The Rose in the Fire


“And all shall be well and

All manner of things shall be well 

When the tongues of flame are in-folded

Into the crowned knot of fire

And the fire and the rose are one.” 

T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Throughout Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot evokes the image of a rose in all it’s familiar incarnations: a gift for a lover, a wilted decoration for a tombstone, a symbol of memory. Fire, on the other hand, is love incarnate, “Love is the unfamiliar Name/ Behind the hands that wove/ The intolerable shirt of flame/ Which human power cannot remove/ We only live, only suspire/ Consumed by either fire or fire.” 

Here is the secret to Love – that it consumes entirely, ’till the rose is naught but ash. We, in our earth-bound bodies, are wilting roses, we are perpetually dying, we are walking ashes. But Love! Love is the One purifier of such wretchedness, love is the crucible and the flame, love leaves no survivors.

The same visions taken from poetry, mingled with Tantric philosophy, and returned to poetry, repeats the theme of surrender:

“We always fall in love with one another through the exotic ordinariness of coincidence. We always fall in love – we never climb. We never conquer the mountain, even though we scale the heights of riotous glory.” (Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon, by Ngakpa Chogyam and Khandro Dechen, p. 3)

…and further touches upon the dynamic reality of non-dual awareness achieved only when we are truly dancing in the flames:

“The rose in the fire symbolizes the daily round of human passion intersected by the divine, so that what could be meaningless suffering is transformed into soulmaking. Those of us who are conscious at all have experienced moments when the personal has been intersected by the archetypal, time intersected by the timeless…They are moments in which the soul is, present tense, NOW, dancing in the flames.” (Dancing in the Flames: The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness, by Marion Woodman and Elinor Dickson, p. 164-5)

Are you truly loving? Do you really know love? 

In the last eight days, we have considered themes of surrender, altruism, demons and enemies, sacrifice, self-love, integration, the nature of love… all in the context of deepening our experience and ultimately expanding our ability to give and receive LOVE in all it’s scintillating kaleidoscopic ephemeries.

How has your heart been touched, transformed, opened by spending nine days meditating and integrating LOVE into your life in new and unexpected ways? Your final assignment (should you choose to accept) is to post a brief comment below on how (or if) you have participated and changed through our shared, emotional/spiritual investigation of the theme of LOVE.

bowing to you, in honor of your path, in love, Arwen

bowing to you, in honor of your path, in love, Arwen

Thank you for joining The Holistic Homestead for our fourth annual winter retreat! We sincerely wish greater health, wealth and happiness to all our loyal readers, and that spiritual health is an equally important facet of your overall well being, your joy in living, and your fulfillment in all LOVE. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.