Consuming. by Romain Vennekens

Then there is the spirit of the fire. In our Indian way, we say the fire is the sun here with us. The sun shines on the trees for days, weeks, months and years and the wood absorbs that sunlight. Then the tree is taken down and when we put a flame to it that sun is now here with us in the form of fire.”

“We also say fire came to us a long time ago so it’s our Grandfather. When that wood burns up it turns gray, like an old man, a Grandfather, and we give it the same respect we give our elders. To be a fireman in our ceremonies is a position of great honor. Non-Indians have a fireman who puts the fire out. Ours starts the fire.
— Bear Heart, The Wind is my Mother

Falling. Rising. by Romain Vennekens

When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.
— Luke 24:50-51
Sky Burial Site, Langmusi, Gansu Province, China

Sky Burial Site, Langmusi, Gansu Province, China

Life in a spiritual, nonmaterial form, as absolute substance, has its origins in the sky. The earth itself is impure, subject to decay, and associated with death. To transform this static polarity into the actual process of living, the male sky must fertilize the earth, infusing it with its living essence. Living then consists of the gradual shedding of the decaying earthly cloak, and the reabsorption of life into its original reservoir in the sky. [...] This sexualized cosmos implies that between the two polar opposites of sky and earth, male and female, life and death, there are two directions of dynamic movement, constituting the process of the world which we actually observe and participate in. One of these directions is that of descent from sky to earth, the fertilizing motion of the falling of the rain, whereby life takes on a material wrapping. The second, complementary motion is the ascent from earth to sky, in which fertilized matter, through the process of living (which is simply a process of the gradual burning of energy) casts off its terrestrial cloak and frees itself from its imprisonment in dead matter.

- from Robert A. Paul, The Sherpas of Nepal in the Tibetan Cultural Context