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Creating Life from the Inside Out
Regardless of your politics, I think it's safe to say that the world seems to be on a potentially precarious threshold. The planet's shadow is being exposed and it's not at all clear where this might lead, perhaps even to a conflagration of sorts, be that physically or psychically. Mythologically, the Phoenix is brought to mind—the bird who is cyclically reborn out of the ashes of its own nest. This creature has many iterations world-wide, and we've certainly seen the rise-fall-rebirth of humanity across its history.        Phoenix Mythology.  
    Phoenix Rising Quilted Wall Hanging
A wonderful depiction of this myth was brought to the screen in the film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Fawkes, Professor Dumbledore's phoenix, demonstrates the sequence of nearing death, his nest catching fire and incinerating him, and then his rebirth as a baby bird without feathers. Shortly thereafter, he has recovered enough to save Harry when Harry was losing his face-off with Tom Riddle (Lord Voldemort). (Note: "Vol de mort" means "Flight of Death" in French, another possible reference to the phoenix and rebirth, as Riddle is reborn as Voldemort.)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
An Egyptian phoenix figure, which may be the Bennu bird, lives for 500 years before dying and being reborn, after which it builds a funeral pyre containing myrrh for its predecessor’s corpse. Once burned, the ashes are taken to the temple of the Sun at Heliopolis. The sun, of course, is itself a symbol of rebirth, being reborn every morning after its “death” the night before.    Bennu
"It had been such a nice dream—the whole world had been happy, peaceful, lush abundant. Ever so slowly, Benu had noticed changes. First there was heat, then a difficulty breathing, then something was actually burning—Benu was burning, being burned alive! Benu finally roused from the reverie to find the nest on fire.
No! It couldn’t be that time yet. And didn’t Benu have to light it? Didn’t Benu have to return home? But there was no mistaking the combined scents of frankincense, myrrh, and copal rising with the smoke. Could Benu have done this while asleep? Benu cast back; he had been asleep for so long." From First You Need Ashes, an unpublished manuscript.
At the apex of the Northern Cross sits the star Deneb, also known to the Cherokee as Guwi'sguwi, a heron spirit bird very similar to the Egyptian phoenix. Whenever there is devastation on earth—be it fire, flood, or anything else—Guwi'sguwi takes flight, picks up the Cosmic Egg (the lowest star in Orion’s belt) in his talons, and brings it down to earth, which allows the emergence of the next iteration of the world.  GuwI'sguwi
"Gu’wisguwi stood on one leg, sleeping. The beautiful white, crane-like bird twitched and nearly lost his balance. He opened one eye, surveyed his surroundings, then closed the eye again. Soon the egg will need to hatch; but not today. Gu’wisguwi went back to a dream-filled sleep."
From First You Need Ashes, an unpublished manuscript.
"Feng-Huang looks upon the emerging world with wonder and approval. For too long this bird of unity, high virtue, grace, and prosperity has had to still its voice. But now, this bird of diversity made one—with its large bill, snake-like neck, tortoise back, and fish tail, and whose feathers are the colors of all the inhabitants of the earth, black, white, red, green, and yellow—begins to sing its brilliant five-note song. This bird which, despite its great size and bulk, lands so gently that it disturbs not a wisp of hair, not a blade of grass, and who drinks only of the dawn’s light and morning dew, showers the whole earth with its magnificent song which is immediately understandable to all: Here I am, look at me and see what you are as well: the known and the unknown, the yin and the yang, the totality of what has been before and what is yet to come, combined in a glorious present. Where once I was the exclusive province of the Empresses, I am now for all, for you are all of noble birth. Arise and fulfill your resplendent destiny!"
From First You Need Ashes, an unpublished manuscript.
The Burning Man Festival is a yearly event which has taken place in Black Rock Desert since 1991, the culmination of which is the burning of a giant human sculpture which, like the phoenix, rises again the next year. In many ways this festival is like Feng-Huang, with its principles of radical inclusion and radical self-expression. Its policies also include "leaving no trace," even of the ashes.   Burning Man
What might that look like? Is it about "making America great again"? Is it about making a totally new America? What about a completely new planet? And what  role do we as humans have in this whole scenario?

"How many more times are we going to have to singe our butts for the two-leggeds?” Crow asked his companions of the air.
“Last time?” Feng-Huang asked, hopefully, as he did his best to preen his feathers, but just as he got one clean and sparkling another would become singed and lose its sheen.
“Not a chance,” Crow cawed, hopping around in a mini temper tantrum, bumping Gu’wisguwi’s nest in his rage.
“Why do you disturb my sleep, Little One?” Gu’wisguwi asked, as he began unfurling his enormous wings.
Crow bristled, always defensive about his relatively diminutive physical size, despite his magnitude of numbers. “Because, heron breath, the two-leggeds have wrecked havoc on Gaia again, and we’re expected to go up in flames to save them.”
Gu’wisguwi, spoke with his usual air of one who is, quite literally, above it all. “Compassion, little One; isn’t this what we agreed to in the beginning? To help our companions on Gaia in times of their greatest need? Besides, some of us set our own nests on fire.” He nodded towards Benu, who was hopping wildly about, trying to avoid the flames which were beginning to engulf him.
“Easy for you to say, Oh Great White Hope, sitting up there in your nest on Deneb, while we get our asses burned to a crisp down here.”
Feng-Huang, too focused on his scorched self to notice or care about this exchange, simply continued pulling his feathers through his beak.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” replied Gu’wisguwi, who was now preening his own feathers until they shone throughout the heavens. Down below, he knew, people were seeing Deneb glow more brilliantly than usual. “I see you still underestimate the dangers of my own task.”
“Caw, caw, caw,” was all that Crow would say.
Gu’wisguwi, poised on the edge of his nest, tested his wings; they stretched across the Milky Way. He looked for, and found, the Cosmic Egg on the belt of Orion.
I need to borrow part of your belt again, Hunter.
It’s yours for the taking, Gu’wisguwi.
Gu’wisguwi leapt into the gulf, glided across the heavens, took the Cosmic Egg in his talons, and plunged toward the troubled planet. Do not fear, Gaia; I am coming with life, new life for all.
From First You Need Ashes, an unpublished manuscript.
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