Participants of Sacred Fire events share their stories:

The Gift: Supporting Young Women’s Initiation

A staff member at Sacred Emergence, Sacred Fire’s Initiation for Young Women, describes her experience:

There we were, a staff of ten women, ages 31–76, snuggled in to a gorgeous wilderness. Four generous and capable men assisted and protected us. Three experienced wise women had worked for months to take the young ones through this Sacred Emergence, perhaps the most meaningful event of their transitioning lives. The set up was perfect…and, for me, there was a feeling that the spirits came for the most important part, enlivening the place, the ceremonies, the people, the animals and the rivers, along with the trees and flowers that sang each day to us of their love and assistance.

Hard emotional and physical work were the order of the day, and each of us appeared in the morning, willing, generously giving of all our gifts. No matter if it was doing dishes, hauling wood and water, or opening our hearts in trusting ways, each of us was present. We intended to make the entire time one of fierce graciousness so the blessings would flow to the girls who had made themselves available to become women, in the most magnificent sense. And they did! All manner of surprise surfaced each day, in casual exchange as well as in deep ceremony, to bring these young women to places from which they cannot return…nor would they want to.

We cannot fully know what has been wrought, yet we have faith that the transformation will continue for these women, as they grow in grace and truth.

—Jane Jackson

Denver, Colorado (USA)

A place for healing to occur on many levels

“Prema Sheerin is a woman of wisdom. Her program is beautifully balanced with humor, wide scholarship, profound meditations, joyful movement, and deep heart. She brings a capacity for listening deeply, even between the words spoken, and responds from a place of carefully tended intuition. In her program she holds a place for healing to occur at many levels. This workshop is an invaluable exploration of life’s transitions and I recommend it most highly.”

—Sherry Boatright

Carrollton, GA

Fire Story: Core Basis of Prayer interview excerpt

from Gathering Blessings: Experiencing Divine, an interview with Sherry Morgan

Prayer helps us to know ourselves more deeply, to know our own true nature, not the perception of self that has been shaped by the good/bad, right/wrong, should/shouldn’t conditioning of the culture in which we were brought up. 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! We are often lost, stressed, and confused about who we really are and what our gifts are. We might even believe we don’t have any gifts, which can lead to despair. We all have gifts! 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.

—Sherry Morgan

Victoria, B.C.

A Stew of Fine Men

Reflections on the Ukilái Annual Gathering of Men in Scotland (2018)

In view of Schiehallion, a grand mountain in central Scotland that was referred to a couple of times as the “center of everything” for the area, I gathered as part of a group of ten seeking to calibrate our positions as men in our families and communities at Ukilái. With guidance from head chef David Wiley, a stew was prepared from cuts of fine men and spiced with stories, laughter, pain and sweat, then cooked by Fire.

Transformed, we returned a little more tender, palatable, more able to feed the world with our gifts.  For me, this time, it wasn’t so much about being a man, but about being more human.

—Brian Collins

Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, USA

The Gift of Winter among Men

I arrive at the healing lands of the Blue Deer, nestled in a valley of the Catskill Mountains, next to the sacred waters of the River that sings her song to all who stop and listen. I am grateful to have beaten the snows that are on their way. I am happy to be here and anxiously waiting to meet the rest of the men. My spirits have lifted, but my heart is still heavy from challenges I am facing at home, in my relationship.

Although it is my third time attending Ukilái: An Annual Gathering of Men, I am taken aback by the power and connection of gathering and doing the work of men at the time of Winter. There is some special alchemy of learning and bonding that my soul craves as a man and as an individual that is nourished by our time together. I appreciate what we have received through the guidance of our leader and elder, David Wiley.

On the final day, I drive eastward to my home, drinking in the beauty of the lands and a wonderful sunset. I walk through the door at home just after dark, finally able to reach across to my partner and express myself in a way that has been missing for very a long time!

—Shawn Bennett

Norwich, Connecticut (USA)

A really beneficial time for men to be together

This Lifeways program has evolved into a really beneficial time for men to be together. I appreciate time we had together to be in a community group albeit for a short time. There was time to experience support, a rather deep sharing, and a very unusual learning from the teachings of Grandfather Fire through the perspective and experience of Don David Wiley.

I was in the Scotland event and i found i really liked Scotland—it was a bonus that it was a beautiful place and i felt welcomed and much at home there.

Our group was from merry old England, the country of Wales, the Emerald Isle, and of course the USA where i am from. This international flavor was eclipsed by the commonality of of what it is to be human. It was refreshing to experience the willingness of men to work together.

—Tim Simon

Brookfield, Massachusetts

Finding Answers around the Fire

After a period in my life when I was heading in the wrong direction, I turned to exploring spirituality as a path to addiction recovery.  Through serendipity, I found myself talking to a woman who, through her intuition, sensed that I would benefit from a drum or fire circle.  As I started asking around, a friend of mine led me to the Sacred Fire community fires hosted by Tim and Karla Cole in Poplarville, MS.  Once I got there, I realized it was no coincidence that I had been led to this community specifically. I’ve overcome so much through the people I’ve met and the lessons I’ve learned around the hearth there. So many of the answers to my questions in life have come from listening to, or observing the growth in others, around the Fire.  For instance, one community member participated in the Sacred Fire Community Annual Gathering of Men.  I watched his journey toward claiming his more feminine/emotional side; it wasn’t easy for him at first, but ultimately the transformation was inspiring.

I’ve come to appreciate the importance of community, and how beneficial healthy communities are to society.  I’ve learned the importance of letting go of judgment.  And now I’ve found the courage to take a huge leap.  In March I will quit my well-paying job, and move to the Pacific Northwest where I hope to start a community-based healing center.  I take with me lessons about new beginnings and the wisdom I will need to carry with me, and of the courage it takes to leave things behind.

—Casey Russell

Poplarville, MS (USA)

Young Adult Initiation: The role of fathers

A father wonders how to support his 10 year old daughter toward eventual ritual initiation into adulthood. David Wiley, elder and ritual leader, gave this answer:

Traditionally, as a young woman is getting ready to emerge and move into the world and become more independent, the influence often moves from the mother to the father. So in some ways, the mother was there to produce the nest, hold the family, keep and teach about relationships. But when it comes to moving out into the world – “What is the world about? What am I going to encounter there?” – you often find that young women will exhibit separation energy through fights with their mothers. At this point it is common for them to look toward the father. Daughters want to hear from their father in a way that is confident, patient and reassuring. With my daughter, I could make my suggestions and let her be and she eventually picked up on the advice and could move with it.

—David Wiley

Sacred Fire Carrollton

Who am I?

“Who am I?” I have meditated on this question for decades.  I fell in love with a book by Ramana Maharshi in my early 20’s. What followed wasn’t a mental exercise, rather an opening to an experience of something greater, strangely mysterious and yet not.

Now in my later life, I have discovered that there is something exquisite, fulfilling and satisfying in opening to the related question, “Who am I as a woman?” that has me falling in love with the beauty of this life.  Furthermore, there is something essential in gathering with other women to deeply experience this great Divine Feminine that enlivens us and moves through us, aligning us with ourselves and the Mystery of the world around us.

More than ever, I believe our world needs us to embody this deep essence and bring it forth in our lives.  We need to gather with other women to sink into and align with each other and to cherish who we are.  Come join us.  It is important.  Our world needs us to bring this forth.  It’s time, and immensely relevant to the times we are living.

—Annie King

Florence, SC (USA)

And so goes another night at Ritaka

“The fire crackles and burns brighter as one of us places another piece of wood into the center. The flame in our hearts does the same as we express ourselves, placing our fears and joys into the circle and igniting a flame of a different kind. The young men and women sitting around the fire laugh as another “so bad it’s good” joke is shared. As we talk, the words move with a joyful ease, like a conversation between old friends, flowing between stillness and movement as we all take our turns listening and sharing. The topics ebb and flow and the emotions move with it.

“Blissful tears are shed, as a young woman with her guitar serenades us. Her voice, already beautiful, is sweetened by the courage she displays in sharing it. Powerful words of anger arise, as one of us gives voice to pain, the wound inflicted by another sitting around the fire. The expression becomes at once more essential and more difficult and listening to it is almost as hard. But after those tense moments of conflict die down, we still sit with each other, somehow feeling closer than we were before. And the river of conversation flows again. There is no destination we aim for, nothing we are looking to attain, simply content with enjoying the companionship and love that the circle exudes. We put more wood on the fire.

“And so goes another night at Ritaka.”

—Colin Lenhart

Seattle, WA

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

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

A Sense of Optimism

I have been attending the Church Stretton Sacred Fire community fires for about 7 months. I love our Firekeepers, Lucy Wells and Michael Locke. The gatherings are so important for community. Each one is very different due to different combinations of people sharing their thoughts and stories. I’m fascinated by what arises within myself when I open to new ways of seeing.

The conversation around the fire has massively helped my confidence through contributing and being heard within a caring and compassionate circle. Everyone is treated equally and there’s no pressure. If I’m feeling quiet, I can also just enjoy listening.

The changing seasons and weather also create a different energy for each community fire. Whatever the elements throw at us, people still turn up. I love that we make that effort to go out on a stormy wild night and sit around a fire. It’s so…refreshing! The hot chocolate is also fab!

There are always friends of friends whose lives overlap and interconnect and I notice many fascinating coincidences. When I leave the fire I always feel a sense of optimism and a glow that can last for days, so I will only miss a fire if I’m away or have another commitment.

—Jenny Scott

Church Stretton, Shropshire, UK

An Opening of Heart

A first-time Sacred Fire attendee had this to say about the 2017 Ignite Your Heart event in County Mayo, Ireland:

Community is lacking in the world and there is an illness too (about) that in society…Today was quite amazing, It started off with the Fire ritual. When I gave to the Fire, the Fire returned what I would call a change of consciousness, an opening of heart, and it was felt in the group. And it’s been around all day ever since. Beautiful.



Ignite Your Heart, Ireland

Lessons about Life Direction and Purpose

The international Sacred Fire Community is hosting eight Life Cycle Living workshops on three continents in 2018. Here is what an adult community member in Asheville, NC (USA) had to say about her experience with this program, which engages participants in a conversation about the natural rhythms of a human life.

I’ve struggled with knowing myself and my place in the world since my late teens. I never felt I was taught how to decide which direction to take my life. Somehow, as a 16 year old, I was expected to know what to do with the rest of my life, without anything to base that decision on. As a college student I changed my major several times, unable to decide on anything that really moved me. As an adult, I find myself in the same place as my 18 year old self – like a teenager who’s never really been able to decide what I want to be when I grow up.

The Life Cycle Living workshop showed me that I had missed an essential phase in my life that would’ve allowed me to understand myself better, to move forward in my life with direction and clarity. It gave me context to that which I knew to be true, but couldn’t formulate into words. It’s not that this program gave any answers on how to change this, but I was able to feel like the stuckness in my life isn’t related to something I have failed to do, or to a personal failure. I now understand it’s because the society that we live in expects our children to jump from puberty to adulthood without any support to understand what that even means. This realization made me very angry and also very upset, because so many of us are missing pieces of ourselves that are necessary to be who we really are. And we all have so much to offer as our true, authentic selves.

Life Cycle Living has left me wanting to pursue how I can move through this missing stage. My local fire community seems hungry for more of this medicine as well. We were passionate about brainstorming how to bring a supportive way of aging to our community. We are excited to become involved in the next steps of what Life Cycle Living has to offer each of us. We want this not just so we can heal ourselves individually, but to be able to extend the gifts of Life Cycle Living to all of us, to grow stronger together. Like a community. Like a village.

—Life Cycle Living Participant

Asheville, North Carolina

Tuning in to Natural Cycles

As I ponder my experience of attending Life Cycle Living a month ago, I am surprised by a new quiet in me. I feel that I let go of some of the internal voice that wants to tell me “gotta get to the next stage in life.” I think there was a subtle yet profound transformation with this; the cultural linear thinking seems to have lightened somewhat. I have been living in a rural setting for five years now, having spent most of my life in the city. As a result, I experience the natural cycles much more now and I am in tears for how the Life Cycle Living exploration affirmed this knowing in me.

Several insights are worth sharing. I had trauma in my early life for which I have done much healing work, but during this community dialogue, I deepened my compassion for my younger self. Also, as I look at my young adult sons, I now feel more empowered to let go of concern for them and to allow them to be in the “work” of that stage of life. Further, as an early childhood educator with many degrees and years of experience, I feel validated for my work, which is to preserve the innocence of infants and young children, allowing them to fully be in their respective stages of life. That is the greatest contribution I can make for them.

Finally, as an older adult I now ask myself: Am I fully living into this current stage of my life? So I am pondering what is it to be an elder, and that is a wonderful thing to do in community also. My thanks go to the facilitators, Larry Messerman and Jessica De la O. I felt that they were dwelling in the questions of the workshop for themselves. They brought this insight as well as a deep listening.

—Judy Mann

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

How Fire moves me

The fire frees my emotions and heals me in ways that nothing else has to this point.

—Jeni Ascosi

Hurleyville, NY, (USA)

Lighting Fires in the Heart

Vivian Menjivar lives in Corfu, Greece. In this Fire Story, she describes her journey toward her approaching initiation as a Sacred Fire Firekeeper.

I once heard a Greek Orthodox Archbishop talk about the fact that people were missing Fire in their hearts. It felt like he was talking to me! In my spiritual healing practice, I started focusing on how to help light that Fire in my clients. Fast forward a few years, and I realized that while I felt good about my life and myself, I wanted to claim more joy. I was studying Plant Spirit Medicine with Eliot Cowan at the time, and he suggested I spend more time sitting by fire. So I put a wood stove in my living room, my husband and I started congregating there and it really made a difference. I felt more alive.

Next, I started attending Sacred Fire Community fires. It felt like a door would open, and those attending would feel a strong connectedness in a safe space. That awakened a desire in me to become a Sacred Fire Firekeeper. It has been a beautiful, affirming journey preparing for my initiation to this lifelong work. My Firekeeper sponsor, Lucy Wells, has traveled to Greece all the way from the United Kingdom to support me. My commitment deepens every time I observe powerful and healing moments at my community fires. What shows up is so often not at all what was planned or what the mind would have wanted…and yet, when the space is held in a good way, with Fire’s help, it turns out to be exactly what was needed.

And then, surely, we all end up with more Fire in our hearts, more joy in our lives.

—Vivian Menjivar

Corfu, Greece

Sense of Community

I’ve been attending Sacred Fire community fires for 12 years. What keeps me coming back is the sense of community and the power of transformation that the consecrated fire brings me which supports me in my life. Most precious to me is that, on a fundamental level, those who gather around the fire in this community share key values and awareness of the importance of living our lives in relationship with the Place – the beings of Nature and the elements –where we live.

From the start, I was impressed and relieved with the freedom and ease inherent in the non-dogmatic structure. I continue to show up because sometimes there is profound heart sharing (others or my own) which deepens my own heart-connection, my connection with others and with the entity of Fire. I appreciate the invitation and guidance to share from the heart instead of the head. This can be challenging, but is growth-producing. During and after the fires, I notice and like the sense that something is happening that is much bigger than I even know, and that I am part of this. What happens at and because of the fires is beyond comprehension: comforting and empowering, both.

—Robin Rainbow Gate

Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico

Prioritizing values, like family

“I had an amazing time at the men’s retreat. It inspired me to live my life differently, prioritizing values, like my family, which are very dear to me.”

—John Huang

Long Beach, California

I realized that I don’t have to do this alone

“The Peaceful Dying Project….was so helpful in connecting me with my feelings and fears regarding death and allowing me to share and express them…. I realized that I don’t have to do this alone – that by involving my loved ones, the process becomes easier for everyone. I discovered that the thread of community and heartfelt relationship extends into all corners of life experience, including death”

—Anonymous Participant

Fire as First Teacher and First Medicine

We began the three-day ritual by making offerings to the fire. For us, fire is not merely a physical presence consisting of light, heat, and chemical reactions. For us as for many traditional peoples, fire is an important spiritual presence. It is the energy of heart. Fire is what connects us to each other and the world. It is the first teacher and the first medicine. Our ancestors sat around the fire for thousands of years. There they shared the big stories that gave them meaning and helped them live in a good way. There they found wisdom.

—Lawrence Messerman

In the Company of Women

When I attended Ukalái, Sacred Fire’s Annual Gathering of Women, I found it a safe place to be vulnerable, to let things come up. Over the previous years, sparked by a particular renewed friendship with a woman I’d known in youth, I had slowly been opening up to the idea of community, accepting the possibility that I didn’t have to live my life as a loner and could be part of a supportive circle.

At Ukalái, a big revelation to me was how universal feminine trauma actually is. I also realized how far I’d already come in my personal healing over six decades of life.

The facilitators Sherry Boatright and Annie King held a safe and beautiful container. And the setting at the Blue Deer Center, a sacred place I had already come to love, helped contain our work as well.

Since my Ukalái experience, I find that I am much more tolerant and less judgmental of myself and others in my life. I have an increased appreciation of myself as a woman, and of that innate feminine aspect in me that has the capacity to create life, to keep the warm safe place of womb and hearth and home, literally and figuratively.

It’s an experience I highly recommend to all women.

—Anne Freels

Knoxville, TN, (USA)

How I became a better father

Chris Griffin is a Sacred Fire Firekeeper candidate, offering community fires in Wilton, NH (USA). He looks forward to another opportunity for inspiration and recalibration in the company of men at Ukilái January 2019.

While the world needs the expression of the deeper feminine ways of being, as men we need to remember and embody a balanced manifestation of masculinity, and experience how these two different human expressions mutually support each other. I attended Sacred Fire’s Ukilái Gathering of Men in 2014 and found it to be a wonderful and pivotal experience which helped me to recognize and reconnect with the masculine. It helped me to show up as the kind of man I want to be, both in my partnership and as father to my daughters.

—Chris Griffin

Wilton, NH (USA)

The Importance of Leadership

Ukilái events are held in breathtaking locations around the world, like Loch Rannoch in Scotland, where Andy attended. Andy Jukes, a participant in Ukilái, a Men's Retreat sponsored through the Sacred Fire Community, had this to say about respected teacher and guide, David Wiley.

I was very aware that it takes an awful lot of skill to lead a course like Ukilái. To have the presence to hold the group, judge what they need next, keep feeding them the right thing at the right moment, keep up the intensity yet–at the same time–keep it light. We were fortunate to be in the care of a master. He held us all. Made us feel safe. Safe enough so that he could consistently challenge us. Push our boundaries. Expand our expectations.

Thank you, David.

—Andy Jukes

Shropshire, England

Becoming a Deeper Listener

I came to my first fire after seeing a hand-written note on the Co-op bulletin board: “Eliot Cowan speaking this weekend.” That was back in April 2010, and I didn’t know what to expect.

In those days, I lived in my head, always looking for answers in what I already knew. As I sat around dancing flames listening to Eliot, Grandfather Fire’s warmth subtly invited me on a journey back to my heart. I had heard that “Fire speaks,” and I curiously waited for revelations at each community fire I attended. What I came to realize is that listening to people’s stories of their hopes, dreams, fears, questions, passions, and wisdom is what has led me to a deeper connection to the rhythms of life and my own humanity. Through those stories, Grandfather has given me all that I have needed to embark on my journey from head to heart. I am grateful for each storyteller and the connections we have made. At our community fires, I feel heard: in words, deeds, and spirit. This has allowed me to become a deeper listener. I still don’t know what to expect going to any given fire, but that is the magic that keeps me coming back.

—Mark Kocher

Olympia, WA (USA)

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

A little window into the life of a new mother

This little boy was born on August 31, 2018 to parents Cleis and Fassika. All is well. Let us welcome him!

“My baby boy, 4 days old today! I had an amazing delivery, with support from my partner, mom and aunt and an amazing midwife! No complications (prolonged rupture of membranes only) and feeling great, strong and supported. I labored at home, meditating, doing yoga, walking, spending time at my altar for about 24 hours and I got to the hospital 10 cm dilated and gave birth within 2 hours. I am so grateful, happy and in love. It was a magical experience like an adventure to another world. Thank you for helping me trust myself, my body and the unknown through the process of initiation into womanhood. —Much love, Cleis”

Mother and physician, Cleis Nordfjell was initiated into adulthood in 2013 through Sacred Fire’s Lifeways offering, Sacred Emergence.

—Cleis Nordfjell

Sweden

Reconnecting with what is important in life

Last year a customer came into the health food shop where I work and gave me a gift: she told me about our local Sacred Fire community fires. I have tried to go to every fire since. I am extremely lucky as I have two fires near me, each with Firekeepers I have come to think of as friends. They welcome all who attend. Going to a fire helps me to reconnect with what is important in life, with earth and Fire. I get to see the world from a different perspective; I never used to sit outside in the middle of winter wrapped in blankets! I get to listen to beautiful souls who have come from near and far, talking from the heart, safe in the knowledge there will be no judgment, no interruptions. I have grown so much since listening to the wisdom shared around the fires and found comfort in the stories of others. I have even felt safe enough to sing!

Love and gratitude to the Firekeepers, all those who attend the fires, and most importantly, to Fire.

—Debbie Gough

Church Stretton, Shropshire, UK

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