Here in Georgia, with the plants all lush and green, there is already the hint of summer as the sun burns hotly in the afternoon. At night you can see the dancing sparks of the lightning bugs against the vague shadows of the forest, and the whip-poor-will calls insistently outside our bedroom window as we attempt to sleep. Everything is alive and warming up to the “blooming, buzzing confusion” that will be summer!
As we approach summer solstice, it is a good time to reflect on how our community is helping Fire extend out into the world. Many of you feel this gift directly as you attend monthly community fires. There have been other notable signs of this more welcome type of global warming, including events that took place earlier in the year. One important program happened “down under,” near Melbourne, Australia, in March 2017. Australian Firekeepers and community members attended a two-day Moving with Emotions workshop, hosted by the Sacred Fire Community in collaboration with the Process Work Institute. This powerful work has already been offered in the US and UK; it provides participants with important tools to foster authentic emotional expression and to move with conflict in a new way. Nearly two-dozen people attended and we captured some very moving video interviews with some of the participants that we hope to share with you soon. In the meanwhile, I invite you to check out the article “The Fire Effect: Moving with Emotions” in this issue of Around the Fire.
In January, we offered our first Lifecycle Living program at the New Freedom, PA hearth and this was followed by a second program in Kernersville, NC in March. Lifecycle Living is a day-and-a-half event that gives participants a sense of something fundamental to traditional cultures yet so sadly lacking in our modern world; those gathered explored what it is like to have a full circle of ritual and community support for the natural stages of human life, from birth to death. This is the vision that inspires all our Lifeways programs, and the people who attended our first two Lifecycle Living explorations were deeply appreciative of the experience. Most importantly, community members are now beginning to explore how to support each other in living according to the natural rhythm of Life. In the coming months and years, we will bring this exciting program to more hearths around the world.
There is much more that could be spoken about. In 2017 we have also already offered a training for Keepers of Women’s Fires, two Fire Speaks Grandfather audiences in the US as well as an Ukilái Men’s Gathering outside of Moab, UT. In early June, we offered our first two events in Ireland! Our new Firekeeper Carolyn Mitchell was the local host for a Firekeeper Retreat in County Galway. This was followed by Las Tine an Chroí (“Light Up Your Heart” in Gaelic,) or what we usually refer to as a Fire Speaks Grandfather audience. Attendees came from the United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada, Mexico, and the US. We are thrilled to have begun offering fires and other programs on the Emerald Isle—a place that has long been known for its mystery and strong ancestral presence. By the time you read this we will also have hosted a Fire Speaks Grandfather Fire in Toronto, Canada with another coming up in Olympia, WA in August. Also in August, there will be an Ukalai Women’s Retreat in Tepoztlán, Mexico. The upshot is that Fire is sparking in new places as well as in more established communities. Lifecycle Living is giving people a deeper appreciation for what it means to live a life of heart and connection.
We hope you will continue to join us around the fire—whether at a local community fire, or at some of the events described here. Your presence and your support are important for us to continue bringing more warmth to the world. Beyond the fire, in the everyday world that gets highlighted in the news and other media, people are mired in dramatic levels of fear, anger, and confusion. It is a very good time to offer something different: a chance to experience wisdom, balance, and the common human heart that has been with us for eons. Come join us. Bring some friends. Let’s enjoy the season of Fire together!
Lawrence I. Messerman