of their legends
hoping for us to live with them
the divine Truth of unending trust, love and joy
together they ask if we truly remember
how we are perfectly and beautifully designed
each to and with the other – yet one
through an innate well of love and celestial, unending joy
Celestial Joy was part of the sixteen pieces exhibited at The Tempe Center for the Arts, Tempe, AZ Green & Gray Exhibition in 2015; it earned a MERIT AWARD in the 2014 Four Points Contemporary Biannual Exhibition; and earned the award of BEST SCULPTURE IN AN ACADEMIC MANNER in the 2017 American Women Artists Master/Signature Exhibition at the Tucson Desert Museum.
Celestial Joy was born with the union of the delightful, flame colored, wild alpine lily and the female, black-chinned hummingbird. Commissioned by a couple living in the Lake Tahoe area, the orange alpine lily was a perfect choice for their classically shaped vessel. One of the most frequent and beloved visitors of these lordly lilies of the Tahoe area, is the black-chinned hummingbird.
The small trumpet shaped lily was of particular [sculpting] challenge with its slim upper foliage and tall, lengthy stems. The large volume of negative space was inevitable given its tall, delicate nature. Lilies are symbolic of purity, peace and fertility of the earth. The marriage of the lilies with the hummingbird was indeed a magical one. The hummingbird is known by many to be a mystical bird of wonder and highest skill. It swiftly sips nectar and pollinates the wild alpine lily (among other blooms) – both giving and receiving. It is symbolic of joyful loving. The hummingbird has the largest relative known heart size of any bird – it’s ‘heart space’ or center of Love is approximately 2.4% of their body weight. Uniting this beautiful symbol of peace and purity (lily) with a great carrier of Love (the hummingbird) felt perfect. There is perhaps no better way to create peace and purity than through joyful Love.
I reflected on the natural beauty of the peaceful wild lily. So often I get distracted with what I shall wear – beyond a practical degree. The lily of the field reminds me that my most worthy garb – always – is the mystical spirit I allow to purely envelope me and radiate around me no matter what my physical garb. There is nothing wrong with wearing quite beautiful clothing, except to the level of distraction from our own inherent, mystical, natural beauty. We need not worry about what to wear, to eat, or to do the wild lily reminds me. The pure beauty of these lordly blooms nudges me to trust in all ways – trust that everything is indeed perfectly created. Similarly, the hummingbird instills a sense of utter trust. Her remarkable ability to fly vast distances to migrate is beyond astounding. Some of these tiny birds fly over 2,000 miles twice a year to migrate! The gracious hummingbird inspires us to release the illusions of limitation and trust all possibility that we too can indeed attain, through trust, what may appear unattainable and fly [grow] to vast distances.
For me, the beautiful, angelic hummingbird has long felt symbolic of the incessant joyful lover. She tirelessly nourishes the blooms as she pollinates, then quietly perches and watches. She dances this generous, innate pattern of giving, receiving, and resting – inviting us to notice her love dance – to join her dance.
The hummingbird’s wild quality of being fiercely independent (at times even aggressively so) brought to mind our human, independent choice to use our minds and actions however we choose – to promote love or its opposite. When hovering, her wings create the pattern of the figure eight – the symbol of infinity. This habit invites me to choose to turn to the infinity of Truth -nourishing the divine spiritual Truths in and around me while trusting they indeed are infinite Truths. It reminds me of the truth that some things are indeed infinite while beyond our full understanding.
Loving to perch, the hummingbird quietly watches with her excellent vision. She awakens in me the call to use my quiet, meditative [perch] time to see more clearly and to turn toward loving reflective peacefulness; remembering the vast gifts of utter rest.
Celestial Joy stands 20.5” tall (14” wide), with 12 stems of wild orange alpine lilies, and 3 female, black-chinned hummingbirds. The female hummingbird was chosen to represent the importance of the feminine energies currently being birthed in new ways in our world. The edition size is 36 (3 x 12). This symbolizes the divine trinity of 3 coupled with a highly tribal number (12) of humanity or the cosmos, while mirroring the 12 stems of lilies and the 3 hummingbirds on the vessel. The edition size is also intended to be symbolic of completion (the number 9 as with 3 +6). To some, the number 12 also represents a number of completion. The companion poetry of Celestial Joy is 9 stanzas, with 4 lines in each stanza equaling 36. I, as well as, many teachers and leaders believe we are nearing the end (completing) of a huge phase of humanity while growing into (hopefully) a very new, higher and peaceful level of conscious living. The energetic joyful loving of the hummingbird is symbolic of the chosen divine attributes for this transition time on our journey – the attribute companions of joy, love, mutuality and trust. She invites all of us to choose, and to trust joyful loving and peaceful living.
Alpine Lily Facts
- Lillium Parvum (small lily) is also called the Small Tiger Lily or the Small Flowered Rocky Mountain Lily.
- It is tall with smooth stems 1.5’ – 6’ tall.
- Leaves are lanceolate in whorls of 5 or 6 especially near the base of the plant, scattered and much smaller among the upper portions of the plant.
- The blooms are solitary or in clusters; trumpet or funnel shaped with six equal divisions; 3 petals and 3 sepals; blooming upward or horizontal and never drooping.
- It has a tiny bloom of 1-1.5”; greenish in color at very base then yellow toward bottom; orange to vermilion at tips dotted often (but not always) with crimson in the throat.
- Clusters have from as few as 6-7 blooms in one cluster to as many as 30. The stamens have long antlers, long filaments, and long pistils with a three-lobed stigma.
- The alpine lily blooms are non-fragrant.
- It grows freely in the High Sierras to altitudes of 4000-8000’ (western USA) and as far north as the Cascade Range of southern Oregon.
- It also grows in other ranges of the Pacific States of North America while exclusively on banks of mountain-streams or in swampy places with constant flows of cool water. It thrives in the dark, moist woodlands.
Margaret Armstrong writes in her 1915 book, Field Book Of Western Wild Flowers: as she describes these beautiful wild blooms as “lords of the gardens…perhaps the most beautiful and popular flowers everywhere and there are some wonderful ones in the west.”
Lilies, in general, are symbolic of purity, peace and resurrection. They are also symbolic of the fertility of the Earth.The lily, in the west, shares the symbolism of the lotus in the east.
There is a biblical reference to the lilies: Matthew 6:28: (New American Standard Bible) “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!
Tahoe Wildflowers by Laird Blackwell
Fieldbook of Western Wildflowers by Margaret Armstrong (1915)
Lilies A Guide for Growers and Collectors by Edward Austin McRae (1998)
An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols by J.C. Cooper
Wikipedia.org and sierrawildflowers.org
Black-Chinned Hummingbird Facts
“The black-chinned hummingbird measures about three and one-half inches long [one of the smaller hummingbirds] with a three and three-quarter-inch wing span. It weighs three to three and one-half grams, which is about equivalent to the weight of a dime plus a dollar bill. The male is dull metallic green above and gray below. He has a black chin and upper throat with a violet, iridescent lower throat which is known as a gorget (pronounced gore-jet). A white upper breast looks like a collar against the gorget. The female lacks the characteristic coloring on the chin and upper throat and lower throat… Black-chins breed from southern British Columbia to Mexico. They winter in Mexico. Black-chins arrive in Canada in late May, following their migration out of Mexico. They begin returning to Mexico in late June. Most are gone from southern British Columbia by the end of July. [They have the most extensive breeding range of any western hummingbirds.]They are abundant in southern Arizona throughout summer… Red flowers are generally the most commonly visited ones although tubular-shaped corollas, regardless of color, may be just as important an attractant. Others hypothesize that black-chins choose red and orange flowers because fewer insects visit them…” by DesertUSA.com and Digital West, Inc.
“Hummingbirds have the largest known relative heart size of all birds. Their heart represents 2.4% of their body weight…Of all birds, hummingbirds lay the smallest of eggs. A hummingbird’s egg is less than half an inch long – the size of a jellybean… An average hummingbird consumes half its weight in sugar each day… A hummingbird’s heart beats 1,260 times per minute…Hummingbirds can live up to 12 years although many live only 3-5 years…Hummingbirds can hover better than any other birds because of the unusual structure of their wings. Other birds have wings with several moveable joints. Hummingbird wings are different. The bones in their wings are permanently fixed and rigid, except at the shoulder joint, where the wing can move freely in all directions… When hovering, a hummingbird’s wing moves forward, and then the leading edge rotates nearly 180 degrees and moves back again. During the movement the tips of the wings trace a horizontal figure eight in the air.”
Stokes, The Hummingbird Book, pages 28-30:
- Mayans associated the hummingbird with the fifth world [a higher dimension] of their legends.
- Hummingbirds can hear and see better than humans.
- They love to perch.
- Their breeding habitat is open semi-arid areas and near water in their natural regions.
- They hybridize with other species and are fiercely independent, often imitating an aggressive quality.
- They can hover, fly backwards, and are very skillful fliers (the only bird able to fly backwards).
- Hummingbirds are symbolic of accomplishing what may well appear impossible (some migrate over 2,000 miles twice a year).
They remind us to find joy in all we do. (Medicine Cards by Jaime Sams and David Carson)
- They are also symbolic of pure, tireless joy and endless loving and nurturing.
- According to the Dictionary of Symbols, by Jean Chevalier and Alain Gheerbrant (p. 608) the Hopi Indians hold a myth where the hummingbird is the hero who intercedes with the god of germination and plant growth to save mankind from famine.
Hummingbird Book by Donald and Lillian Stokes 1989
Animal Magick by D.J. Conway
Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson
Animal Speak by Ted Andrews
world of hummingbirds.com
Reference these resources to learn much more about the fascinating facts regarding hummingbirds.