Erin

Erin Everett, Speaker For twenty years, Erin has been helping individuals and groups define their identities and speak their hearts. After receiving a BA in English Literature and a minor in Intercultural Studies, for nine years she published New Life Journal, a monthly publication with 90,000 monthly readers in the southeastern US. She currently runs Spice Up the World, where she helps businesses and organizations express their purpose with Heart. She is also an initiated Nahua traditional weatherworker. One of her favorite things is igniting personal and cultural change by sharing the Sacred Fire Community’s benefits: sacredness, fire and deep community.

Sep 122013
 

On four continents, the Sacred Fire Community’s Lifeways are quietly breaking through the constraints of modern life to bring intentional rites and ancestral teachings back to our culture. Featuring deeply rooted ancestral approaches, these programs mark life’s transitions and offer participants real transformation and a sustainable way of relating with each other and the living world.

Click to view these two Lifeways announcements:

1. Families and Communities learn to celebrate pregnancy, welcome new babies and honor the mystery of new life.


2. Young people are mentored into adults who can make the world a better place.

 

Lifeways Mentoring Program Launches

Since 2005, the sfc lifeways Initiation program has initiated over 100 young people. These young men and women have gone through the sacred passageway designed under Grandfather Fire’s guidance and overseen by experienced ritual  leaders to produce the transformation needed to become, emotionally and spiritually, young adults. They are now out in the world discovering what this means as a way of living their lives and deepening their connection to the world.

The Initiation Council has been aware of the need for continuing support and actual mentoring of our young people to help them in the process.  This Council has recognized that the majority of adults today have not had the gift of initiated adults and elders to guide them in their early years. The challenges that adults, both young and old, have faced over the last several years have created a society of imbalance and struggle.

The SFC Lifeways program is pleased to announce the beginning of the Lifeways Mentoring Program for Initiates of the Initiation into Womanhood and Young Men’s Initiation.  The Initiation Council and small group of committed and passionate adults have given their time and money to be trained as mentors for our young people.  This training will culminate with a gathering of initiates and the new mentors for a kickoff of the Lifeways Mentor Program in early December of this year.  Thomas Balistieri, a trained counselor and educator has guided the thirteen adults through a process that will benefit our people for years to come.

The Sacred Fire Foundation awarded the SFC Lifeways Mentor Training Program held in July and September, a grant to pay the costs of the trainer for the initiation mentor training of the adults and Initiation Council. The Lifeways program is looking for generous people to help with funding for the December 2013 Mentor Pilot Program.  If you are passionate about mentoring our young people to become leaders of our future, please send your gifts of support to: Sacred Fire Community, Sherry Boatright, Lifeways Director, 142 Hamp Chappell Road, Carrollton, GA 30116 or, you can also donate on the Contributions page of the Sacred Fire Community website, www.sacredfirecommunity.org/contribute. Please write Sherry an email and let her know you have made a Mentoring contribution. Thank you!

The Mentor Training Program will be offered again in 2014 by Mr. Balistieri through the SFC Lifeways Mentoring Program.  If you are interested in becoming a mentor or would like more information, please send your application or question to Lydia Jane Michaels, Administrator for the Initiation Council.

Sacred Fire Community Lifeways and our developing global communities centered around the fire provide modern humans with comprehensive tools and experiences for living a deeply connected life.

Acknowledged throughout humanity’s history, Fire holds our deepest knowing and wisdom, and awakens our personal relationship with the Divine. Community is the workshop for learning the gifts of fire. Lifeways is brought to you by the Sacred Fire Community.

 

Lifeways Children’s Programs – Growing up on Fire

The Dance of Deep Community

Stand With Us!

The Story of Fire

Lifeways Emerging Adult’s Programs

Jul 022013
 

Hello, Fiery Ones!
Those of us working with the international Sacred Fire Community are undertaking a deep re-evaluation of how all of us — you, us and everyone who goes to fires — exist and work as community together. Publishing HotNews over several months, we’ve learned a lot about its value to the community, and about what the community needs from a news bulletin and from an online sharing mechanism.

Now we’re looking at how HotNews could be re-tooled in a way that would make news and event announcements more timely, the sharing of stories, opinions, poems, art, photos and Heart more community-based, and the production burden carried by our small volunteer staff more sustainable.

During this period of inner work, HotNews as we know it will vanish. We’ll maintain a pared-down newsletter for events and other critical announcements, but will focus most of our energies on creating a system that will be a better response to what what we’re hearing the community needs.  Wish us luck as we plan and make changes, and please offer your help if you’re feeling called to be of assistance. We could particularly use the help of inspired people with WordPress, LAMP, and other technical skills.

We welcome your suggestions, and appreciate your patience and support!
On the behalf of our entire community, we warmly thank the current HotNews team, who will be helping us through this transition and out on the other side, and who also maintain other roles for our community:
Phil Roberts: HotNews production manager and SFC Firekeeper
Melody Pettus: HotNews editorial assistant and SFC Archivist
Robin Lockwood: HotNews submissions and SFC Firekeeper
Amy Beauregard: HotNews photo editor and SFC Photo Archivist/Manager
Tracy Pearson: HotNews support in many ways and SFC webmaster

Erin Everett: HotNews team leader/editor

May 022013
 

HEART ON FIRE: Sitting in Audience with Grandfather Fire

By Jonathan Merritt

We were sitting in a beautiful dell at the base of a mountain close to the sea. It was a small group, about thirty-five people, some of whom had come from hundreds, even thousands of miles away to sit in the presence of Grandfather Fire. Before the Tsaurirrikame, David Wiley, a fully initiated shamanic healer and ceremonial leader in the lineage of the Wixarika (Huichols) of Mexico’s Western Sierra Madre, approached the brightly burning fire to make his offerings and prayers, a statement was read that described how, in times of great turbulence and trouble, when the people have lost their essential connection with Divine Presence, the gods arrange to speak with us in a voice we can understand, to bring guidance so that we might regain balance and remember our dependence on and obligation to all that lives, so that we might transform our culture, so that we might live joyfully again in relationship with each other and the living world. This phenomenon, which is common in many traditional cultures, is very unusual in ours and signifies the dangerous precipice upon which we teeter. The statement described the Tsaurirrikame, his dedication, learning and sacrifice, how at a certain point he would go into a coma-like state and a very different distinct presence would rise in him and speak through his body. That presence, that voice, is known in Huichol as Tatewarí, Grandfather Fire, the Elemental God of Fire.

I have had the good fortune to sit in this way with Grandfather Fire more than a hundred times. Yet, each time, as the energy builds to where the Tsaurirrikame begins shaking and Tatewarí emerges, I feel my own excitement and trepidation—excitement because I know that we are about to be given Divine Wisdom; trepidation because I remember the fundamental situation, that we are living in an extremely dangerous time, and that what we need to hear may be both personally and culturally painful.

Like most people, I don’t want to think about the destructiveness of our culture and lifestyle. I enjoy the benefits of cars, electricity and running water, fresh fruit year round, easy entertainment beamed into my home. I don’t want to consider the costs of the destruction of forests and rivers, the fouling of the ocean, the pollution of the air. I want to ignore the incontrovertible evidence of Global Warming and I want to pretend that the great earthquakes and storms, the fires and floods are purely coincidental, that they are not the actions of the elemental forces trying to awaken us to the destruction that we cause. Yet, I can’t ignore it. And, thanks to my luck in sitting so many times with Tatewari, I know that there is guidance to a path that will let us thrive. And I follow that guidance to the best of my ability.

On that night in the dell not long ago, Grandfather Fire received the community’s questions and answered them with beauty and eloquence. It was as if He was orchestrating the evening so that His Wisdom, the things that this particular community needed to hear on this particular night, could be received in a coherent way. I know this is true. Many times I have gone to the fire with a list of vitally important questions, only to forget them as soon as Tatewarí arrived. Other nights, something that I had never thought of before burned in my heart. Sometimes, something I hoped to never ask, some question that pointed to my particular struggles and flaws, simply had to be asked.

That night began with questions on why we need to pray (because as humans we forget that we are divine actors and prayer helps us connect and awaken to our purpose and place in the Divine Dream of this realm); what is the ideal relationship between humans and God (to recognize that all divine manifestations, everything that is, also resides deep inside you so that you come to understand the deep mysterious Divine Presence that is your own life); how to pray without ignorance or arrogance (that true prayer comes not from the ambition to get something you want, but to open the door to what you need, connection to the Divinity inside you, in all people and all that is as the voice of the heart expresses the Divine Nature of being). I stopped taking notes then, preferring to let the questions and answers wash over me like a warm and gentle wind. And these answers that I’ve written are greatly truncated from the depth and generosity of His responses. I’ll remember what else was asked and answered as those questions arise in my conversations around the fire.

But what was remarkable is that every question that was asked had to do with our spiritual natures, how we connect with Divine. What we needed in that time and place was not a catalog of the catastrophes that await us or any admonition to wake up to the realities of our time (which I’ve heard Grandfather Fire address in many other settings), but a deep and timeless message to remember and renew our relationship with the Divine Living World and to recognize the fundamental legitimacy of all life. And when the audience ended, I felt a tremendous wonderment and exuberance at the beautiful blessing that we had been given.

Jonathan Merritt is a marakame, an initiated traditional healer in the lineage of the Huichol people of Mexico. The founding editor, and currently a contributing editor for Sacred Fire magazine, Jonathan keeps a Sacred Fire Community fire in Portland, Oregon.

Discover more about the appearance of Grandfather Fire in human form.

Do you stand for the sacred and interconnected nature of all life? Take our Stand for Sacredness.

Read the weather.com article here .

Read more about our Community fires and the dance of deep community.

Read the story of fire.

Find your Fire.

What does this article bring up for you? Please share your heart by commenting on this post below.

May 022013
 

The above headline may be our destiny, but we’re not there quite yet. What do you see in our future?

No matter where our road is leading us through the warmth and blazing hot-ness of fire, our Community is an expression of sacredness, fire and community that has tremendous potential.

If each of you reading this and interested in the path of our community would do all of us this favor:

1. Find a quiet spot and a quiet moment. Take a deep breath.

2. Light a candle if you have one around. If not, just feel the warmth of your heart.

3. Ask yourself this: Where do I see the Sacred Fire Community in 20 years?

How many people are there? What impact are we having? Are there a mix of ages and faces? Have fires gotten larger or more diverse? Have local hamlet communities grown to be more a part of the international movement of sacredness and fire, or have they gotten more developed locally? Or have things stayed the same? How do we help each other? How are we becoming more and more a community? How is our community responding to the heart-needs of our people?

4. After you vision this for 5-20 minutes, write it down. Then, please come back here and share with your  community what you saw/felt/perceived by using the comments function below. If your experience is one you don’t want to share with everyone, please send it to me directly.

The Sacred Fire Community and our work is not our vision – it’s a vision designed by the gods and brought into fruition through our connection and our work, as we learn to dance together well. But then again, it is our vision as much as anything can be. If all of us feel into it, we’ll begin to recognize the edges, the colors, the boldness and beauty of our community’s place in this world. Do you feel the warmth? Does it feel exhilirating to begin to look towards what’s coming?

As we work together to vision our community, I need to take some time off of the details. We had begun expanding and deepening the content of HotNews, and that will continue somewhat with our new Heart on Fire blog from marakame and writer Jonathan Merritt and others. However, after some earnest attempts at trying (and failing) to get editorial leadership and proofing help for HotNews, we’re realizing that, not only do we need more help, but we also need to look into streamlining the process of our e-newsletter. So, stay tuned for upcoming (and exciting) changes that may just change the way you interact with us online.

Also, wish us luck in our continued search for someone to lead the content and visioning of the publication. Since I’m pulling back on my HotNews work to focus on other Sacred Fire Community needs, our content will do the best it can with our valiant skeleton crew until we find the right person to take charge.

Many thanks to current HotNews crew:

Melody Pettus – archivist turned editorial assistant “temporarily” – Thank you for hanging in there for us, Melody!

Robin Lockwood – content manager – Handling technological difficulties with good humor and tenacity – thank you, Robin!

Amy Beauregard – photo archivist – Thank you for finding the beautiful shots that grace our posts!

Phil Roberts – layout manager – Making HotNews beautiful and readable, planning and adjusting as we grow – thank you!

Tracy Pearson – webmaster extraordinaire – Many thanks for coming through just as we needed you, and adding photos, forms and other functionality at the drop of a hat when we need it, and fixing all the broken things – yay, Tracy!

Jeff Bartlett – Communications director – Always on the job to ensure that the thing gets out – thank you for all your hard work, Jeff!

If you’re feeling the call to help, whether it’s proofing some posts, leading an editorial team, or otherwise helping with our website content, please contact SkyFox, our FireWork manager.

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Sending warmth from my heart and appreciation for the part you play,

Erin Everett, Speaker for the Sacred Fire Community

Erin Everett

Erin Everett, Speaker

Erin Everett lives in Asheville, NC, USA, home of a wonderful Sacred Fire Community hamlet. In 1996, when she first met Eliot Cowan, she thought the last thing on earth she needed was community. Now, she appreciates community because that’s where all the jokes and good chocolate are.

Discover the dance of deep community.

Want to experience the Sacred Fire Community? Find your fire.

Mar 312013
 

As of February 2013, the Sacred Fire Community’s leadership has transformed and expanded. We now have four directors (Susan Skinner, Jeff Bartlett, Tim Simon and Karen Aberle) and a single executive director over them, namely Bill Sutton of Denver, Colorado, USA. We asked him to write to the community and introduce himself to those who might not know him, and to share his heart with all of us.  —Editor

Like many of you, when I look back on my life, I realize I’ve always had a relationship with fire.

When I was 12, I almost burned my house down playing with matches and gasoline next to our main gas line. As a college student, I used to study with a candle burning next to me — not that I needed the light or that I was trying to do something “religious.” It was something I just wanted, a doorway that helped me stay connected to a deep sense of home and the mysterious. I’ve sought refuge by the fire at many points over the years, and love having a glowing fire to sit next to and read — or just watch.

After some ominous dreams and occurrences, in 2006 I found myself living in the small village of Tepoztlán, Mexico, where I met and opened a relationship with Grandfather Fire — in person. It took a few Grandfather Fires, but I gradually came to realize that the being speaking through the suit was the same as the being in the candle and the fireplace. Then many questions arose. What does it mean that he has appeared to us at this time? What is the need, the vision behind the myriad projects he is directing us into?

Grandfather recently spoke of His role as the divine architect, and our roles as the contractors and laborers. He implored us to fully engage the structures he’s bringing forth, saying that by doing so, we would see the divine wisdom behind them. But, as CS Lewis said of Aslan, “he’s not a tame lion.” In working with Grandfather, we are taken along paths that defy our conventional mind’s notions of success. We continually meet with paradox. How can we be grassroots and divinely orchestrated at the same time? How can we bring forth a spiritual community with no allegiance to a particular spiritual tradition? And the road is not always straight. How can getting frustrated and failing be the essential ingredient to success? As Eliot Cowan recently told us, Grandfather first had him looking for a retreat center (what became the BDC) in California. It was a dead-end street. But without exhausting those possibilities, Eliot could not have realized how much he needed to involve other people in the fulfillment of that vision.

We are so blessed to have found our way here. But this blessing comes with an urgency, a burden, an inspiration to do whatever we can to help do what he came here to do for our world in one of our darkest hours. It’s what happens when you recognize who Grandfather is, and you see where the world is, and you see the opportunity to do something meaningful with your life that could benefit many, many people. To turn your back on this is to exile yourself from your courage and dignity, as well as your fundamental inspiration for living.

As those who’ve been involved with the Sacred Fire Community can attest, Grandfather’s work is a movement through time — not merely an end to be arrived at successfully. And we are simultaneously the contractors, the tools, and the building materials. To be part of his vision — in whatever role, whether Firekeeper, executive director, or someone bringing a good joke and plate of cookies to a fire — is to be transformed, to become the design he is bringing forth.

Yes, sometimes we feel taken down blind alleys, sometimes we hit dead ends, and sometimes we are faced with murky fear that is deeply unsettling — but by embracing our opportunity to learn, opening to change, and seeing obstacles as an invitation to engage more deeply, we can find the divine wisdom in the architecture, of both our organizations and our lives. This only comes when we give into not being final products, but being open to learning and change. Or as he has told us several times, “Be the process.”

You see, we are each the hero of this story — “the hero with a thousand faces,” to quote Joseph Campbell. We are each faced with the task of bringing forth the courage, the bravery to be ourselves — to allow our hearts uninhibited reign — in a world gone mad. Each little foray, each skirmish of our personal lives is the story of Grandfather coming into this world. A world that would spit on us, call us “unreasonable” and “impractical,” while we know this thing we call heart, intuitive connection, humor and joy, is the only thing that makes life worth living.

The appointment of a single overall executive director to the Sacred Fire Community is part of a set of structural changes Grandfather has encouraged us to work with in this next phase of our growth as a community. This is a growth that will bring about many more changes: some rapid and shocking, some slow and so subtle that they can easily be missed if you don’t pay attention. My goal is to do everything possible to consult with and inform the community on key steps as we make them. Please look to future issues of HotNews for news on what’s afoot in the organization. And if you feel unheard or out of the loop, please let me know.

With love and gratitude for our opportunity to travel this journey together,

Bill Sutton
Executive Director
Sacred Fire Community

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Meet the Sacred Fire Community Executive Committee.

Read the Story of Fire.

Read past HotNews articles.

Mar 312013
 

By Susan Skinner

From left to right from pillar: Directors Karen Aberle, Susan Skinner and outgoing Director Larry Messerman with new Executive Director, Bill Sutton

The leadership bodies of the three Sacred Fire organizations (Sacred Fire Community, Sacred Fire Foundation and the Blue Deer Center) recently attended a Leadership Training together in Tepotzlán, Mexico. The facilitators were Thomas Jaggers and Collette Ruoff, and they were excellent at their work.

Over three days, they helped us see ourselves with a critical eye. We saw where each organization currently stood, and we focused on the complexities and challenges facing all of us. Much of this was similar for each organization. From there, they skillfully helped us to give voice to our visions and missions, helped us begin outlining our objectives and assisted in clarifying our form and structures. We had to face our problems in order to move towards process and resolutions.

Each day began with making offerings to the Fire. Grandfather Fire being there at all times to move and support our efforts brought depth and purpose to our days together. For the Sacred Fire Community organization, we felt the presence not just of each other but of all of the people who we represent who weren’t there.

Director Jeff Bartlett

We recognized that leadership is more than roles, responsibilities, and accountability. It is about capacity and supporting each other with inspiration and direction, being clear about our commitments, and having honesty and joy in our heartfelt actions. The beauty of the training was in being shown our personal leadership and opening ourselves to assisting each other in discovering each person’s potential while also cultivating our own.

We were set on fire with an exceptional opportunity present in our community. Grandfather has spoken in a unique way to show us his wisdom which is alive inside of each of us. Fire rituals and the offerings produce medicine that changes lives. It is up to us (with his backing!) to help change the way people view the world and dispel the cold. There are other pathways, but this is what we have to offer at this special point in time. We returned home with great enthusiasm and revitalized energy for our work in the world.

[Editor’s Note: There have been some big changes in our leadership structure…but that’s a story for the March issue of HotNews. Stay tuned!]

Susan Skinner has been one of the leaders of the Sacred Fire Community organization since 2003. Read about our Executive Committee.

 

Interested in working with the Sacred Fire Community organization? Contact SkyFox, our FireWork manager.

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Read more about the dance of deep community.

Feb 282013
 

Children in the Sacred Fire Community

Help the Sacred Fire Community create space for our children – become our children’s editor!

We would like to create a children’s corner in our monthly HotNews e-newsletter. Our new children’s editor will spend 3-6 hours per month working with the Speaking department, the Firekeeping department and Lifeways to come up with content for this area and post it by deadline. Creativity abounds and the sky’s the limit! Contact SkyFox if you’re interested.

Feb 012013
 

This is a response from Susan Skinner, one of the Sacred Fire Community’s four Executive Directors, to a question asked in the comments of our website. Since many of you who have just taken the Stand may also want to know this, we’re sharing it with everyone. Thank you, Susan!

Hello,

Your request was sent to me. I’m one of the people that has volunteered to help the Sacred Fire Community (SFC) become visible in the world. The request I received said you had filled in a form and asked “What is the SFC?” I’ll do my best to give you a glimpse.

In my words, I would say that we are a bunch of people spread across this globe that have recognized the need for change from societies that create imbalance, isolation, and disconnection from each other, ourselves, the natural world and the spirit that exists in us and amongst all of that. We are finding our way back to our human-ness and connection by re-entering into relationship with each other through the aspects of Fire that warm us up and open us. I recommend that you read the Fire Stories on our website to get a sense of what I am hinting at here. If there are no Sacred Fire Community fires that are close to you, I suggest you begin to sit by a fire and feel the warmth and witness the simple transformation of the wood to embers and then to ash.

The best answer about who we are are, is by seeing what we stand for in our Stand for Sacredness, in our Lifeways offerings and our Community Fires. Even our Marketplace works to carry products that say something about us. If you have already done this, I’d be happy to try and answer more specific questions or refer you to others that can provide more answers.

Thank you for taking an interest, and we invite you to take the Stand if you haven’t and to warm yourself by engaging with the people and offerings of the Sacred Fire Community. All people are welcome around the Fire.

Warmest regards,

Susan

Susan Skinner
Co-executive Director
Sacred Fire Community

Jan 072013
 

Want to be in on the fiery conversations that happen on the Sacred Fire Community listserve?

Here’s how to join:

> Go to Yahoo Groups.

> If you aren’t already registered at Yahoo, you will need to register.

> On the Yahoo Groups main page, enter SacredFireCommunity in the search window.

> Click the Search button

> You will be on this group’s home page. There will be a join or subscribe button. Click on it.

> The membership request will come to the Group Moderator(s) for approval.

Need more assistance? Any questions?

Contact Arthur Freeheart.


Have questions or comments for the Sacred Fire Community? Get in touch.

Jan 042013
 

By SkyFox, FireWork manager

A wise shaman once shared: “When I was a boy I admired my grandfather. He was a powerful shaman.

One day when he felt I was old enough to understand, he told me, ‘José, there are two types of power that one can acquire.  One type is used for your own personal reasons.  The other is used for the benefit of your people.  You can walk the road to the first type of power or the second.  But let me tell you this:  the second road is the road to happiness.’

“Since  my grandfather was a very wise man, I took his advice, and I have stayed on the second road.  Whenever the gods give me something, I immediately pass it on for the use of my people.”*

In our modern times, it is so very easy to become distracted by the first road. It calls to us in every form of mass media messaging. We are encouraged to be fearful and to acquire all that we can to fend off impending doom, to bolster our egos, to prove our worth to the world. These gentle words from José Benítez Sánchez remind us that we are richly blessed by the gods every day and have personal wealth in abundance to share that is needed by our communities. Sometimes that wealth comes in the form of money; other times, it is in the form of skills, talents, abilities, capacities.

I invite you to enter the year 2013 with a commitment to yourself to walk the path of happiness. The Sacred Fire Community regularly recruits volunteers for open positions. We need your gifts and talents. Please contact me, SkyFox, to find out more.

Interested? Check out some of our current volunteer openings here, and take a step through the doorway of Sacred Fire by deepening your participation in your community.”

*Quote taken from Plant Spirit Medicine, Eliot Cowan, p 21.

Find out more about the Keys to Deep Community. Read about the Sacred Fire Community’s Lifeways Programs.

Do you stand for the sacredness of life? Take our Stand for Sacredness.

Read more Fire Stories.

Community volunteers working (and playing) with volunteers from the Sacred Fire Foundation, one of our sister organizations. PHOTO CREDIT: Brian Spielmann

Dec 132012
 

A story that was perhaps H.C. Anderson’s very first tale was discovered in the bottom of a storage box in October 2012 near the Danish writer’s home city.  Experts have been studying it ever since, and think it was written by the revered fairy tale writer in the 1820s.

We hope you enjoy his wonderful fire wisdom that is just as helpful for our times as it was centuries ago. What does it spark in you?  

—Erin Everett

 

To Mme Bunkeflod
from her devoted
H.C. Andersen

The Tallow Candle

 

candle flameIt sizzled and fizzled as the flames fired the cauldron.. it was the Tallow Candle’s cradle – and out of the warm cradle came a flawless candle; solid, shining white and slim it was formed in a way that made everyone who saw it believe that it was a promise of a bright and radiant future – promises that everyone who looked on believed it would really want to keep and fulfil.

The sheep – a fine little sheep – was the candle’s mother, and the melting pot its father. Its mother had given it a shiny white body and an inkling about life, but from its father it had been given a craving for the flaming fire that would eventually go through its marrow and bone and shine for it in life.

That’s how it was born and had grown; and with the best and brightest anticipation cast itself into existence. There it met so many, many strange creations that it became involved with, wanting to learn about life – and perhaps find the place where it would best fit in. But it had too much faith in the world that only cared about itself, and not at all about the Tallow Candle. A world that failed to understand the value of the candle, and thus tried to use it for its own benefit, holding the candle wrongly; black fingers leaving bigger and bigger blemishes on its pristine white innocence which eventually faded away, completely covered by the dirt of a surrounding world that had come much too close; much closer than the candle could endure, as it had been unable to tell grime from purity – although it remained pristine and unspoiled inside.

False friends found they could not reach its inner self and angrily cast the candle away as useless.

The filthy outer shell kept all the good away – scared as they were to be tainted with grime and blemishes – and they stayed away.

So there was the poor Tallow Candle, solitary and left alone, at a loss at what to do. Rejected by the good, it now realised it had only been a tool to further the wicked. It felt so unbelievably unhappy, because it had spent its life to no good end – in fact it had perhaps sullied the better parts of its surroundings. It just could not determine why it had been created or where it belonged; why it had been put on this earth – perhaps to end up ruining itself and others.

More and more, and deeper and deeper, it contemplated – but the more it considered itself, the more despondent it became, finding nothing good, no real substance for itself, no real goal for the existence it had been given at its birth. As if the grimy cape had also covered its eyes.

But then it met a little flame, a tinder box. It knew the candle better than the Tallow Candle knew itself. The tinder box had such a clear view – straight through the outer shell – and inside it found so much good. It came closer and there was bright expectation in the candle – it lit and its heart melted.

Out burst the flame, like the triumphant torch of a blissful wedding. Light burst out bright and clear all around, bathing the way forward with light for its surroundings – its true friends – who were now able to seek truth in the glow of the candle.

The body too was strong enough to give sustenance to the fiery flame. One drop upon another, like the seeds of a new life, trickled round and chubby down the candle, covering the old grime with their bodies.

They were not just the bodily, but also the spiritual issue of the marriage.

And the Tallow Candle had found its right place in life – and shown that it was a real candle, and went on to shine for many a year, pleasing itself and the other creations around it.

H.C. Andersen.

 

Read more Fire Stories.

Do you have a story to tell about sacredness and fire? Share it.

Read the story of fire.

Dec 032012
 

Dear supporters of Sacred Fire,

What is the role of ritual in our lives? Is it, as our larger cultures might vaguely imply, simply an effort of going through the motions to provide us with a feeling of comfort, control or alignment? Or is it a nearly forgotten and precious tool to connect human beings with the living, aware world around us?

We are the  Council of Tsantawu, a sacred weather mountain in Georgia, and we’re asking you to look deeply into yourselves. Maybe sit by a fire, a stream, with the ancient rocks or mountains, and listen. Are you called, at this time of change on our planet, to join us in the important work of re-establishing right relationship with this sacred mountain for the benefit of our people, the plants and the animals?

This is an amazing opportunity to participate in an authentic weather ritual to bring benevolent weather to a large area in the southeastern United States. Whether you live in this region or not, you may, in fact, have a role to play: some of the ritual walkers who are committed to this work hail from Connecticut, Chicago and Colorado as well as the southeastern states of Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia. We also have a team of dedicated people who come to offer their support to this ritual.

We ask you to take some time to consider our request. You may have been interested for some time, but the timing has not felt right. Or your heart may be leaping as you read this, as something is welling up deep within. As your heart leaps, your mind may be quickly following with… I can’t afford it, I’ll never get the time off work, how will I get the support from my partner, my family or my community to allow me to walk through this door. If Tsantawu is calling you, all of these things will fall into place… some smoothly… some requiring new levels of trust and patience on your part.

The ritual will take place April 9th  through the 12th , 2013 at Tsantawu, known as Stone Mountain, Georgia. There are two levels of participation. Support team members attend only for these days at the mountain. They support the ritual by setting up and maintaining camp and offering themselves as a community to make sure that this work goes forward. To be considered for support team you need only to reply to this message offering your support. Most importantly, please mark your calendars so that you can join us in the spring!

The second level of participation is that of the ritual walkers.These are the people, both men and women, who perform the ritual. For the ritual walkers, there is a seven-day preparation week prior to the ritual. For them, the commitment in 2013 is from April 2-12th.  We are seeking both male and female walkers. To be considered as ritual walkers, we invite you to request an application. Applications must be returned by January 15th.  If you are inspired to join us, we ask that you contact Sherry Boatright.

Contact Sherry via email.
Phone: 770-854-5551

Thank You,
Sherry Boatright for the Tsantawu Council

Read about the Dance of Deep Community.

Want to experience a taste of the Sacred Fire Community? Come to a community fire.

Dec 032012
 

By Phil Roberts

As a Firekeeper and Plant Spirit Medicine healer, I have been holding Community Fires and building my healing practice in my local community on the west coast of Australia for several years.

In October, I was invited to share both of these experiences with a new audience on the other side of the country. Queenscliff is a beautiful seaside town on the south-east coast that doesn’t have a Firekeeper or any Plant Spirit Medicine Healers. Not yet anyway!

In the afternoon, over 35 people gathered to listen to and share stories about the wonderful gifts of the plants. This was followed by a community fire in a local indigenous garden that night. I met a wonderful collection of people that night, with a terrific diversity of ages, from young children right up to the elderly. There were so many people already doing great heart work in their community, gathering around the fire and building connections in a new way.

There was much joy and laughter and wonderful discussion, but there was one aspect to this night that really stood out to me. This was the healing capacity of community fires.

One man attended the fire who had a tremendous impact on me, and I’m sure the same is true for everyone else who was there. Reg is an old-timer in every sense of the word. As one of the last remaining old-fashioned fisherman you can almost see the salt water that must run in his veins. But that was a long time ago, and Reg’s present day frailty was clear to us all. As we went around the circle introducing ourselves, Reg spoke about the serious health and personal problems he was confronted with.

Later in the evening, I invited Reg to tell us more of his story. We all sat in rapture as we listened to Reg speak of the history of the town, of the old ways of fishing in hand-crafted wood boats, built for staying upright in the waves of the Southern Ocean.

His son joined in and spoke about a chance encounter a few years ago, where he was able to re-purchase one of the old fishing boats and restore it. How it is now proudly anchored in the river. Reg spoke more about his views on sustainability in fishing and in life, born in him long before the word became fashionable.

The more Reg spoke, the more the colour returned to his face, the more vitality came through his voice. I half-expected him to begin doing a little jig around the fire. Before he left for the night, Reg spoke about the sense of restoration he felt from his time around the fire and how healing it had been for him to tell his story and for it to be heard. Slowly, reluctantly, people began leaving the fire one by one, returning home to their beds for the night. The last remaining few of us sat around the fire listening to the wind singing its message through the trees and watching as the stars and moon broke through the clouds.

I reflected on how much had occurred that night. I had witnessed a community begin to galvanise together in a new way around the fire. I had seen children play and be entranced by the fire. But what stayed with me the most was old Reg’s story. Even though I was a stranger to this town, hearing his stories connecting everyone to this place helped me feel more connected. It wasn’t only healing for him telling his story. Somehow there was healing in the listening as well, for me, and I suspect for everyone there.

Reconnecting to a practice that is old as time itself: there is a powerful healing available in the simplicity of community fires. Sharing our stories with the warmth of the fire, feeling the presence of the world around us, connecting with one another, beginning to feel at home. This was the first community fire in Queenscliff, but it won’t be the last. The spark will ignite and a new fire will be born.

Discover more about Firekeeping.

Experience our community fires.

Learn about Community Fires and the Dance of Deep Community.

Dec 032012
 


Did you miss the November 2012 “Getting Ready for Deep Relationship: The Trust Factor” webinar?

Do you have a friend or loved one who needs a new perspective on relationships? Do you need a last minute holiday gift for them?

There’s still a chance to learn from the recordings of this engaging and practical course with facilitators Karen Aberle and Cristian Valenzuela. An eye-opener for couples and singles, “Getting Ready for Deep Relationship: The Trust Factor” is now available from the Sacred Fire Community Marketplace – only $25 for the full 3 sessions. Order today!

Read more about the Lifeways program Getting Ready for Deep Relationship.

Learn more about Lifeways.

Dec 032012
 


“In our modern western culture we have developed an astounding abhorrence to death, the natural and inevitable counterpart to life. With our belief in the power of technology to overcome the forces of nature, we have come to view old age and death as a kind of enemy, something that needs to be vanquished. We have bestowed increasing importance upon the power of our minds and have lost touch with the heart’s ability to embrace the void, the darkness, the great mystery.  This approach brings with it a profound fear in the face of an unconquerable force that is an integral part of life itself. And so, in our fear, we skirt around the subject of death at all costs.” —Prema Sheerin

What is your relationship with death?  What would you need in order to have a peaceful death? 

Creating a relationship with death is a vital part of being fully engaged with life.  So many of us put off attending to important aspects of this transition because we are in denial that death might come at any time.  And yet a peaceful death can be in the details.  Just as in going on a journey, there are certain things that need to be in place in order for you to truly relax and be present, so it is with the journey of death.  And knowing that these things are taken care of also allows us to be more relaxed and present in the journey of life.  What if you had the opportunity to just show up to a class and be walked, step by step, through taking care of all the practical aspects of each phase of the journey of death – before, during and after?

Sacred Fire Community Lifeways offering a four-part webinar in which you will…

  • Experience a safe container in which to share and talk with others about this  potent subject that we don’t normally get to explore.
  • Receive a comprehensive Peaceful Dying Project Guidebook and be guided through the process of; creating an Advanced Directive or Living Will; appointing a Health Care Power of Attorney; expressing your wishes and appointing promise-holders for your funeral and burial; expressing your wishes for funerary rites; and creating or updating your will.  By the end of the class you will have the opportunity to have a package of forms filled out and ready to take to a notary public or your lawyer for final approval.
  • Find out about the Funerary Rites that are available through the Sacred Fire Community and how they can support and guide you or your loved ones’ soul to find it’s way back to it’s ancestral home after you die.

Prema Sheerin, a marakame (shaman) in the Huichol tradition and head of the Sacred Fire Community’s Death and Dying Council, holds space for true transformation. Prema speaks about death in ways that we haven’t heard before, but that feel true and real. And in this webinar, she will provide experiences and materials that will assist us in preparing for this transition so that we can approach it, or help others to do so, with equanimity and grace.

Register now for the Lifeways Peaceful Dying Project webinar.

Cost: $60 for the series

Dates: 8-9:30 PM Eastern time on these Wednesdays: 1/9, 1/16, 1/30, and a Wednesday in February to be determined.

Worried you’ll miss one or more classes? The series is being recorded, so you won’t miss a thing.

“This workshop changed my life. I recommend it to everyone who is willing, or called, to be with deep change in their lives.  I learned that letting go is a good thing, that it makes way for a new way of being. I learned a profound process for taking care of myself as I move through change. And Prema’s wonderful way of receiving and answering questions let me know I was being deeply heard, held and respected.  I recommend her teaching with a full heart.” —River Grace DeHart, North Carolina, USA, about Prema’s Way of Transition workshop

Learn more about the Peaceful Dying Project.

Learn more about Lifeways.

Meet Prema Sheerin. Or read a recent article by Prema about our relationship with death.

Dec 032012
 

“I have spent most of my life denying myself as a woman, misunderstanding what it means to be a woman. The retreat has helped me reconnect with a deep authentic part of myself.”— Christele Askew, France

Women seem to have wider choices in our culture than they have ever had before, but research shows that women are more dissatisfied than they have been in years. What’s going on?

The Lifeways Women’s Retreat experience is based on the belief that women have lost their grounding in the innate sacred feminine. By restoring the knowledge and experience of the sacred feminine, a new way of being can emerge for our people.

The Ukalai Retreat supports a woman’s need for a “time apart” from the repetitive tasks and demands of everyday life. The deep inner voice of the divine feminine calls to a woman throughout her life until she stops to listen. Ukalai opens a potent ritual space where you’ll face old beliefs about yourself and re-ignite your connection to the woman you were born to become.  With a community of dedicated, supportive sisters, you’ll embark on a journey that will activate your creativity and courage, and be offered tools and transformation to help you show up in your life in ways you have longed for.

Sherry Boatright creates a safe container for this four-day group exploration.

Here’s more from Christele Askew, who attended the UK retreat in July 2012:

“This is the first time I experienced the work of the Sacred Fire Community and in particular the Ukalai Women’s Retreat. It is difficult for me to put into words how important this experience is to me….

As the retreat went on, I felt more deeply connected each day to the Earth and Nature, and to the women that formed our beautiful sacred circle. I felt sisterhood from the heart. I learned so much about myself through dreaming, journeying and sharing. The five days were intense and beautiful at the same time. I felt a sense of community I had never felt before, I felt nourished deep in my heart. I felt how very special it is to be a woman connecting with other women. I still carry this connected feeling with me, and I feel I can call upon that whenever I need it.

I want to make this an annual experience.”

Upcoming Ukalai Retreats

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Learn more about Ukalai Women’s Retreats or our men’s retreat, Ukilái.

Learn more about Lifeways.

Who is the Sacred Fire Community?

 Comments Off on Who is the Sacred Fire Community?
Nov 202012
 

The Sacred Fire Community is made up of thousands of individuals across the world.

Many of them are also part of local communities in their regions called “hamlets.” The Sacred Fire Community has many leaders. Our Firekeepers are the local leaders of their hamlet communities, and many of those hamlets have other leadership within them. But the international community often works together to get things done — like offering events, Lifeways programs, Firekeeper trainings — and to learn together what deep community is all about on a global level.

Our Sacred Fire Community organization is charged with the leadership and guidance for the movements and identity of our international community.

Sacred Fire Community Organization Executive Committee

 

Bill Sutton, Executive Director
Bill was a piano performance major at Rhodes College before studying with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and earning his B.A. in Buddhist Studies at Naropa University. He has participated deeply in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition for over thirty years as a meditation instructor, teacher and in various leadership positions. He is a passionate student of enlightened leadership, seeing it as essential to helping our imbalanced world. He has started a variety of web-based businesses and projects. Bill is completing his training as a Firekeeper, and has been a student of the Huichol spiritual tradition since 2009. He works as a web development and ebusiness consultant in Denver, Colorado, USA. Contact Bill

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Susan Skinner, Leadership Team
Susan has lived in an intentional community in Summertown Tennessee for over 30 years was on their Foundation board of directors. She is president and owner of S.E. International, Inc. which has grown from a small electronics startup to a multi-million dollar international firm. Susan has worked with nonprofits including Greenpeace, Plenty International and the Sacred Fire Foundation. She is an initiated weatherworker in the Nahua indigenous tradition of Mexico and has been participating in pilgrimages in the Huichol tradition, also of Mexico, since 2005. She also serves her community as a Sacred Fire Community Firekeeper. Contact Susan

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Timothy Simon, Firekeeper Support
Tim worked in the nuclear submarine business, in injection molding of plastics, and was an electronics and microwave engineer in defense electronics before he began “retirement”. Then he began a different kind of work in the world – so much for retirement. He began as a Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner, then became an apprentice in the Huichol healing tradition and also a Firekeeper under the umbrella of the Sacred Fire Community. He was a veteran of the Vietnam-era war and now is taking a different direction as he moves into being a community builder, a healer and a participant in a world of increasing Heart and Connection. Contact Tim

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Department Managers

Annie King, Fire Chief
Healing, stress management, movement and meditation have been Annie’s work for over 35 years, both in Australia and the US. She has worked for major hospitals in the US in wellness and cardiac rehabilitation programs, facilitating support groups for healing. She currently has a healing practice in Florence, SC, offers classes and retreats, and teaches in the Florence Darlington Technical College. She is an initiated granicera (weatherworker) in the Nahua tradition of Mexico and an initiated Firekeeper for the Sacred Fire Community and in her role as Fire Chief oversees the Community Fires held around the world. Contact Annie

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Sherry Boatright, Lifeways Manager
Sherry graduated from Emory University and received a Master’s degree in Psychology from West Georgia College. She has been a practicing psychotherapist since 1986. She has worked in public agencies and in private practice and has had extensive experience working with women’s groups. She serves her community as a Firekeeper and has been called and initiated in the Nahua weatherworking tradition of Mexico. Sherry co-facilitates the Sacred Fire Community Lifeways Women’s Retreat, Ukalai. Contact Sherry

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Kathy Reid, Database Manager
Kathy and her family are co-founders and co-developers of the Mesa Life Project, a living village community in western Colorado. With a BA in Business Administration, Kathy brings her skills in database development and computer software systems to the Sacred Fire Community. Kathy is also a co-facilitator of our Lifeways Heart of Birth program and has served on our Neikame Birthing Council since 2005. Kathy’s gift for birthing shines through in her offerings as a doula, student midwife, and Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. She also works at IntelliTec Colleges as a Massage Instructor. Contact Kathy

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Jane Wollack, Event Finance Manager
Jane received her MBA from the University of Connecticut in 1980. She worked for many years in the insurance industry before opening up a healing arts practice. A long-time resident of Connecticut, Jane recently relocated to Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee where she practices Plant Spirit Medicine, Massage Therapy and Zen Shiatsu and grows Red Selu heirloom corn among other produce in her garden. Jane has been a long time volunteer for the Sacred Fire Community, first as the Marketplace Manager and now in Event Finance. Contact Jane

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Joanne Rothstein, Welcoming and Gratitude Manager
Joanne received a BA in Biology from the College of New Rochelle in NY and worked for 25 years in microbiology medical research at Tufts Medical Center, Boston. She holds a Master’s in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the New England School of Acupuncture and currently maintains an acupuncture practice in the Boston area. Joanne is an Educator Council member for the Center for Education, Imagination and the Natural World, a non-profit organization based in North Carolina, which is devoted to restoring a sense of the natural world as a sacred presence in the lives of children. Contact Joanne

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Jennifer Weise, Finance Manager
Jennifer holds a Master’s in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from Naropa University and a Master’s in French from Northwestern University. She worked for many years as a language teacher of French, Spanish, and English as a Second Language. A licensed professional counselor in the state of Colorado, she has a specialty in grief counseling, and she currently works as a therapist supporting elementary school children and their families. Dedicated to her role since January 2010, she is passionate about the work of the Sacred Fire Community and deeply committed to the organization’s finances. Contact Jennifer

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Erin Everett, Speaker
For twenty years, Erin has been helping individuals and groups define their identities and speak their hearts. After receiving a BA in English Literature and a minor in Intercultural Studies, for nine years she published New Life Journal, a monthly publication with 90,000 readers in the southeastern US. She currently runs Spice Up the World, where she helps businesses and organizations to express their purpose boldly. She is also an initiated Nahua traditional weatherworker. One of her favorite things is igniting personal and cultural change by sharing the Sacred Fire Community’s benefits: sacredness, fire and deep community. Contact Erin

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David H. Wiley, Communications Manager
David comes to the Sacred Fire Community with over seven years of experience in marketing strategy and analytics for global consumer goods companies where he has worked to help companies understand the needs of their customers and provide products and services accordingly. For the Community, David’s focus is on hearing the needs of the community and helping to communicate our offering back out to the world. Contact David

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SkyFox, FireWork Manager
SkyFox has a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from U.C.L.A (1973) and a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Denver (1981). She has worked in a variety of public social service agencies and provided home healthcare. For the past 18 years, she has had a full time private practice where she serves a broad range of client needs. She is an initiated granicera (weatherworker) in the Nahua tradition of Mexico. She has held a broad variety of volunteer positions both in her local community in Yuma, Arizona and in the Sacred Fire Community. Contact SkyFox

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Madeline Merritt, Secretary and Social Media Manager
Madeline graduated from Northwestern University in 2007 with a double major in Political Science and Theatre. A life-long peaceful activist, she works towards change through collaboration and connection. Part of the first group to go through Women’s Initiation (now called Sacred Emergence), she credits the experience with bringing deep connection and balance to her life, as well as the desire to give back to her community and people. She is currently pursuing a career in acting and writing in Los Angeles, California and considers her service with the Sacred Fire Community an important part of her life’s work. Contact Madeline

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The Executive Committee shows only a few of the faces of the Sacred Fire Community. For more, meet our Lifeways programs presenters.

Or, better yet, meet your local Firekeeper and the people in the Sacred Fire Community hamlet near you: find your fire.

Are you interested in helping out with the Sacred Fire Community and our work warming up the world? Contact SkyFox, our FireWork manager, to connect.

Nov 032012
 

A Pulse article by Nicole Colvin-Griffin

I have been part of this community since 2003.

I experience moments of sweetness and connection at our local hamlet fires and potlucks. I am nourished by the beauty of abundance during our local harvest celebrations. I feel one-on-one connection with others in a real and profound way at community events. Yet, I do not feel connected to the whole, to the big picture of this group.

I ask myself, “How can I show up more fully?”

“What can I bring forth?”

“Will my gifts truly be received?”

It is certainly easier to say something is lacking, harder to really show up. Easier to stay in a mind place of judgement.

I ask myself, “Is this community truly sustainable?”

“Does this community support families?”

Elders and youth are essential parts to a healthy community. Are these thriving arenas of our community? Are the perspectives they bring truly honored and listened to?

When my dear husband, Chris, and I started attending fires our children were quite young and came willingly to fires.  They enjoyed snuggling on laps, singing, drumming, and weaving in and out of the tipi, often falling asleep somewhere near the fiery warmth.

As they have grown, they are no longer interested in attending.  You could say there is quite an aversion, actually.  Is this just part of the natural cycle or is there something to look at here?

I know there are hamlets where there are amazing crews of young people that not only show up, but engage and bring their gifts. How can we support this in other communities in an everyday way, not only in a once a year gathering format?

I long for my children to also be with their tribe, playfully nourished, seen.   Not sitting in front of a movie or computer while we connect with others.  This doesn’t sit well in my guts, in my bones.   I know they must be woven into the fabric into the dance, while honoring their own.

I invite others to join me in sitting with these questions.  In sharing ideas, feedback, creative sparks.

I am inspired to show up. More fully, and with more dedication than I ever have before. I feel the spark in my heart. I long to feel more connected, rather than, “This isn’t really my community.” I am ready to be a voice which speaks gently yet clearly, “Simply holding each other in awareness with compassion is a start.”

Editor’s note: This letter from Nicole, a long-standing community participant, has already sparked lots of discussion and ideas, even before it was published! The Executive Directors of the Sacred Fire Community are looking into the best way to set up a forum to discuss issues around our support of children and families, and Nicole has been asked for her insight on how best to move forward with this. Do you want to be involved in this conversation? Use the comments fields for this article to let us know you’re interested in being on a call or forum.

Have you been holding concerns or kudos about the community in your heart or mind? Please contact Pulse to share your perspective with the community.

Nov 032012
 

How do we deepen our connection to the living world?

As human beings, many of us realize an innate longing to awaken to our relationship with nature, sacred places, the weather, the animals, trees and plants, the singing and dancing world around us. But where do we begin? And after we begin, how do we continue the conversation and continue to build our friendship with the world for the benefit of all?

In honoring the natural stages and transitions of life in our Lifeways programs, we affirm our deep connection to the cycles of life. Most traditional cultures had, and some still have, numerous major ceremonial events throughout the year that connected them to these cycles. For example, the Huichol people celebrate 16 major ritual occasions yearly, and the Cherokee honored seven related to the planting, growth and harvesting of corn. Traditionally, as humans, our yearly cycle was filled with preparing for and celebrating ritual and then returning home to begin preparing for the next. These cycles were a crucial part of the lifeways of the people: they helped the communities stay connected throughout the year to all of life, to Divine, to the living world.

Our present-day Thanksgiving celebrations in the US and Canada offer opportunities for celebrating the harvest to some extent, and many of us will join in. For those who want a deeper level of engagement, in our community, Nahuatl weatherworkers in Mexico, Canada, the US and UK are hosting annual harvest festivals in their regions. You may participate in harvest ceremonies from other traditions. These represent opportunities, not only to come together as communities and deepen our gratitude, but also to touch on the fulfilling and fulfilled relationships our ancestors enjoyed with the living beings all around us. That’s what Sacred Fire Community Lifeways is all about, as well. We offer rituals and deep experiencing of the phases of life: birth, youth, transition to adulthood, being a woman, being a man, exploring the opportunities of love relationships, deepening our relationship to life through prayer, peaceful transition into dying and then coming around again. Why is this acknowledgement of sacredness, this celebration of our dance with life important? How does it change and enrich us, our families, and our communities?

In the spirit of thanksgiving, we thank all of the participants in our international community, and specific to this article, all of you who have been bold enough to dive into our Lifeways offerings this year and in years past.

Many people have discovered the benefits of honoring these cycles of life, of stopping our daily routines to come together and engage with each other and to dance our appreciation with the living world. Joy Lewell is one of the many of us who have discovered something precious in our Lifeways offerings. Here’s her thank you to the Sacred Fire Community; Roger and Reyna Menadue, our Alice Springs Australia Firekeepers; and Karen Aberle and Cristian Valenzuela for their Getting Ready for Deep Relationship program that was offered in October. This was written for our Alice Springs community’s local newsletter, and is reprinted here with permission.

I will try and write something short for you Reyna but you know I am not very great at ‘short’ stories and if I went to the end you would not be happy as it would read like, I went to this group and now I can barely function in the ‘real world’ as there is so much going on inside, an explosion of joyousness for this journey I find myself on – The end.

Having attended many personal growth retreats before in my life, I already knew that attending such a workshop with a group of people who are both courageous and adventurous enough to enter into such a dialogue was about the most favorite happening I could ever show up for. Why? Because having an opportunity to be in authentic communication with other human beings who are willing to share themselves in this way and with such an important focus is so rare and this makes me able to live my life.

What was really different about this workshop was that, first of all, the facilitators were shamans and the sessions were conducted around a fire, which seemed like a heck of an ask in temperatures we are currently experiencing in central Australia. The difference ‘The Fire’ brought to this group was something we all felt deeply and personally enabled me to deepen my own appreciation and connection with the Sacred Fire.

Given the minefield of relationships for everyone, the facilitation and tools we were given on this weekend were and are inspiring, profound and yet so simple to engage with. Comments arise in the weekend like, ‘How on earth did I think I could navigate myself thru such an important and central theme in my life without any tools and a ‘coach?’ I am so excited now to begin to use these tools, not just with my partner, who by grace was on this workshop with me, but hopefully as an ongoing conversation with the other participants was we go back into the day-to-day living we came from. The fact that Karen and Cristian will continue to ‘coach’ me in this journey is just so exciting and so essential, I cannot really express this just yet.

We laughed, we cried, we affirmed each other, we were validated and made human by this courageous journey we made and have begun together. Karen and Cristian are master facilitators.

I offer this little note in deep gratitude to Reyna and Roger for the stand they are making in the world for intentional community, heart-felt communion with each other and the land we find ourselves in, and a commitment to helping each of us find purpose and connection in our lives with the support of the Sacred Fire Community worldwide.

Let the wild things play I say,
With much love Joyful

—Joy Lewell

Don’t miss the upcoming Lifeways webinar with Karen and Cristian, “Getting Ready for Deep Relationships: The Trust Factor,” happening on three Sundays in November for $50. Find out more and register now.

Discover Sacred Fire Community Lifeways.

 

Nov 032012
 

Trust. Everyone wants it. 

We talk about trust as an essential quality of good relationships but do we know exactly what it is, how to produce it, and how to rebuild it when it breaks?

We often meet people, feel a good connection with them, bestow all of our trust upon them, and after the inevitable failures of life, watch as it begins to fade away. There’s a better way. Join us for the Getting Ready for Deep Relationship: The Trust Factor November series of webinars and learn about the three critical components of trust and how to begin and maintain relationships with more confidence in others and peace of mind.

The webinar will take place on three consecutive Sundays (one hour each day at 2 pm Eastern (noon Pacific/1 pm Mountain/2 pm Central/8 pm UT): November 4, 11 and 18. Cost: $50 for the series. Register now.

Read the interview with Karen and Cristian, webinar presenters or read their bios.

Learn more about Sacred Fire Community Lifeways.

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