Prayer flags have always been a personal interest of mine. My first encounters with them were through Tibetan Buddhism and through a cancer clinic where an artist friend made these prayers for well-being and peace with patients. In both cases, the ephemeral wind horse of Asian culture is said to carry the messages of these flags to the Earth's four corners and beyond.
I recently attended a World Peace Prayer Flags Meditation and Flag Making workshop in Yountville, a Napa County (California) hamlet. Others and I decorated prayer flags for a world peace project sponsored by the Town of Yountville. All 100 flags are now installed in the town's central plaza. Below are three examples of prayer flags created that day.
The event was the brain child of the workshop facilitator Francine Kohn. A multi-dimensional artist, educator, and healer who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, she developed this project as way for people to collectively pray for peace - each in his or her own way, and to feel uplifted and connected to others. Francine and I recently e-chatted about this community opportunity. Here's part of our conversation:
Q: This project offered a way for the public to respond to the war in Ukraine. Can you say more?
A: Activities like this bring together people who share a desire for global peace. Everyone has a chance to express his or her own symbols of peace; sometimes adding words as well. It’s a great way to be creative, to help balance and focus the body and mind towards the spirit while having fun.
Q: What did you want people to experience?
A: The peace, within and without that comes from exploring and discovering individual as well as group power to create desired change in the world.
Q: Why did you include meditation?
A: Guided meditation can assist people in experiencing their own wisdom and creativity and often inspires them to be agents of peace. In group settings, that can effect real change - locally and globally.
Prayer FlagsQ: What tools from your own impressive arts and spiritual study toolbox did you use for this?
A: Painting, cave art, Hindustani music, energy heart healing, Nichiren/Tibetan Buddhism, quantum mechanics/perception, conscious channeling, and guided meditation.
Q: What responses did you receive from participants?
A: Everyone enjoyed themselves. Marianne Lyon, Napa Poet Laureate, collaborated with me and remarked that the workshop was deeply spiritual for her and others as well. “People have emailed me to tell me how much they needed the event!!!!!”
Q: You mentioned the workshop, which include an at-home flag making component, was a way to give back to the community which has supported your many other artistic activities, including upcoming collaborative art for grandparents and grandchildren, and a painting course designed for those who want to explore their creativity. What is it you are giving back?
A: Safe, natural, and integral art making opportunities to assist others in trusting their own inner knowing and, at the same time, developing a greater sense of community.
Q:Do you have plans for similar projects? If so, can you give us some details?
A: Yes, I am working now to offer Prayer Flags and Meditation courses, as well as prayer flag installations, in other North Bay locations.
To learn more about Francine’s upcoming events, prayer flag installations, and her artwork, which has been shown near and far and is now in many private and corporate collections, visit her website .
Here is Francine's video sample of flags made during the workshop: