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Creativity-Portal.com Multicultural Muses Series
Multicultural Muses : The Fire of Inspiration: Pele

Multicultural Muses

The Fire of Inspiration: Pele

By Molly J. Anderson-Childers

I celebrate the return of spring and warm sunny days after a long, dark winter. Pele, the Fiery Mountain Woman of Hawaiian legend, is the perfect Muse to help me invoke the creative, passionate energies of fire. The element of fire has long been associated with creative inspiration, transformation, energy, intense emotion, and change. According to legends, Pele created the Hawaiian Islands — her volcanic, explosive energy forms new islands, even as old ones are destroyed.

Fire is an essential part of many art forms — potters, gold and silversmiths, bakers, and gourmet chefs all depend upon fire to transform base materials into art: inert clay into a beautiful bowl; lumps of metal into jewelry; gooey dough into delicious bread. Many cultures tell stories of unlikely creatures born of flames, such as the Phoenix (or Fire-Bird), fiery salamanders who live in the flames of a hearth, dragons, and fire faeries. And what artist can deny the necessity of the creative fire? This season, bring the energy of Pele into your studio with some hot tips for re-igniting your creative flame!

Light a red candle. Ask Pele to guide your hand as you pen a fiery, passionate poem in her honor. When it's done, read it aloud, then consign it to the flames — a fitting tribute to this powerful and awe-inspiring deity.

If you're a visual artist, create a blazing-hot palette full of golden, orange, and crimson hues. Paint a portrait, sculpture or collage of the volcano goddess herself, or another mythical creature such as a phoenix, fire faerie, or dragon. Or, create a landscape scene that invokes fire in some way — an erupting volcano in the midst of an ocean archipelago, or a fiery desert scene. Display the finished piece in your studio as a reminder of fire's beauty and its power to transform.

Need another way to turn up the heat? Challenge yourself to do something outside your comfort zone. If you're a shy, reclusive writer, volunteer to read your work at an open mike night, or enter a poetry slam. The terror and excitement of reading your work in front of an audience will fire you up, encouraging you to take more creative risks.

You can also challenge yourself to be more creative, more often. Can you write ten pages a day for a month? If so, congratulations — you've written about 300 pages — enough for a novel! Can you create a poem, collage, painting, or drawing every day? A creative challenge can really light a fire under your easel! How long can you keep it up — a week? Two weeks? A month, or a whole season? A year? Try it, and let me know!

Pele is a creative powerhouse, with abundant energy for new inspiration. She can also aid you in following through on projects that aren't quite done. Write a deadline or goal for completion on your calendar — then promise Pele that if you haven't finished the project by that date, you'll burn it in effigy! Giving yourself a deadline to finish a work-in-progress can spur you on to finish stories, paintings, or other projects that are languishing in your studio in some in-between stage. Pele's fiery energy can give you the needed energy to push through your resistance and cross the finish line with inspiration to spare.

Feeling blocked, stuck, and blah? Try jump-starting a stalled project with a timed free-writing or brainstorming session. Set a timer for a short amount of time to begin with, but no less than ten minutes. You can't stop until the timer goes off, but you may choose to continue working after your time is up. During that time, your goal is to write down as many words or ideas as possible. The point is simply to get your hand moving; to break through your block and get back into the habit of putting pen to page. Try it again, with a longer period of time for each session. Visual artists can also try this technique by setting a timer in the studio to sculpt, paint, or work with clay. This technique is sure to ignite a feverish fit of red-hot inspiration! As Louisa May Alcott's Jo says in Little Women, "Genius burns!" Let the flames of inspiration ignite, consume you, and transform you. Like the legendary Phoenix, you will rise from the ashes and soar. •

© 2009 Molly J. Anderson-Childers

Molly Anderson-Childers is a a highly creative writer and artist from Durango, Colorado. More »

4/2/09