Layers of Fire, Medicine Wheel, The Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA, December 2010

Layers of grief and memory / longing / remembering / letting go / love / possession / releasing / private / public / AIDS

8-9am. Fire. The space is very sparse this year in comparison to years past. There is a huge pile of red ribbon, scissors, and silver metal buckets in the center of the space. Large life size wood cut panels with portraits on them (maybe 15) hang down the center of the space. And of course the alters that return every year. I place two small white stools over on the side. One of the stool’s seats is completely covered with empty glass bottles. I sit on the other stool facing the bottles. I have a bright yellow shirt on; it says Longing on the front. I start cutting it off of my body, pieces fall to the ground. I now have a deep yellow shirt on, it says Remembering on the front. I cut that one off too. I now have a red shirt on, its says Releasing on the front. I cut that one off. I now have only white on, white pants, white shirt. The shirt is blank. I place the scissors down and start to fill the bottles with the pieces of the shirts. Once they are all filled, I place them on the alters in the space.

Photos by Vela Phelan.