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The Gift of Community Fires

In the center, always, the dancing flames — mesmerizing, mysteriously renewing, inspiring and recalibrating the lives of the humans who are sharing their stories, successes and concerns; their laughter, tears and anger too. Slowly but surely, those gathered are remembering what it is to be in right relationship –- with each other, and with the other-than-human too.

See what Robin, Mark, Debbie, Carlos, Jenny, and Sally have to say about their experience attending Sacred Fire community fires. And if you have a Fire Story of your own, we’d love for you to share it with us.

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Part 2: Firekeepers, I Love You for Giving Voice to the Voiceless

Firekeepers, I Love You: Part 2

If you spend time around the Sacred Fire, you’ve experienced the specialized work of a trained Firekeeper. In her second Love Letter to Firekeepers, Erin Everett speaks for many of us when she offers appreciation to these dedicated volunteer space-holders who hold fires every month in their 50 communities in 7 countries. They make this sacrifice so that we can gather to share, laugh, and be transformed by the medicine of Fire like human beings have always done.After you listen to Love Letter 2, please take a moment to listen to Erin’s first Love Letter, which is about how much Sacred Fire Firekeepers value relationships.

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The Path to Firekeeping

Are you looking for great purpose, meaning and transformation in your life, while producing spiritual connection, community and help for others? Would you like to see conflict and polarity in people’s lives changed to heart and dialogue? If so, we invite you to explore stepping into the role of Sacred Fire Firekeeper.

In premodern cultures around the world, people recognized the otherworldly effect of sitting with Fire and its influence to open people in a way not easily understood. Beyond heat and light, the presence of Fire was revered for the way that it could produce emotional, mental and spiritual health for communities and individuals, when facilitated by someone who could see and work with Fire’s special gift. This ability, held by those in the role known as “firekeeper,” was cultivated and passed on through generations to particular people. Firekeepers would then be a common presence at gatherings, council and ceremony. Nowadays, this skill, which has been lost in our society, is being reintroduced with the help of Grandfather Fire, and through his relationship to traditions that are still familiar with this spiritual endowment given for humanity’s benefit.

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Firekeepers, I Love You: Part 1

This Valentine’s Day was the perfect day to express our love for the most important people in our lives. For those of us who spend time around the sacred Fire in lands near and far, our local Firekeeper is often at the top of that list! Where would we be without the supportive nest of community? Somehow our lives are mysteriously enriched and deepened by the dance with other people and the sacred world at our local Sacred Fire community fires, men’s fires and women’s fires. This is only possible because of our Firekeepers: they hold the space so well.

How do they do this monumental task, month after month? How can we possibly thank them enough?

In this podcast, Fire veteran Erin Everett, who has been attending Fires and observing Firekeepers since she was in her 20s, shares the Firekeeper-love in this first of nine “love letters” to the 62 Firekeepers (and growing) who have dedicated their lives, time and learning to holding space for the fears, hopes, grief, love, laughter and transformation of their communities.

To learn more about Sacred Fire’s Firekeepers or to learn how to become a Firekeeper, visit sacredfire.org.

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Medicine for our Time

The Center for Disease Control just released a report noting that life expectancy for Americans actually declined 0.1 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, which translates to 70,000 more deaths. This was chiefly due to an increase in suicides and a dramatic increase in deaths due to synthetic opioid overdoses. This statistic is another sign that loneliness and alienation are taking a toll on our societal and individual wellbeing.

Gathering around Fire is the original form of ‘social networking.’ In this setting, we can get in touch with our essential human nature, and begin to experience the joy and sense of meaning that have sustained people for thousands of years. We can work things out, face-to-face, regarding issues that affect us close to home, in our own neighborhoods and cities.
Sacred Fire invites you to join us around the hearth to experience the warmth of relationships built and strengthened over time. Our monthly community fires are happening in 7 countries on 4 continents, and our mission is to grow this number exponentially. Sacred Fire: it is the medicine for our time. We hope you will join us!

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Let the Women Gather: The World Depends on It

In the past year, many stories of women disclosing their experiences of being abused and ill-treated have emerged, unleashing a flood of emotions and a call for right action. At the recent Voices of Wisdom Asheville (USA) gathering, Canadian wisdomkeeper Pahan Pte San Win (Cree, Lakota and Metis) spoke of her time working with abused women, learning of their deep suffering and paralyzing fear. Later, Pahan’s life path took her to work with incarcerated men, perpetrators of the very crimes, horrible ones, that her women clients had been victims of. And then Pahan learned something crucial: she came to see the troubled, broken family life that had fostered the anger and the hunger for false power in the male inmates.

How many of today’s terrorists have been born out of shocking, unjust and highly destructive use of force that stripped them of family, home and a simple, honest life? How many who use “power over” have never experienced the gift of belonging to a community and the joy of being in service and protecting the defenseless? Women have an innate capacity to bring forward life and thereby lean toward respecting and cherishing it. Strengthening women, empowering them to embody matriarchal wisdom and feminine leadership, can be seen as a vital step in bringing healing and balance back to human society.

Sacred Fire offers an Annual Gathering of Women, where women dedicated to restoring balance in the world can receive invaluable inspiration and mutual support. The next one is coming up March 14-18, 2019.

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The Gift of Grief: Honoring Loss, Opening to Peace

by Prema Sheerin, Sacred Fire Asheville, North Carolina

A well-tended garden has a balance of the essential elements: fire, earth, water, air and growth. In this, the fourth in a series of five articles, traditional healer Prema Sheerin continues to reveal the vital energies and gifts of each of the ‘elemental emotions’ that, similarly, are meant to provide for a healthy ecosystem in every human being. These elemental emotions are happiness, fear, anger, sympathy and grief. This article addresses grief, which is traditionally associated with the season of autumn.

As we enter the season of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, we feel the poignancy of the fading light, the waning warmth and brilliance of summer. It is a good time to explore the emotion of grief, the energy that supports us in letting go and navigating the many losses and transitions of life. Like the rain that comes to cool the heat of summer, grief provides the nourishing moisture that allows us to process and heal the losses we inevitably encounter.

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Young Adult Initiation: An Alchemical Process

Successful initiation into adulthood involves more than getting a driver’s license, reaching legal drinking age or completing school.

In humans, successful initiation into adulthood requires physical, mental, emotional and spiritual ingredients, and depends on more than a symbolic coming-of-age ceremony. Humans are born with a latent energy that stays dormant until certain conditions are met. There needs to be a particular readiness and then thoughtful preparation, up to a year or longer. Older adults and elders who understand the important movement from dependence to independence support the initiation process. The process is kind of like baking a cake: various ingredients are brought together in specific proportion, are then subjected to heat over a period of time and, if done correctly, are transformed into something new. Then with independence come responsibility, sacrifice, and the understanding that there are consequences to one’s actions. Initiation also provides a special gift: a greater understanding of life purpose, path and destiny. Deanna Jenne, ritual leader for Sacred Fire’s Sacred Emergence initiation for young women, speaks of “shining the diamond”, a term from Chinese medicine. “We help the young woman really know who she is.” David Wiley, ritual leader for young men’s initiation, adds that in an uncertain world, as autonomy sets in, mistakes will be made, yet making mistakes is a natural human phenomenon. “The key is learning from those mistakes, and how to move with them successfully.”For more information about Young Men’s Initiation
For more information about Young Women’s Initiation

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When Men Gather: The Gift of Elders

Don David Wiley recently shared his perspective on the importance of men coming together in the presence of an elder or elders, those who have important, embodied wisdom to share for the benefit of future generations. Here is what he had to say:

The problem in the masculine is that when we, as men, get nervous, we tend to hide out. We have this sense that we are going to figure it all out by ourselves because we want to feel capable in the eyes of others and don’t want to show this vulnerability in public. Yet if you are not able to see what is in the way, then how can you effectively change it? Most times what’s not being seen isn’t obvious. As an example, your mind has unseen blindness to its own nature much less being able to see the nature of situations confronting you. Therefore in order to be effective in the face of this condition, which can drive you further into your head, you need to reverse directions and come out rather than going in. Yes, you can read some articles, book or web posting, but that’s just information. What you need is real human interaction with others, particularly other men, who are successful problem solvers in the area you’re trying to work through.

So why is this? Why can’t we just go look something up and “know it” whenever we need to “know it”? This idea of “knowing”, or at least being seen as “smart” is important to men since the nature of the masculine drives a desire to create effective action. This prioritizes mind-cognitive perception over emotional perception. In contrast the feminine prioritizes emotional perception, which many people tend not to associate with perception. (As a side note, it actually is and arguably can be more valuable than thinking.) We need to connect both thinking and emotional perception in order to “know” or “learn” about what’s important in life and how it works in 3D. Generating this requires more than just being in your head. You need a setting and the right situation for this to work. Indigenous Peoples with intact, longstanding cultural traditions understand this reality. That has been the role for elders whose wisdom, coming from years of cumulatively learned and earned life experience, is modeled and thereby transferred. If it isn’t transferred, it gets lost and needs to be regained through years of struggle and study. Therefore there is a need to pass these powerful insights on to others for the benefit of future generations.

In order to produce this capacity to live well and walk in the world in a soul-connected way, a social process is required. Like the wise indigenous cultures that have been around for quite some time have learned, it requires being with each other, as men, exploring, deepening and reinforcing this growth in perception and perspective through the support of an elder or elders. You gain something in that setting, then you move back into daily life as your classroom. You go through your challenges – societal, interpersonal, internal challenges – you engage with them and then you cycle back to this experience with other men, again led by an elder or elders who can help take things apart and continue establishing effective life approaches. It’s something that requires help. This is natural. There is nothing wrong; you are not defective or bad. This is just the way it’s done. So, taught by my elders and path and the way of Spirit, I offer it because it works and I want to see men strong and successful. That’s what Ukilái is about.

Ukilái, a Gathering of Men led by Don David Wiley is sponsored by the Sacred Fire Community. The next one is coming up January 17-21, 2019.

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Something Essential

By Jonathan Merritt, Sacred Fire Portland, Oregon

We recently asked Sacred Fire Contributing Editor Jonathan Merritt to share his experiences with Grandfather Fire. He came back with a beautiful poem that we would like to share with you.

Grandfather Fire granted us three audiences during a recent gathering in Northern California. He spoke of many subjects, patiently addressing our questions, speaking to our hearts. The wisdom shared inspired the following poem…

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Gathering Blessings: Experiencing Divine

An interview with Sherry Morgan.

Cedar trees don’t wonder if they ought to shed their leaves in winter. The fox doesn’t wonder if it should be a beaver. The clouds don’t wonder whether they should let the wind carry them. But we humans question everything…Prayer can help a lot in discovering that we’re not alone and that there is much help for us to access our authentic expression and the unique gifts we came here to learn about and to offer.

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Sparks: Coming Soon

Around the Fire

Around the Fire is the newsletter of the Sacred Fire Community and is published once or twice a month as needed.

If you’re new to Sacred Fire, here are three ways to learn more:

  1. Find a local Fire and experience it first hand.
  2. Visit our web site.
  3. Subscribe to Around the Fire and discover more about our deep community.
  4. Follow us on social media (see footer of page)

Around the Fire is published by the Sacred Fire Outreach team:

Director
Bill Sutton

Strategic Direction
Karen Fernandez
Lawrence Messerman
Bill Sutton

Editorial Team
Erin Everett
Christine Staub
Linda Azar

Web Publishing
Sally Casper
Britt Espinosa

Graphic Design
Malowany Creative
Leticia Gamboa
Sylvia Law

Social Media
Erin Everett
Abigail Murray-Nikkel

Database Administrator
Linda Felch

Event Support
Heidi Griswold

Web Design and Development
Malowany Creative
Living Magic LLP

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