You’re new to the Sacred Fire Community, and you show up at a hamlet fire in your town.

As you come closer to the fire, and as you keep coming back, you find the fire is more than just an excuse for gathering and talking about our lives. The process of making offerings, sharing and listening is changing you. The fire is becoming more alive for you, and whether you’re sitting with a candle at home or with a group at a community fire, you begin feeling like you’re spending time with a friend.

Eventually, as you warm up to the fire, you find that the world is becoming more alive for you, that even the trees, streams, rivers, lakes and mountains of your land dance with sacredness. You begin hearing emotions in the thunder and rain, change in the wind, wisdom from the forest. Your life, the very air around you, becomes more filled with meaning.

At Reunion, you are touched by the tales that Grandfather Fire tells about the land on which you’re camping. Since the world is coming alive for you, it’s no longer hard to believe that the landforms and waterforms are characters in a great story. Back at home at some hamlets, people who are part of the Nahua weatherworker lineage may speak about the weather and its connection with the human people. In some areas, lineage-holders may be connecting in sacred ways with the land. It’s a signature of the Sacred Fire Community experience: at Lifeways programs, Grandfather Fire events, and in our communities forming around our hamlets, there’s a deepening connection with place occurring.

Often, we find we’re growing our relationship with the living world around us as we grow our relationships with other human people around the fire. This is one thread in the large and multicolored tapestry of a life lived in engagement with the Sacred Fire Community. We’re not the only community offering this.

When I look at how the Sacred Fire Community has talked about itself in the past, we’ve never quite captured the complex and wild beauty of this cloth. There has been engaging talk about some of the threads (come to the fire! come to our women’s retreat!), but the speaking hasn’t truly embraced the sacred whole. Is the Sacred Fire Community a subculture that turns the lostness of the dominant culture on its head? Is it an indigenous experience without being entirely indigenous? Is it a container for multiple authentic lineages to come together and impact the world? Is it a safe haven for individuals who are exploring bringing more heart and joy into their lives? Is it a robust spiritual support for the cycles and experiences of life? Is it a way of life, or is it just monthly fires and a bunch of great programs?

Our community is both rich and simple, complex and sacred. Often, it’s hard to get perspective, to see the forest and not just the individual trees.

Through the Stand, we have several hundred (and growing) new people on our mailing list. Many have never been to a fire or an event. Who will we tell them we are? Do all of these tastes of sacredness, joy, conflict, cigars, jokes, ritual and connection to each other and the living world add up to something expressible? Does this thing have some qualities or essence of the connected living our ancestors and current unbroken cultures knew and know?

Many people want and need what we have and what we’re becoming. How do we speak about ourselves — not about the pieces and parts, but about the messy, lovely, sacred whole?

It’s your community, so share your voice!

But this is not a conversation for the internet: virtual connection is not enough. Bring your heart to listen and speak about the question, “How can we help you or your community to bring forward a vision of the sacred and interconnected nature of all life?” at the Town Meeting at our August 2012 Reunion  at the Blue Deer Center, and also join us for our special candle-conference,* “Why should we take a Stand for sacredness?” featuring Eliot Cowan coming up in September. Stay tuned for details.

Erin Everett is the Speaker for the Sacred Fire Community.

*What is a candle-conference? It’s a conference where we light our candles and dial in to meet through the internet. We’re connected in virtual reality, but the candles create a real connection for us through fire and heart.