Fourth of July Spiritual Musings

Fourth of July Aurora Fireworks
When I was 23 years old, I was the director of the Gunflint Wilderness Camp, a small camp literally surrounded by the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota near the Canadian border. On the Fourth of July we had considered taking the kids on a three hour round-trip to Grand Marais to see the fireworks.  We decided that was a long way to go when we could create our own festivities.  We had “The Rock” on which to hold our campfire, a creative group of guides, and the night sky.  The Rock was a 20-foot mound of stone overlooking the Seagull River, with just enough flat surface on top for a large campfire. Who could ask for more?

After we had our campfire fun, when the dark had settled in, I became the Fourth of July conjurer.  I had practiced earlier in the camp’s kitchen, experimenting with chemicals to find the most flammable powders.  At the campfire, I gestured broadly as I spoke of the power of fire and night, exciting the flame with chemicals.  I was performing with a hint of theatrics to keep the event rooted in the spirit of fun.  And yet, I held an inner attitude of serious respect for the elements that gave depth to the performance. My picture was taken that night, the photo I use for my Facebook profile.  I had no idea someone had taken my picture, because I was so clearly focused on the conjuring (by age 20 my life had become infused with mystic participation).

Let me be clear, the powder that produces a green flame is not a magical recipe to produce green aurora borealis.  I do not claim thatnorthern lights from Facebook page Just Beautiful my effort had any effect on the night sky.  I find it a curious coincidence that, within minutes following “the conjuring,” we witnessed a truly marvelous display of Northern Lights – the colors, magnitude and motion of the aurora being the best I have witnessed.  The sky was conjuring itself, outdoing its own potential for wonder.  Everyone agreed the display was far better than fireworks.

Healing with the holiday
One thing that I’ve noticed empathically over the years is a slight shift in the group consciousness that accompanies cultural participation in holidays.  For example, there’s a more peaceful and giving feeling in the air on Christmas morning when people have shifted consciousness from work to a celebration of giving.  There is a portion of group mind focused on the potential for rebirth on the Easter holiday, and the potential for grieving on Memorial Day.  Of course, these feelings and opportunities exist year round, but the slight shift of group perception may boost potential by virtue of the conscious and unconscious attention shared through the holiday experience.

The Fourth of July is intended to be patriotic.  Largely, it’s an excuse for drinking, fireworks, letting off steam, and summer fun.  But underlying the holiday is the intention of celebrating our independence as a nation.  The potential to renew national bonds is more alive.  Therefore, I suggest we claim an opportunity to participate in creating healthy independence through the intention of this holiday (which lasts, roughly, from July 4 to July 7).  I’m suggesting we take time — in our energy work, prayers, and meditations — to piggyback on the potential of unfocused group intent and give some attention to the healing of our country.  A healthy country allows the circumstance for creativity and spiritual growth.  So, without partisan agendas, I’m suggesting we take a moment or series of moments to engage our spiritual sources and resources toward the health of our nation.  I suggest we focus our intention on “best possible outcome.”  We cannot know the result of our engagement, but the well-being of future generations is worth of the effort.  Every new birth begins as an idea in the mind of Potential, given life through the mediation of consciousness and Spirit.

Gazing at the backdrop of night
Call me an introvert if you want, but I prefer fireflies to fireworks.  Fireworks are eye candy and a booming declaration of existence.  Fireflies are literally a living symbol of the light behind the darkness – the energetic reality behind the veil.  Fireflies may be an expression of nature spirits inviting us to free our minds and play with Night.  In the mythic mind, fireflies are a terrestrial cousin of the night sky. Imagining the infinite depth of Universe invites self-expansion. The following poem honors that notion.


Cities, even suburbs, have street lamps
that provide light on demand,
the expectation to selectively banish the dark.
Occasionally they fail, or blink on the road
to burn out, revealing fairies in the gutter
and shadows on the pavement.
Someone will report this to maintenance.

Tonight I’ve left the city,
the certainty of the tamed electric.
I’m greeted by a flock of fireflies,
transported to a resurrected memory.
That night I held witness to many hundreds
of the flashing emissaries luring me into trance.
It felt like my eyes were dancing
in a field of tellurian Northern Lights.
It felt like communion with our star, connection
with all the distant points of light that liven the sky.

Back in the here and now, a syncopated glow
passes directly overhead drawing my attention
to the depth of the Milky Way. Vision expands
as I view all the lights simultaneously.
I’m thankful that the Light has switched on,
and that the backdrop of the universe is always on.

This Fourth of July, enjoy fireworks if you please.  But I suggest you take a moment to appreciate the majestic backdrop of Nature and the night sky.  Then take it one step further to connect with the majestic backdrop of the Power behind night, and behind all our days.

Photo from Facebook page Just Beautiful

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1 Response to Fourth of July Spiritual Musings

  1. Just don’t go to bed after the fireworks show before checking the northern sky. NOAA’s space weather prognosticators expect a small auroral storm to begin sometime tonight and continue through tomorrow night. There’s a 20% chance we’ll see action at mid-northern latitudes and a 60% chance at high latitudes, where one wonders if any auroras are seen to advantage this time of year. North of about 49 degrees north latitude, twilight lingers all night long during the summer months.

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