Category: Youth and Elders
Kyle Steele interviews Patrick Hanaway
In a recent conversation, young adult Kyle Steele sought counsel from Asheville NC (USA) Sacred Fire Firekeeper, Patrick Hanaway. The two spoke about many things, including how the courage to learn from mistakes helps to foster wisdom, and how this wisdom can be passed on to future generations.
Kyle: Patrick, what is the most important thing that you have learned at your age?
Patrick: The most important thing that I’ve learned is that everything is in relationship and connection. And when I say that, I don’t just mean between us as human beings; I mean us as human beings in relationship to all of the other-than-human beings also. Everything that is here: this beautiful tree, the air, the frogs that we hear in the background, the air, the weather, everything…we are meant to be in conscious relationship to it. We are, in fact, intimately connected to the world and it is so easy to forget that. I think that we know this when we are really young and then it gets taught out of us, and we forget by the time we are 2 or 3 years old. And yet this kind of relationship holds the seeds of our healing as humans.Read More
An interview with Sacred Fire attendee Olivia Woodford.
We asked Olivia Woodford to share some words of wisdom about the human journey, as it relates in particular to finding purpose and direction in life. In this interview, Olivia also speaks to her relationship with the Sacred Fire community, and how this helps her stay on the path of Heart.
Olivia, can you share with our readers, what is your compass in life?
I think my compass in life is, “Do I feel good?” And feeling good doesn’t necessarily mean being happy or even necessarily being relaxed, but I can feel when I am aligned. When I’m aligned, it’s like everything begins to move, or I feel like I am getting carried or being held, and so when I am aligned, I feel I am moving in relationship with life. And so I look for that alignment.
Sacred initiation is a doorway for a young person to become an adult, plain and simple. If done in a good way, a person participating in this ritual will be truly transformed; they will never go back to being the same person they were before. What is it like for an initiate, moving forward into the world as an adult? In 2017, Cassandra Starks of Grand Junction, Colorado, USA stepped through the doorway of Sacred Fire Community’s young women’s initiation, called Sacred Emergence. She is now entering yet another phase of life: she is recently married and is becoming a mother! We caught up with her to ask a few questions.
Sacred Fire: Cassandra, who were you before initiation and what have you become because of it?
Cassandra: I don’t think much changed visibly on the outside after Sacred Emergence. I wore the same clothes, my hair, eyes and skin color were still the same. I didn’t lose or gain any weight. I looked the same. And yet I felt completely different. Something drastic within myself had shifted. I finally felt connected to myself in a way that I never was before. I had gained greater understanding of my values, gifts and passions, an incredible appreciation of what it truly means to be a woman, and was empowered by my emotions and feelings, rather than simply trying to avoid them. Showered with the love, support, wisdom and guidance of women, I began to grow a new understanding of myself and how to be in relationship with others and with the world as a human being.Read More
by the Sacred Fire editorial team
In our modern cultures that seem to worship eternal youth—that state of being that gives us permission to be in constant pursuit of our individual pleasure and enjoyment—what will it take to help us grow up?
In today’s world, becoming an adult might seem to be about hitting a well-recognized milestone like receiving a driver’s license, voting for the first time, or reaching legal age for drinking alcohol. For others, the moment of stepping into the workforce, becoming a parent, or making a major investment in home or career might seem the significant step. However, for traditional cultures (and that includes most of the villages of our great-great- or great-great-great-grandparents), becoming an adult was a sacred matter. Initiation into adulthood was a universal human practice, common to most societies, and it is still practiced by intact traditional cultures to this day.Read More
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
What is a true adult?
Bill Plotkin, who has worked with the transition of youth into adulthood for many years, says that a true adult is someone who understands themselves as a member of the earth community; has had a revelatory experience of her/his place in this world; and embodies their unique place as a gift to their people.
One of the crises of the times we are living through is that true adulthood, what has been called “soulful psychological maturity,” is actually uncommon. Too often, people reach their adult years having missed the development into a fully human adult as nature has designed it. As a result, they may end up arrested adolescents at fifty, never maturing into the elders they were meant to become. They find themselves hindered in their contribution to their families and society. Relationships, child-rearing, education, business, politics, and even spiritual connection suffer the consequences.
We all know we are in a time of great transformation on this earth, a time of danger and opportunity.Read More
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