December 5, 2019

Delivering The Divine Unto The World

Held by Spirit
by Lucy pierce


As Christmas approaches and I listen to the sweet voice of my beautiful daughter singing songs of donkeys and mangers, of holy mothers and miraculous babies and luminous stars, the mysterious mythic interface rises through my resistance to meet me where I stand. This is what she shows me.
Sometimes, even though we are virgin and sovereign and self-sustaining,  we are also pregnant with something that is bigger than we are. 
Sometimes, our bodies heavy and pendulous with what has gestated within, we roam the landscape, lost, looking for somewhere to rest, somewhere to lay in the warm straw and give birth to the gift that has grown unseen inside of us. We search high and low for the manger that will hold the elusive offering of our treasure. 
Sometimes the resting place, the shelter from the dark night eludes us and we despair. Sometimes we feel far from home and so very alone and so very full of the thing we have grown that is asking to be birthed into a world that does not necessarily value what we hold inside. 
Sometimes the culture within which we roam, looking for safe harbour, is hostile to what it is that awaits birth within us. 
Sometimes what awaits birth inside of us is the very thing that will help to change the culture, to make it a more accepting and less hostile place. 
But for now we have to hold it alone, in the dark unknowingness, we have to learn to love what we do not understand inside of us, which grows from the seed of divinity. Sometimes we are asked to be guide and protector of She who is seeking a place to give birth to that which will change the culture. 
Sometimes the child is not our own, but that of the great mystery, it is a child conceived of an energy that moves far beyond our scope and means, but we say yes, and we hold space and we guide and protect, we lead the way and relentlessly seek the path and the place for the new to birth itself into the now.
Sometimes we stand beside and hold the space for the mystery to be born through another. 
Sometimes we are the donkey, and we must endure the back breaking work of supporting the body, providing the passage, for the one who is pregnant with mystery, the one who in that moment is birthing the sacred for us all. 
Sometimes the only place we can find to rest and to begin our birthing song, is a lowly place. 
Sometimes it is not what we’d hoped for, barren or plain. 
Usually the animals are there, arrived before us to pave the way, wise and accepting, where often our fellow man is not. 
Sometimes all that comes present to bear witness to our miraculous birthing, of that which is beyond us, through the visceral pathways of our own messy embodiment, in that lowly place that is all we have to accommodate the untenable nature of our gestation and the wholehearted devotion required of us to bring that through, is the bright starlight, incandescent and pure, and the humble animals and the unseen winged ones, the imperceptible flutter of their flight, who know things beyond our vision, who see things too big for us to see. 
Sometimes the wise men come and sometimes there are gifts, but by then the work has already been done. We have already walked alone in the barren land. We have already grown full and ripe and heavy with a vast and unknowable fruit. We have already knocked on the doors of our kith and kin, who could not understand the urgency of our need. We have already been turned away. We have already found our lowly place and our animal kin. We have already said yes, to the inconceivable birthing, to the standing by and husbanding of that birth, to the holding within our humble skin, the vast mystery of creation, the holy miracle of a love that is bigger than us. 
Sometimes, these days, we walk the path alone, no husband by our side.
Sometimes we have a donkey to ride, but sometimes our feet are bloodied and sore from the flint of our wayward paths as we seek and we seek and we seek the place to lay our untold and awkward gift down, even as we are turned away, still we seek, to finally find the place to belong, to open our bodies and to let the thing free, the thing that god seeded within us, that has grown full term, that the angels await, and the stars swell toward. 
Most of the time, the thing that is wanting to birth itself inside of us, the thing that was seeded by god, in our virgin and sovereign power, is love. A love bigger than our frail humanity and our awkward brokenness. A love bigger than what we thought we were capable of. A love that will change the world. Sometimes there is no shape in the world we know, for the love that is birthing itself from within us. 
Sometimes the love we birth lives unrecognised. Sometimes it is misunderstood and brutalised. 
Sometimes in the end it is crucified, but always the angels are watching and the animals know, and sometimes the unknowable thing we are seeking to birth, is that which will become our saviour.

Image and words  by Lucy Pierce © 2019

May 27, 2019

The Four Elements Sculptures





These pieces were created as part of the 2009 Bushfire Commemoration Contemplation Space that Vicky Basdeo and I collaborated on and launched at the Ngulu festival at ECOSS in May 2019. Whilst the experience of collaborating with Vicky was a delight, my own emotional experience of the work, as someone deeply impacted by these fires, and my creative experience as an artisan, were deeply fraught and conflicting. Three of these 4 sculptures exploded in the kiln and now lie buried in their 3 directions around the perimeter of ECOSS, whilst Water Woman alone, holds a physical presence alongside Vicky's beautiful contributions, the one remaining palpable offering of formal completion in a good deal of unrealised creative effort. The burying of the pieces into the earth felt like a cathartic offering in itself as a deepening of my experience of loss and grief having lost my dear father in these catastrophic bushfires.Below are some musings on what this project on the whole meant to me and what I came to understand as the project reached its completion.


Outside of the lovely collaborative synergy of the meetings that Vicky and I have shared over the past few months and the powerful medicine of her gentle company, this project has for me been a journey that has constellated around the need for presence and the search for boundaries, of spaces that emerge between our desire for control and our need to surrender, of immersion in the alchemical creative process and the search for discipline.

It has seemed on many occasions that I had bitten off more than I could chew with this project. There have been moments where I have been dancing on the fringes of defeat and of shame, about how it has unfolded for me, I have rung Chelsea on numerous occasions with the impulse to withdraw from the project. But then within that I can feel the fertile edges of the possibility of just being very deeply authentic with it and owning the raw and messy space of it inside me. 

In regard to the blown apart sculpture of the Air element, a friend has reminded me of the story of Osiris and his dismemberment and the quest to reassemble his parts. This is a myth that I have been exploring in my study of soul-centred psychotherapy over the last year. I feel very alive to the parts of ourselves that can become psychically cut off as we make our way through life, and the very pressing task, for me at least at this time, of retrieval and attending to these lost and severed aspects of self, in an attitude of gently re-parenting them back into cohesion and relationship again, with the wholeness of who we are as individuals and as a collective. There feels to be some thread of meaning there for me, in my own art making process of creation and loss and the thwarting of intent that has played out in the creative matrix of this instillation. 

The bush fires are very much alive for me still obviously, in the field of grief and trauma, personal and familial, and my relationship to the masculine through the loss of my father, and being pregnant with my son at that time. To have envisioned harmony between the elements and sought to represent them in a state of equilibrium and harmonious resonance, has not been as straight forward as I might have initially imagined possible. Clearly there is still inner journeying required to know this harmonious relationship of elemental energies, within myself as a being and a creator. 

And then there is a noticing of the part of me that is so disappointed that I have not “succeeded” or “accomplished” in the way that I would have hoped, in the way that I set myself up for. But maybe to commemorate the bushfires for me as an artist and as a grieving human, is not about success and accomplishment. Maybe it is about brokenness and the aliveness of grief and trauma that is resonant in my life still. Maybe it is about the reality of the lived experience not always being controllable, about the things that are taken out of our hands, the precious things that life can take away without our consent, and the raw and irreconcilable space that can be left behind in its wake. 

Maybe this experience has for me been an illustration of transience and grappling, of the duality of creation and destruction, of accomplishment and failure to be as accomplished as one might expect of oneself, and of the great primordial dance of the elements, their conflict and imbalance, their destructive potential, their beauty and balm, their essential life-giving nourishment, their relational alchemy and harmonious reciprocity. 

What is most resonant with me in this developmentally liminal threshold in the creation of this contemplation space, here but not fully complete, alive and still distilling itself into being, is the ask for gentleness and compassionate listening, to self and other and to that which is co-arising in the space between us all. It was this that I had wanted to create for us as a community in this commemorative piece, as we reflect upon the 10 year anniversary of the Black Saturday Bushfires, as people who live in a bush environment and therefore require a degree of awareness of how we live with the elements and their potentials for creation and destruction and as an area that has become the new home of many who were impacted by those fires. Rather than constructing a monument, Vicky and I talked about a space for grief, the alchemical mysteries of grief and praise, permission to feel and embrace the uncertain and orphaned parts that we don’t always give ourselves permission to behold. 

However it appears that I as an artist am not immune, or held outside of this need for that same compassionate listening, the same non-judgemental space holding, for the process of life to just be what it is, with the invitation for it to be fully felt, and the attunement to the inevitable vulnerability that can arise when we allow ourselves to embody the fully felt experience of life as it happens to us. 

This instillation space is not complete for me yet, there are sculptures still to be fired and one at least to be remade. I will be perservering in the days to come, to see where we may land by the Spring Fair, out the other side of our wintering. Similarly the process of healing from grief and trauma is never really complete, we are just constantly reforged in the fires of how it lives in us, how we can come to carry it in ways that are life-giving rather than untenable, how we let our experience grow us rather than diminish us, how we can sensitively and courageously work with the raw materials of our experience, the elemental building blocks of our creation, to craft something enduring and supportive to ourselves and to one another.

Sometimes the gift lies not in the perfection, but rather in the humbling. Not in the completion, but in the long and winding road. Sometimes what is being asked is to be deeply in the field of the process of our lived experience, rather than on the linear road of neatly packaged outcomes.

Words and images © Lucy Pierce 2019

May 9, 2019

A Gift For Grief

A Gift For Grief

Some of us have been born here 
with a gift for grief.
We have wandered around the earth
unhinged from the joy that surrounded us,
bewildered as to why it was 
that our hearts broke when others did not?
Why the wound could never quite heal over?
Why the well of tears would not run dry?
Maybe after an eternity of not knowing 
what to do with all our grief, 
we have been born at this time on purpose?
So that all that we are losing, 
day by day, 
the untold magnitude 
of all the delicate treasures lost, 
will be grieved for, 
beautifully and with generosity.
So that the life-giving tears can be received 
into the hard dry earth at our end, 
and the last of species may hear 
the heartbroken ululation of our grief 
at their passing.
We might become the tender watch song, 
the brave sentinels,
our hearts ablaze 
with the depth of our care 
and our capacity to let the loss be felt,
and our courage to lay a desperate claim
upon what it is that we have done here,
and to be brave enough to love what is lost
through the sinews of our ravaged hearts.
So that the water and the air 
and the fire and the earth
and all the vast council of beings,
will reverberate with the sibilance 
of our ancient keening, 
not so that we might all be saved 
from ourselves after all,
but so that we will die well, 
in the knowledge that the Earth’s profound beauty 
was seen and known, 
loved and cherished. 
Maybe in the end, 
dying well, 
in the presence of love, 
in the knowledge that we will be missed, 
is all that’s left for us to ask for. 
I do not offer this from a place of meanness 
or defeat, 
but as an opening to purpose and to dignity, 
a leaning into the possibility of beauty after all,
however terrible it may also be.
Perhaps there is still time 
for a magnificent restitution,
a gracious salvation?
But if not,
when the time comes I hope I will be ready 
to grieve as magnificently 
as my life has prepared me for.

Words and image “Water Woman” by Lucy Pierce © 2019

February 8, 2019

To Wrestle and Churn


I wrestle and churn, 
hungering for the primordial and the unmediated, 
hankering for the meaning-made-manifest 
through relationship to land and plant, 
animal and bird, 
elemental primacy, 
enmeshed belonging to the maternal matrix of Gaia, 
to embedded cosmic ecology, 
to tribe and custom and craft and way, 
the free flowing conduit between body and earth
unsevered and pure, 
the great ear of my heart bent close 
to the cascading current of co-creative arrising, 
weaving the vibrational threads of existence 
into harmony through the undulations of my vocal chords 
and the pulsation of my muscles, 
the ululating of my sinews, 
the earthquakes of my pleasure, 
as they are moved by the great dance 
of love’s living moment in cell and bone, 
flesh and organ, 
dancing, toning, undulating, 
partnering in a unified improvisation 
with the primordial web of creation, 
honing myself to source, 
stilling my mind so that the plants and the earth 
and the menagerie of living beings 
and the planets may speak to me 
of the wisdom they carry 
and the hungering at the heart of Earth
 to be received by us, 
to be reciprocated with co-mingling communion, 
receiving the magnificent bounty of wealth 
that lies at our feet in every moment, 
the vast and glorious treasures 
of fresh air and clean water, 
of fertile earth and life-giving fire. 
Even on this stolen land, 
my heart knows she is indigenous, 
that I belong here, on this Earth body, 
that Her breast is generous enough to offer me 
and my broken heart succour, 
to awaken me, enliven me, 
compost my separation into fecund belonging. 
May the rigid grids and sticky membranes 
of dominator culture decay, 
may the fear of persecution fall away, 
may the separation of my shame dissolve, 
may the illusion of my imprisoned inferiority erode, 
that I may be homed to the unified consciousness of Gaia, 
to the great cosmic web of creation. 
For so long I have been held captive in a colonised mind, 
from the cages of this linear perception, 
the wisdom ways of my people buried and lost so far back, 
in another land, a far distant time, 
I am orphaned from my power. 
I have not been taught the language 
of the ways and the medicines, 
the stories and dreams and songs and dances 
of this country upon which my body abides. 
I have lost the songs and the stories 
and the language and the lore 
that held me in the tapestry of my own ancestral cohesion. 
And yet in the great cyclic dreamweave 
my soul knows beyond a shadow of a doubt, 
She remembers, 
that my body belongs to a cosmic weave of love
more vast and magnificent than any shallow trinket 
promised by my culture, 
than any trauma my personhood can endure. 
I was there at the beginning of all of this 
and I will be there at the end, 
so much bigger and more exquisite than I could ever imagine, 
unified and vast, 
eternally nourishing, 
eternally receiving. 
Was I born here, on this Earth at this time, 
misplaced and cast adrift in a culture 
of brutal rape and devouring avarice, 
of plastic and hunger, 
colonised and dismembered, 
to endlessly drown in the wave upon wave 
of my own lostness and despair? 
Or can I weave my way home to belonging and to cohesion, 
to song and to story, 
to dance and to vibrational integrity? 
Can I leave the words of separation and division 
and brutal ownership that are a part of my cultural inheritance, 
out of my mouth? 
May they cease to move my tongue? 
May I create new words that bind and attune, 
that embrace and send out roots and shoots 
to mend and to heal, 
to connect and to re-member? 
Can I allow myself to be re-membered? 
Can I surrender the need to be seen 
as something seperate and special, 
to know myself as something vastly insignificant 
and deeply connected? 
Can I recall how to be in relationship 
with the microbiome of soil 
and the cadence of soul? 
Can I allow myself to be moved by the tide 
and rustled by the breeze, 
my boundaries thrown wide open 
to let the sunlight in and the mosquito, 
the owl and the star, 
the pulse and the spark? 
Can I be born again, 
wild and instinctual, 
primal and alive, 
tender and pure, 
listening and receptive, 
courageous and co-creative, 
to this Earth that is my home, 
this body that is my nest and my deepest rest, 
to this womb that carries the universe within it, 
to this heart that is born to sing in gratitude 
for the rain of blessings life bestows, 
to this mind that has been undone and remade
across the vast stretches of time, 
that whilst holding a leaden understanding 
of the atrocities of humanity, 
also holds within it the hologram of my own divinity 
and the birth rite of my ancient belonging 
in the ever-present ecstasy of the now.

© Lucy Pierce 2019