The Tree of Life: The image for my quilt block for the Middle East Peace Quilt is a combination of two powerful images for me.The first image is that of the Tree of Life. I grew up in Southern California, rich is hispanic culture. I was impressed at a young age by the beauty and simplicity of Mexican-American folk art----and the religious themes that blended pagan and Christian symbols. The Tree of Life comes from the Genesis myth of the Garden of Eden where all beings of creation find nourishment and shelter under one great tree.

I have expanded that image in two ways. First I have incorporated an image of Raven at the centre of the tree, in homage to my new Canadian heritage. I have been a Canadian for longer now than I was a native of the United States. In First Nations teachings, Raven is the image of change/transformation/magic/forbidden knowledge. Raven sits at the centre of my tree of life to instruct us how to transform ourselves into people of peace, not war.

The second image is that of the classic labyrinth. The labyrinth is a symbol of the mystery that connects us to creation itself, and is an image that has been carved into stone by our Neolithic ancestors and placed in gothic churches by Christian mystics. Trace with your finger the path of the labyrinth. The path will take you to the centre to meet with the Raven. The same path leads back out into life. Reach in for inspiration but return back to put the learning into practice.

Karen Bartlett, Vancouver British Columbia Canada