Practical necessity can serve as a very effective spark for creative expression, and in this case it certainly did. Unintentional fire is generally considered undesirable, and the necessity for an appropriate offering apparatus led to just such a creative venture.
Since the offerings vary significantly in size and type, from palo santo to cedar to apples to sage to stones, something small or flimsy would not do. Portability would also be a factor. The shape of a box proved too limiting and a pan or cloth would not be a sufficient container. A solid bowl that’s easily supported in one hand and made of a flame-resistant material was the general conclusion.
After obtaining the bowl itself, it seemed like something was not quite right, not quite finished. Pondering this, we realized it did not possess the air of an object for sacred ceremony, so we went to work incorporating sacred imagery we felt was relevant to the bowl’s purpose.
Spirals have widely-ranging, dense symbolism and is a significant symbol to both of us, on cultural and personal levels. The Newgrange triple spiral is an especially dense and mysterious spiral symbol. Some think the Newgrange triple spiral represents the Celtic triple goddess, and others think it is the three Celtic realms of sky and land and sea. Some have also suggested, with some of the more significant lore associated with the place as well as the design dovetailing into this idea, that Newgrange itself is “a cave, a womb, of the Mother Goddess that would receive the seed of the Sun God” (Carr-Gomm, OBOD) and that each spiral of the triple spiral is a trimester of this womb’s gestation. In this same vein of thought, this offering bowl is a vessel for movement and transformation of sacred energy.
On the reverse side to the spirals, a golden Sun Cross maps the ‘Celtic medicine wheel‘ as described in The Settling of the Manor of Tara (see full translated myth here). At the cross quarters of the wheel, we (but mostly Cliareach Filleadh) placed some of the more essential concepts of spiritual movement through the world into the position of the cross quarter celebration that each seemed the most appropriate to, such as the immram to Samhain as the journey into the dark from the Vision in the West to the Battle of the North.
The colors of gold and green, the Sun cross, and the Newgrange spiral, are all symbols linked to Lugh, a Sun god and Master of Skills comparable in an archetypal way to Apollo. Having itself been created on Lughnasadh and used first in Visionsong, which we subsequently dedicated to Lugh, the significance of all these things quickly gained further depth and relevance.
What began as necessity transformed into an experience of creative expression, symbolic exploration, and synchronistic harmony.