How big a flame will it take? Sacred Fire, now in its twentieth year, is burning away the isolation of modern life with the connective and transformative gift of Fire. What does that look like? How is that possible? Where does one start? While the task may seem daunting, we hope the following stories—offered by those familiar with the work of Sacred Fire—will inspire you and let you see why we feel our mission is worth staying the course for. Having felt the powerful effect of Fire in our own lives, we naturally want to spread that opportunity to many, many others.

Having felt the powerful effect of Fire in our own lives, we naturally want to spread that opportunity to many, many others.

Daunting? Perhaps. Yet deep inside each of us at Sacred Fire, we believe that a small flame, carefully tended, can burst into something big and bright, revealing what has been forgotten, burning away what no longer serves, warming hearts and spirits, and bringing our human family once more into right relationship with ourselves, with each other and with all Life. Will you join us? We invite you to live into your own story of discovery and renewal!  

Sitting in the Strong Spirit Presence of Fire

It was some 20-odd years ago in Mexico that I was fortunate enough to be part of a group that had gathered for an audience with Grandfather Fire. I wasn’t expecting very much and didn’t have any preconceived ideas about how the night would unfold. I thought it might be an interesting experience before I got back on a plane to Australia the next day, and it would at least make for a good story to share about my trip.

I cannot remember in detail the conversation with Grandfather that night, only that the small group presented many compelling questions on a variety of topics. Grandfather Fire answered each question with profound wisdom, humour, kindness and a non-politically correct abandonment.

The aliveness that ran throughout that evening was very real and moving to me. Without a doubt, I could feel deep down in my bones that I was sitting in the strong Spirit presence of Fire. Looking back, I can see how that night awakened something that resides deep within me.

Sacred Fire, our evolving international community, is exciting work. I feel my purpose and Spirit woke up at that first fire. I was no longer going to die wondering what my Spirit felt like. My natural next step has been to jump in boots and all! And that’s why I offer many hours of my time, including long trips across the globe at least twice a year, as part of the Sacred Fire Board of Trustees.

Roger Menadue

Sacred Fire Trustee

Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia

Timeless Soul Chemistry

As Director of Firekeeping for the international Sacred Fire organization, I support Firekeepers from all around the world. These dedicated women and men hold a special space for people to gather around fire. What I have observed, time and time again, is that there is something profound and yet simple that happens in this setting.

The stories begin. We share. We listen deeply to each other—not to fix or take away someone else’s problems—but to truly hear and bear witness. We share lessons learned and support each other to discover meaning and purpose in life. This deeply satisfies innate human needs and provides a way of connecting that is often not possible in the hustle and bustle of our modern world. We leave the fire feeling renewed and fortified to meet the challenges of our daily lives.

Gradually, as human connections are deepened and become trusted, the gift of “community” can take root. One could say that “community” contains a chemistry that has been part of our soul from the beginning of time: it is a manifestation of Fire itself!

Fire has another unique property: it can spread. Sacred Fires are available as a dependable place to find solace, balance and renewal. If you feel called to attend, and perhaps one day to offer, this supportive healing space, please do contact me at firekeeping@nullsacredfire.org.

Annie King

Sacred Fire Director of Firekeeping

Florence, SC, USA

Tending the Garden of Community

As a Sacred Fire Firekeeper, I see myself and fellow Firekeepers planting seeds for the future, at a time when that future does not seem particularly promising.

Humanity as a whole is destroying the planet and there’s a place inside each of us that knows this. In the face of this current reality, the incredible power and healing energy of the Spirit of Fire, which we affectionately call Grandfather Fire, comes as an amazing antidote to the disconnection and challenges of modern life. There is mystery and magic when people gather around Fire: inside of us, something that we may have forgotten or discounted can germinate. I’ve seen and felt in my guts how Fire deeply touches those gathered, how people light up and go home afterwards with a smile, with their hearts full of gratitude and more open to the challenges they’re facing.

The isolation and lack of meaning in the life of so many has deep roots, going back many generations, and it takes patience and commitment to tend to the loneliness and lostness that people are feeling. It may take generations to turn things around. As Firekeepers we are like gardeners, tending communities in our local settings, offering a space around Fire each month, each moon, each cycle. It is a great privilege to be called to this work. Now with 70 Firekeepers in 10 countries, I can feel the fruits of our labors casting fresh, welcome seeds of renewal and connection far and wide.

Ana Cortés,

Firekeeper

Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico

Growing Leaders and Elders

There comes a stage in life when we get a glimpse of our own mortality and we begin to question our goals and accomplishments, as in, “If I were on my deathbed, would I be satisfied?” That time came for me around age 50. I was an MBA, making lots of money, being successful in the way our culture has defined it, and yet I felt something missing. There was a calling inside me, and that eventually led to my involvement with the emerging Sacred Fire community, in parallel with my own personal development toward becoming a healer and Nahua Weather Worker.

One of my responsibilities for Sacred Fire has been co-leading Young Men’s Initiation, which is part of our Sacred Fire LifeWays offerings. We follow the wisdom of our ancestors: Fire is central to these initiations, which also depend on the support of community and elders. Not only has it been a privilege to observe the dramatic and important transformation in boys moving to manhood, it has also allowed mature men to do good work together, to offer their service and sacrifice as part of a dedicated ritual support team. I have seen how this gifted each man with renewed energy and self-confidence.

It is part of a natural cycle of a human life, of a community, even of an organization: life experiences (some hard-won) and lessons well-learned naturally grow future leaders and elders. Now in my 70s, I do feel much more fulfilled in my life and look forward to taking my place as an elder, with wisdom to share. Sacred Fire and its important work in the world, is central to that.

Dan Sprinkles

Board Member, Blue Deer Center

Sacred Fire Men’s Initiation Council

Human Lives are Meant To Be Intimately Woven Together

I read yesterday that the suicide rate among youth rose 56% between 2007-2017. Statistics like this appall and sadden me. They also inspire me around my work as Sacred Fire’s Director of LifeWays.

LifeWays is part of Sacred Fire’s critically important work in a world that feels increasingly unstable. These programs and initiations serve to re-introduce and reweave a social fabric that can hold tight in the uncertain future we are facing. This work is very close to my heart; I have found nothing more valuable to devote myself to.

Life Cycle Living, one of our key programs, is based on the wisdom of nature. When I walk into a forest I find a vast, organically intertwining whole. I’m immediately calmed, enlivened and restored. I feel hopeful in spite of all the social and environmental devastation swirling in our world.

Life Cycle Living is a profoundly simple yet effective way to move through life so that, as we grow, we benefit from the awareness of who we are becoming and create fruitful actions and outcomes. This recognition increases the likelihood that, as we begin to understand different life stages, we will awaken to the challenges and opportunities of each, move through blocks or limiting patterns, and embrace our place in the natural pattern of a human life, within community, bringing benefit to ourselves and our families.

Human lives are meant to be intimately woven together, just like the lives of the trees, plants, animals and other beings in a rich, fully functioning forest community. Acknowledging these bonds, we are inspired to take to heart our responsibility for maintaining the web of cultural connectivity that sustains us.

Sherry Boatright

Director of Sacred Fire LifeWays

Carrollton, GA, USA

Where Two or More Gather

As soon as you have two or more people around a fire—in the backyard, on a camping trip, or at a sacred fire—a deep relaxation and ancient familiarity arises. The opportunity Sacred Fire provides for people to gather can be such a powerful force in people’s lives—whether at Community Fires, Men’s and Women’s Fires, LifeWays programs, or Fire Speaks events. The atmosphere is not political, not particularly religious or dogmatic, although you might say it is deeply spiritual—it rouses people’s spirits. It allows connection with something that, I believe, we all feel an innate longing for.

Sacred Fire offers a welcoming space where a diversity of perspectives and human expressions can be appreciated. By keeping things simple, a powerful antidote is created—a remedy for a world in which a sense of separation between ourselves and “the other” is so prevalent. I’ve attended fires where back-to-nature types sat next to practicing Mormons, and all present found delight in each other’s presence. Around a fire, our shared humanness is so accessible and serves as a common ground.

I’ve been involved with Sacred Fire in several capacities, including as Executive Director and Director of Outreach. This has only deepened my belief in the importance of Sacred Fire’s offering to the world. Come have a taste and see if you agree!

Bill Sutton

Outgoing Sacred Fire Outreach Director

Boulder, CO, USA

Sacred Fire: Building a Better Future

In “Why Fire Makes us Human,” Jerry Adler’s story for Smithsonian Magazine, he writes, “Wherever humans have gone in the world, they have carried with them two things: language and fire.”

Though we’re more “connected” now than ever before because of social media, so many feel alone, isolated and disconnected. For thousands of years, gathering around a fire was the original social media. Stories were shared, memories recalled and celebrations held. Coming together around the fire is a way for us to reconnect to ourselves, our community and our ancestors. It is a way for us to see our place in the Universe and find our way home.

Sacred Fire provides thousands of experiences of fire and community around the globe; this is how they are building a better future for people everywhere. (Photo credit: Jane Feldman)

Kim Langbecker

Executive Director, Sacred Fire Foundation

Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA