There is a man in Tubac Arizona who is known as The Grumpy Gringo. He has a stogie shop and as it turns out some really nice stogies are packed in big wads of loose coils of tobacco. He gives me this tobacco free for my ceremonies and all manner of cigar boxes also free. I decided I would make him a ceremonial ashtray as a gift which plays in nicely with the old “ashtray art” concept. I have long held that this insult is actually a veiled reference to potteries ceremonial beginnings, and so the spiraled ceremonial ashtray is born.
Now, along comes Coyote and the divine folly is in full swing. This grumpy gringo is out there sitting on his porch puffing away in absolute sacrilege. All his cronies gathered there puffing away in sacrilege. But Coyote just loves it, and I move easily in my own reverence as my first tobacco seeds begin to sprout.
The Elephant spirit then makes a comeback. I have a day in the studio and make an Elephant spirit, rain cloud, pot. I understand as soon as I finish the pot that Elephant is just a messenger this time and the next day I realize it is Coyote and the tobacco spirit moving together into my sacred space. This tells me right away that there will be four spirals in the center. So I make a cloud with four spirals and get that I need to go forward into another form of flower blossom… moving from the constantly changing cloud to the balance and grounding of the four directions and the four directions between the directions. Before I can even touch the clay to create the new eight petaled blossom, the tobacco spirit grabs hold of me and makes me sing for two hours. I do all of my chores singing, “Holy, Holy, is Thy Name”. I sing to all of my plants and bless the place where I plan to plant my Tobacco. The first pot is ok, on track, but I can see that I haven’t received the form in its full realization. So the next day Tobacco Spirit makes me sing for an hour and a half, as I am now ready to receive the form. It felt like being under the powerful direction of the Peyote Spirit in full ceremony.
The Tobacco spirit pot has eight petals; between the petals are eight Elephant heads. The trunks of these holy beasts are double ended: able to give and receive simultaneously. In the center is the four-pointed star. It was a serious challenge for me, sitting there with that pot in my hands, to move in on that beautiful pristine center area when I knew that four spirals would never fit. I hesitated to spoil my morning’s work… At last I dove right in and sure enough, Spirit was right… and the Star Flower was born!
Shar Shk Buk X
February 27th. 2013
Tobacco Spirit pot before the “Star Flower” center is completed.
The Star Flower, pit fired with Mesquite sticks.