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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)
April 12, 2019