Clay Soup and Alan Watts

Riddle: You have 60 small clay faces drying in the sun, almost ready to be fired. What do they turn into after an expected thunderstorm?

Answer: Clay Soup!

If only I had loaded the kiln before we left for the afternoon! But noooooo – the sky was clear, so who would have thought that a gully-washer was coming?

Seeing all of those dissolved clay faces when I got home made me feel sad, but also a bit philosophical. After all, they were still clay. Only their shapes had changed. They were returned back to their primordial soup!

This experience got me thinking about Alan Watts, whose writings have been a huge influence and comfort to me all of my adult life.

Alan Watts often spoke about the nature of life and death in terms that demystify and de-dramatize the transition. The concept that when you die, you go back to being what you were before you were born, is a profound reflection on the nature of existence. From clay to clay? From soup to soup?

He encourages us to view life as a temporary journey through a realm of awareness, much like a bird’s fleeting passage through a lighted house. By understanding and accepting the cyclical nature of life and death, we can alleviate the fear of death and appreciate the transient beauty of our existence. (Alan Watts Organization)​.

If you haven’t read Alan Watts before, I encourage you to start with THE BOOK
On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. If you’re interested in The Book, there’s a PDF version available here.

This is all kind kind of a heavy-duty metaphor about something simple as melted clay, right? But there are lessons in everything. Living an artful life means looking at things through a different lens.

And the other HUGE bonus from this experience was the rain! Because I live in South Texas, I will willingly trade a couple of hours work for some welcome rain! I can make more clay faces but I sure can’t make it rain!

Thanks for reading – back to the clay studio 🙂






18 thoughts on “Clay Soup and Alan Watts

  1. Thank you so much, Lyn, for always bringing words (and pictures) of wisdom – literally, metaphorically and metaphysically. Thanks also for the lovely reminder of Alan Watts. Bet he would have loved your post!

  2. Loved this piece on clay. Lovely way to start a Sunday morning. So much of nature gives us the awareness of change and impermanence and and yet much of humanity wants to control their natural changes of existence. As I age I realize so many gifts of slowing down and allowing nature to bless me with her metaphorical messages.

  3. Lyn, now that’s making a positive out of a negative, but then I wouldn’t expect anything less from you. Life lesson taught the hard way.

  4. Soup of the Day!
    Thank you for your beautiful observations!! As always, I find synchronicity in your words and process. These thoughts have been on my mind. “He encourages us to view life as a temporary journey through a realm of awareness, much like a bird’s fleeting passage through a lighted house.” There is so much magic and comfort in looking at ourselves and our universe through this lens.
    Thank you for turning me onto Alan Watts. I have a feeling that his book is in my mom’s stash. I know I’ve heard his name…I’m looking forward to listening to the podcast, found with your help, that his son has created.
    You are such a lovely light in this world.

  5. Wonderful story and yes we can’t make it rain!! Thank goodness!!! Image the mess the world would be if man thought he could control the weather!!!
    Those little clay faces probably giggled in delight as they slipped away ready to surprise you when you returned. Sometimes we need to go away and neglect so things can arrange themselves!!

  6. I feel for the clay faces mishap. I once spent hours late at night gluing photos of my art work onto greeting card bases. next morning I checked them out and every photo had curled up like a caterpillars ruing the whole shebang!!!

  7. Again your words & images inspire with joy & wisdom. They came just as I needed a reminder about control being a sneaky illusion.
    Thank you.
    I hope there is much more rain & many more faces in the near future for you.

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