Sunday, March 29, 2009

Photos of the Egg Shrine of Fire

I decided that the egg I had managed to etch out an opening from would become a shrine to fire. This meant that I needed to get my hands on some isopropyl alcohol. I mean, really, if you're going to have a shrine to fire, you need to have a real flame.

Mark, who is convinced that I'm going to burn the house down someday, decreed that I had to do this outside away from the house. I took a few pictures of the egg before setting everything up, but they were blurry.

I waited for twilight. I set up a large brick near the sphinx. I twisted some copper wire into a stand and set it on the brick. Then I got ready with my camera and tripod. I need to get a smaller tripod or better zoom lens as half way through the process I took the camera off the tripod to get closer shots.

Then it was time to fire up the shrine. I used measuring spoons to put about a tablespoon of alcohol into the eggshell. This was partly to prevent me from spilling a new bottle of the stuff all over everything and partly to be sure that I didn't slop too much in. Then I lit a match and inched it in.

Foom! The vapors ignited and flame filled the eggshell. It spiraled out into a horn of flame. Slowly, the edges of the eggshell turned black.

I snapped pictures, pausing occasionally to admire the flames snaking up out of the eggshell. Eventually the flame expired. The eggshell was black and there was some unburnt liquid in the bottom which would not re-ignite. So I poured in more alcohol using the measuring spoons.

Finally, I was done. The alcohol made an impressive flame, but seemed to require a lot of maintenance. I found a tea light, pushed it out of its aluminum holder, and managed to finesse it through the eggshell's opening. I lit it and then wished that I had done the candle first, as the eggshell was now black and cracked from the ordeal of containing flaming liquid.

I carried the still burning candle and eggshell lantern back inside. The candle burnt for a few moments longer before the wick dropped out of the bottom of the wax cylinder and sputtered out in the bottom of the egg.

So the shrine is ... finished ? I almost thing that some of the photos I took seem to enshrine a spiritual moment more than the actual act itself, which was cool, too; just different. The end result has some ambiguous metaphorical significance -- it's as if the egg has become a charred symbol of the mind/body/spirit split.

More to ponder later.
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