The Devil's Flower
Stories move in from the shadows to the limelight. And though the stage presents the drama of our powerlessness, the shadows offer the secret of our power. ∞ Rebecca Solnit
I only want to see you laughing in the Purple Rain...I only want to see you bathing in the Purple Rain. ∞ Prince
I'm sitting here listening to Prince sing me a lullaby of desire posthumously. I am thinking of old legends and lore that speak of a Green Man who sacrificed himself annually to ensure the fertility of his people. I see him there, cloven hoofed and cloaked in nature's finery, lying motionless on a violet-draped altar.
I am also daydreaming about a horned god with a penchant for possibility stalking wildness and beauty in my spirit. He's naked but for a magnificent velvet loin cloth, purple of course. Somehow he has managed to be both ancient and modern, primal and pristine luxury.
This is how I am reconciling this early departure of greatness.
Truthfully, it is as though Prince, in slipping out of this life, magnified his power. It feels like he flipped a switch and awakened a part of him that also resides in me. I feel electric, vibrant, untamed. In death, he seems larger than life.
I can hear him exhorting the seed he planted in my soul a long time ago to come all the way alive and to flower: the forbidden, the primal, the novel, the joyful, the sorrowful, the unexpected, the ardent...
Prince is singing right to the core of my passion. The sly boldness of his voice is awakening a hunger for life and for my own art that will not be easily tamed. I don't think I am even going to try.
In the same moment, he is holding up a mirror, diamond studded and covered in pearls. In this mirror I see reflected my own capacity for freshness. I see my life flanked in luxury and freedom. My body is burning with desire.
I am desire.
This is paradoxical, to say the least. In the presence of my purple DIVA master, suddenly I can see that it has been my own desire (gone awry) lashing my wrists to the bed posts of a mundane affair with other people's opinions. I am suddenly aware of how my hunger to meet my desire and exceed its expectations has made me a sponge soaking up "how tos" until I can scarcely feel my own creative spark in the sea of so-called expert voices who all claim to know how to bring my passion to the world.
I have been lost, shrouded in mist, my edges have become a blurry, ill-defined mess as I have faded into the background of supposed to.
Desire's ambassador has arrived to end this charade.
He shines magnificence from beneath his purple baptismal robes. Before I can take a full breath, I am plunged into the deep, dark, rich waters. I am bathing in the Purple Rain and the voices have fallen silent, perhaps awed by the spectacle.
I can also see how, in an effort to free it, I have made my voice captive. I have put forth a valiant effort to challenge the status quo, to blow apart the cultural norms that seemed to bind my tongue, spit upon my gender and suck the oxygen out of my inner pyrotechnics. I also somehow managed to forget that to be in a power struggle with something is to be defined by that thing, or at the very least, by the struggle.
Power struggles are my heroin.
This is where I go to give up my own power and authority, not reclaim them. The moment I start to shout about fighting the power, I feel my own words douse my creative fire as I bury my potential in a surreptitious love affair with the very thing that most needs to be toppled.
The end result: frigid creativity, repressed originality, impotent expression.
Under the influence of my amaranthine guide, I release all of this.
As I listen to Prince, his voice becomes the beacon calling me home to myself. I am now lost in the ultimate irony: My past is destroying my inability to be fully present right here and now. I am being liberated from and by my yesterday.
There is something young, untamed, wild, receptive waking up. This part of me predates the struggle for my identity in the quicksand of the stagnant, stiff, pantomime taking place on the main stage.
Prince has become my muse.
I feel my hips loosening, my self expression beginning to flow in all its genius and original flare. My wrists are suddenly free, dancing on the air.
I am dancing with the Devil. Then, before I know what has happened, I am the Devil. That princely seed has burst into full technicolor blossoms.
The Devil is the force of life made manifest in the world.
He challenges us to show up in the material world without becoming trapped in our own manifestations. He asks us to dance in and out of blossoming. He is the ultimate trickster as we so often see the material world as a solid, immovable thing that exists entirely apart from us. The Devil is therefore, the lie that tempts us to cede our power and our creativity. All in the same moment, he is the truth that sets us free, the Green Man who is willing to die to remind us of our fertility, the great horned hunter stalking our desire.
Today I have met him, the untamed, forbidden one. I have been touched by the flower that will not fade.
The bit players on the central platform are still performing their solipsistic tragicomedy. I think I will leave them there and slip out the back door. I have nothing left to prove and so much left to craft.