Read these stories about Sacred Fire events Fire Speaks and Ignite Your Heart, which focus around audiences with Grandfather Fire.

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

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

The Joy of Connection

You are warmly invited to experience connection and fun at any of our upcoming Fire Speaks or Ignite Your Heart events (listed at right). An attendee of the 2017 Ignite Your Heart event in County Mayo, Ireland, had this to say about the event:

This community, it’s vibrant… it’s magical. There’s a lot of people here that are really deeply interested in connecting and that’s my sort of hunger and my delight…to connect with other people, with the land, with trees, with nature, with the Fire. That’s what it is all about for me. It’s connection, and I find it here. And it’s fun, it’s a lot of fun.



—Pip Waller

Ignite Your Heart, Ireland

On Being Yourself in Community

An attendee of the 2017 Ignite Your Heart event in County Mayo, Ireland, had this to say:

I think the thing that impresses me most is people being themselves. To me the root of the breakups of community and the breakups of society is mainly due to people trying to be something that they are not and forgetting to behave in simple, honest, open relationships with each other. In so many respects we need community everywhere and all attempts to creating it are valid.

This is one of those places where it is good to be you.

Ignite Your Heart, Ireland

An Education for Your Soul

What you experience with Grandfather Fire in an event like this feels like a deeper level of education. Not so much for your mind, your intellect, your smarts, so to speak, but kind of like an education for your soul.

There’s a lot of feeling that goes into listening and being in a presence like that. No matter what your life experiences are, or what your background is, and even if you come from a specific religious or spiritual tradition, there’s a truth that you can appreciate at just a human level.

It just feels right, and it feels true.

—Todd Gorham

Sacred Fire Asheville (NC, USA)

The Gifts my Parents left me: Following my Heart’s Longing

During a recent Fire Speaks event, Grandfather Fire spoke of the ancestors as those who came before, and how we today benefit from their work, effort, sacrifice, sweat and blood. When they see us sitting around fire, as they once did (whether around a hearth or a candle on a kitchen table), sharing our love and laughter, and also our common human concerns, they see that we are not dismissing the learning they have left us, that their work was not in vain or forgotten. Firekeeper Mai Duong offers this honouring of the gifts her parents left her through their living example.

Fire has been around since the beginning of time. Fire is the great connective energy, connecting us to others, to the living world, to spirit and to our path. I started my path toward becoming a Firekeeper in 2012, but only recently realized that this vocation has been in my blood for a long time and that I had finally listened and followed my heart’s longing.

For the first nine years of my life, my grandparents in Vietnam raised me. My uncle and his wife also lived with us. In Vietnam, most homes had two or three generations under one roof. We always had various people living with us, some for a week and others for years. My father’s first cousin moved in for a while. He tutored me, picked me up from school and was my mentor. My grandparents were retailers and were very entrepreneurial. They raised quails and sold their eggs. Grandpa also made and sold fireworks.

In 1971, I came to Canada to join my parents and siblings and extended family (my mother’s two first cousins and a teenaged second cousin were also living with us). My parents owned a fish-and-chips restaurant and the cousins also worked there. My father was a professor of nuclear physics by day and entrepreneur by night. My parents made Vietnamese shish kabob and sold them in the summer at Exhibition Park. They had an arcade and video stores, just to mention a few of their many enterprises. Dad would have the vision and creativity for new businesses and Mom would be the doer: organizing, setting up and executing his ideas. I’m thankful I inherited all of these traits from my parents.

My father passed in 2014, and my mom passed July 2017. They were married for 55 years. They definitely had their differences. However, there are a few important values that they instilled in their children. Both were extremely generous and giving. We always had many people living in our house, including grandparents and cousins. Our home was like “Welcome House” for many Vietnamese newcomers and immigrants to Toronto. My parents would house them, help them find jobs and homes and get them settled. This taught me a lot about creating community, being inclusive, and helping and serving others. I feel blessed to carry on their teachings.

When Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007, we decided to move in together and purchased a home suitable for both of our families. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to be closer to my parents in the last ten years, caring for them and paying it forward. What was most precious was that it gave me the chance to heal my relationship with my mother, making amends for what I felt I didn’t have the first nine years of my childhood. I had the opportunity to work things out for myself, to show my appreciation and love to my mother, to learn to accept her unconditionally, to surrender, to forgive and let go of my childhood stories. I realized that she did the best she could. It is a blessing that our children got to live with their grandparents who shared their dreams, stories and wisdom with them.

My parents were ordinary people with extraordinary hearts. They taught me the value of community, how to extend a helping hand to others and to listen to my heart’s wisdom. They are now like ancestors who have been guiding me on my path, leading me to my heart’s longing.

—Mai Duong

Toronto, ON, Canada

Fire Speaks is an Emotional Journey.

Fire Speaks offers an opportunity to experience the wise, funny, provoking, and profoundly insightful counsel of the Spirit of Fire, commonly known as Grandfather Fire in the Americas. Read on to learn what Fire Speaks attendee Heather Poole experienced in Grandfather Fire’s presence.

I’m generally an introvert and not very sociable by nature, but I feel like every time I come to one of these events, everyone is so nice and welcoming.

Fire Speaks is hard to put into words: it’s an emotional journey. Yesterday was full of engagement and connection for me. I think I was so engaged for the entire evening, I didn’t get out of my chair once. I somehow managed to write four pages, in the dark, of beautiful messages from Grandfather Fire.
The connection that Grandfather has talked about a lot—the present-mindedness—I try to incorporate into my life every day. The connectedness, not only with people around me, but everything around me: the weather, the plants, all of the creatures. It brings me considerably more joy to live my life with these things in mind! I feel so humbled and almost so small, in a sense, to be in Grandfather Fire’s presence.

—Heather Poole

Sacred Fire Asheville (NC, USA)

Fire as Community, Laughter and Wisdom

A first-time Fire Speaks attendee shares his experience.

It was a multilayered experience for me. The first layer that I really was attracted to, that I have taken with me since, is how the whole gathering was structured, including the story-telling and the joke telling. The focus on laughter, in particular, really helped to bring everyone together, to help us feel like family. The second step–drumming, singing and chanting–was extremely powerful and really helped build the energy. If you’d seen me, I was “gone”; Spirit was really playing with my body. With just that, if it had ended there, I would have been really happy with the experience.

During the audience with Grandfather Fire, I got to ask a question close to my heart. The response was so clear and confirming that it gave me permission to more deeply explore an idea I had been sitting with, and within the week it catalyzed a lot for me. I developed and have since taught a self-development curriculum that meets people where they are at and has proven practical and inspiring.

I would definitely take advantage of another dose of community, laughter and wisdom in this way.


—Brandon Bozarth

San Diego, CA (USA)

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

The Gift of Sacred Space

Spending time around the fire for the first time with Grandfather Fire at a Sacred Fire Community Fire Speaks event was a reminder of the timeless wisdom that lies beneath any fear I may be experiencing in my life. Sharing wholesome, alive food in the company of ensouled friends who gathered to support Grandfather’s presence was an added blessing to a heart-felt day. I am constantly reminded when I gather around the fire: there is beauty, kindness and abundance in the world, and we all need a safe, sacred space to offer our laughter and tears to Grandfather. His grounded, wise presence helps us remember that peace, joy and balance are cultivated from within.

Gratitude abounds to everyone who contributed in their own unique way to create a loving presence for Grandfather Fire’s wisdom to emerge and be heard. I walked away with a deepened sense of connection and love with ALL of my relations!

—E. McKeever

California & New Mexico, USA

Community, Respect and Compassion

The sense of community, of respect, of compassion for what people go through in their daily lives was so entirely comforting that it stayed with me for a whole week. I’m ready for another fix!

—Gene Malowany

Boulder, Colorado

Listening to Fire at Mt. Tamalpais

For many years I have attended the Fire Speaks event at Mt. Tamalpais in Northern California. The setting is extraordinary and deeply sacred. This year, in the shadow of the great mountain, we were warmly welcomed into the camp where the evening’s event was to be held. The tent was festooned with colorful decorations. There were familiar faces and new ones, a feeling of warmth and calm excitement. There was delightful laughter and beautiful songs and poems as we waited for Grandfather Fire.

When the Spirit of Fire began speaking, the feeling of deep heart and wisdom was palpable, a source of nourishment and sanity in a fragmented world. He spoke of how much we need our connection with community and with nature, how we have over-complicated our lives and become disconnected. And this leaves us with a gnawing sense of something missing. He generously answered our questions about how we deal with the challenges of our contemporary lives.

I was most moved when Grandfather Fire spoke of finding our sense of purpose and meaning by willingly “picking up the heaviest thing” we see set before us and learning to share those burdens with others, so that we find that it is not so hard.


—Maxima Kahn

Raíces profundas, pueblo pa’lante

Un encuentro con Abuelo Fuego en Tepoztlán

No suelo viajar de mi amado Borikén.  Pero en septiembre del 2017, justo luego del huracán María, mientras contemplaba mi escuela sin techo y mis siembras de yerbas medicinales enterradas bajo árboles caídos, sonó mi teléfono móvil por primera vez desde la tormenta.  Era mi gran amiga Erin y su esposo Adam. Me llamaban desde los EE.UU. a ver cómo yo estaba y a invitarme a viajar a Tepoztlán, México para participar de sus ceremonias anuales de primavera. Como graniceros de la tradición nahual, orarían por las lluvias benevolentes y les darían la bienvenida. 

Gracias al huracán, el 2018 se veía impredecible; todos mis proyectos planificados para los próximos meses ya se habían desvanecído. Así que cerré los ojos, pregunté a mi corazón . . . y les dije que sí.

Ya en Tepoztlán, alrededor de una gran fogata, nuestro grupo recibió el regalo de una noche de sabiduría ofrecida por el espíritu del Fuego, Abuelo Fuego. (Para saber más sobre esto, tocar aquí.)  Me atreví a pedirle consejo: “Necesito perspectiva sobre la crisis que vivimos en Puerto Rico. Desde del huracán, ha habido un éxodo de docenas de miles de familias . . . y un saqueo económico. Nuestros gobernantes están aprovechando la crisis para cortar las pensiones, cerrar las escuelas, desmantelar las corporaciones públicas, las instituciones culturales y hasta nuestro sistema universitario.  Recurren a la represión, la violencia y otros métodos del capitalismo extremo . . . .” Comencé a llorar. ¡Uff! ¿Había yo dicho demasiado? ¿Era un lugar seguro para hacer preguntas socioculturales?

El Abuelo no tardó en responder.  Describió cómo es que los huracanes limpian el ambiente . . . eliminando los árboles débiles, dejando sólo a los más fuertes y creando las condiciones, el espacio para la sangre nueva.  Se refería a la gente que se queda en el país como “los arboles fuertes.” Explicó compasivamente que el papel de los gobernantes es mantener el orden y la estabilidad, y que se desesperan porque el sistema que ellos representan se va desintegrando.  Terminó sugiriendo que para los árboles fuertes, éste podría ser el mejor momento para crear -desde nuestras raíces subterráneas más profundas- el nuevo Puerto Rico que visualizamos para todos, y que entonces, los boricuas que se fueron, regresarán.

Recibí estas palabras con agradecimiento ya que el futuro de mi país adoptivo pinta desesperanzador. Las palabras del Abuelo me aclararon que he de nutrir mi fé de que sí, otro Puerto Rico es posible. Y que ahora, como educadora y líder, me toca seguir co-creando – sin permitir que me distraigan las malas noticias – el Borikén transformado que anhelamos habitar.

María Benedetti es una autora y educadora etnobotánica que vive desde 1989 en la tierra de la familia de su madre, Puerto Rico. Ella puede ser contactada a través de su sitio web,

—María Benedetti

Puerto Rico