Jeff Bartlett

Jul 132015

groupCelebrating our 5th year of gathering and spending time around the fire. If you’re between the ages of 16 and 30 come join us at Ritaka 2015, from August 21-23rd in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Three days and two nights of sharing, teaching, learning, laughter and spontaneity. The weekend is determined by us! Bring something that you would like to share with the group, maybe an instrument, a story, song, poem, anything that strikes a chord in your heart.

Register for Ritaka 2015 here


More about Ritaka.

Who leads the program?


Ritaka is offered by Sacred Fire Community’s Lifeways.

See sidebar to left for upcoming locations and dates for this Lifeways program, or view all upcoming Lifeways programs. Or bring this or other Lifeways programs to your area.
Apr 292015

Cocoa-beansWe are very excited and pleased to announce a very special Grandfather Fire event this August.

For over a year now, we have been working to put in place the right conditions so that we could request that Grandfather tell the Sacred Story of Chocolate, a story rarely heard because of the special circumstances that must surround the telling.

Grandfather has selected the full moon of August 29th as the date and the Asheville Fire Hamlet as the venue where we will at last be able to make this special request.

Auspiciously, this event may coincide with the completion of a Prosperity Ritual in which Grandfather has instructed the Sacred Fire Community and our sister Sacred Fire organizations to engage again this year.

It appears that everything is lining up for an amazing night! As we know from Grandfather’s teachings, gathering together is a way to create social and energetic fire. We sincerely hope you can join us for this rare and special evening to help ignite the night so that Grandfather might honor our request.

David Wiley, who provides a conduit for Grandfather to speak to us, has generously offered to donate the proceeds of this particular event to the Sacred Fire Community organization to provide support for the work Grandfather is asking us to do to grow our Firekeeping and Lifeways programs around the world.

We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the generous and hearty folks from the local Asheville Fire Hamlet. While we work out the details with the local firekeepers and the team we build together, please save the date, invite your friends and get ready for a “Wonderful Night for a Fire.“


The Sacred Fire Community organization and the Asheville Hamlet
invite you to a Very Special Grandfather Fire Event


Where we will request Grandfather to tell the
Sacred Story of Chocolate.

Proceeds will benefit Grandfather’s work through the Sacred Fire Community.

Please save the date and spread the word to ignite the night. More details on the event including cost, registration, lodging will be forthcoming.

To learn more about how Grandfather Fire speaks in this form, please visit

Please look for Hot News announcements in your inbox for more news on this, the Prosperity Ritual and other upcoming events. If you haven’t already, you can sign up to receive the Hot News here so that you can stay up to date as the Fire continues to heat up! And please do share this “Save the Date” announcement with your friends and community!

Apr 292015


We invite you to join the three Sacred Fire organizations, the Huichol and Nahua medicine path groups, and the Tepoztlán community in an important ritual we will be participating in this growing season. The purpose of the ritual is to request prosperity and support for our efforts to share and expand the sacred nature of Fire.

The Prosperity Ritual engages specific spiritual energies, elements and prayers to bring forth abundance. It revolves around the corn cycle, including planting, germinating, tending and harvesting corn, followed by a celebratory community feast, the saving of seed and the sharing of seed with another.

As reported in last year’s Hot News, 2014 marked our first engagement in the ritual. Following Grandfather Fire’s guidance, it was held on behalf of the three Sacred Fire organizations — Blue Deer Center, Sacred Fire Foundation, and Sacred Fire Community — at the home of Alan and Amanda Kerner in Santa Monica, California. When we asked Grandfather Fire about repeating the ritual this year, He not only advised us to repeat it, but to do so on an expanded scale.

We were surprised as we watched the ways prosperity manifested to support us from the moment we planted the corn. The Blue Deer Center experienced growth in fundraising, donor relationships, facilities, and connections. The Sacred Fire Foundation was blessed with several new volunteers, an opportunity to present the annual Wisdom Fellowship Award at an international conference in New York, and contributions that helped meet their biggest fundraising goal to date. The Sacred Fire Community organization was granted its long-sought-after nonprofit status and several unexpected donations, including a rather large spontaneous offering that came to us through our web site. All experienced a real sense of blessing, support, and opportunities coming from the world in mysterious and unexpected ways.

This year, again following Grandfather Fire’s guidance, the ritual will take place at Casa Xiuhtecuhtli in Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Held in trust by an affiliated not-for-profit organization, Casa Xiuhtecuhtli is a sacred home for the Nahua and Huichol medicine path groups that support the community. Grandfather has instructed us to expand the ritual this year to include more offerings, more corn, more people and more groups. Entering their second year of the ritual, the three Sacred Fire organizations will multiply the size of their milpas (‘cornfields’) nine-fold. Joining them will be the Nahua and Huichol medicine path groups and the local Tepoztlán fire community, who will be engaging in the ritual for the first time.

The Blue Deer Center, represented by Board Chair Patrick Hanaway, is participating to make its vision of providing a home for ancient wisdom and ancestral wisdom traditions a reality.

The Sacred Fire Foundation, represented by Executive Director Keiko Cronin, is participating to support their work in preserving ancient wisdom traditions; promoting dialogue between traditions; and creating opportunities for elders to share their wisdom.

The Sacred Fire Community organization, represented by Executive Director Bill Sutton, is participating to strengthen support for Firekeeping, Lifeways programs, and Grandfather Fire events, and other community endeavors to allow many more people the opportunity to benefit from a connection to Fire, community, and the living, sacred mystery of life.

The Nahua and Huichol medicine groups, represented by granicera Alison Gayek andmarakame Lisa Lichtig, along with the Tepoztlán fire community, represented by firekeepersJaime Velez and Erica Cohen, all call the newly purchased Casa Xiuhtecutli their spiritual home. They are collectively asking for prosperity to support the mission of Casa Xiuhtecuhtli and the ability to fulfill their financial obligations to care for and maintain this home. The medicine groups are also asking for the prosperity needed to sustain and deepen their path work and opportunities to share the gifts of their medicine with their communities and the world.

The representatives from each of these six groups are collaborating to coordinate the ritual details and will participate in the planting ritual on behalf of their respective groups.

We will plant the corn at 9:00 a.m. (central daylight time) Sunday, May 17. We invite everyone who is inspired to light a special candle on that day and join us in our request to bring a great abundance of prosperity to support this important work. After the ritual planting and prayers, the local community and weather beings will be involved in the watering and care of this precious corn until it is ready to harvest. If you are in Tepoztlán and would like to witness the planting ritual, please contact Erica Cohen ( or Jaime Velez ( for more information.

We plan to share photos, updates and stories about the ritual with you throughout the growing season. Thank you for your love, care and participation in the mission and work of Ancient Wisdom, Heart and Fire. Many thanks go to the Tepoztlan Fire Community and their local Firekeepers for helping us grow corn (both literally and figuratively) together.

Let’s be open for signs of abundance in our lives and offer a prayer of gratitude when they appear!

Mar 092015


Registration is now open for the following
Grandfather Fire Events:

Santa Monica – March 21st.
Mount Tamalpais – March 24th.

Coming soon registration for:

United Kingdom – June 20th

And… We’re in the first stages of planning a very special Grandfather Fire event to take place in Asheville this Summer, we’ll have more news on that one soon!


With Warmest Wishes

Jeff Bartlett
Event Coordinator


In difficult times, ancient traditions come to our aid

For hundreds of thousands of years, Fire has been central to human existence, not only providing warmth, light, and protection, but sacred space for communing with Divine. Known by many names — such as the Hindu Agnideva, the Huichol Tatewarí (Grandfather Fire), the Egyptian Sekhmet, and the Greek Hephaestus — the Spirit of Fire has been revered and engaged by the original traditions and peoples of our earth as a source of wisdom, compassion and transformation.

What would it be like to hear and experience the voice of Fire?

When the peoples go through difficult periods, the ancestral traditions offered a pathway for a spirit-speaking person to help their societies receive guidance and reestablish connection to the Sacred. Even in our present generations there exist respected traditions where a person is chosen by Spirit to serve in this way. The Tibetan kuten, the indigenous Huichol axihuatakame, and the Lakota heyoka are but a few examples.

In a rare occurrence, the Spirit of Fire has selected a person from outside the usual indigenous setting to serve as such a conduit for the people of our western culture, who are deeply challenged and in need of renewed connection to the Sacred. Acting as a bridge between worlds and cultures, Don David Wiley was raised in the West but called, trained, initiated and accepted as an elder in two ancestrally-related indigenous peoples — the Nahuatl and Huichols. Since Grandfather Fire has appeared to provide a new, yet old voice in the world, Don David is traveling on Fire’s behalf to provide this to international audiences in Europe, Latin America, Canada, Australia and the United States.

Dec 302014

By Deanna Jenné, Karen Aberle & Jessica De la O,  Sacred Emergence Guides

Dear Sacred Fire Community (SFC),

SFC’s Lifeways program, Sacred Emergence ~ Initiation into Womanhood, will be offered in Summer 2015. We invite girls and young women from the ages of 16 to 25 to join us on a journey to self-discovery. This is the time in life when a young person begins to question life and seek answers. At this stage, it is essential to catalyze a certain latent energy that one is born with. Initiation holds the key to this transformation, and to one’s purpose and connection in the world.

The signs that she’s ready are wide and varied. She may innately know there is much more to life than what she is currently experiencing. It feels like a calling for some. For others, there is a strong sense of suffering accompanied by depression, illness, or a compelling urge to indulge in risky behaviors such as drugs, alcohol and promiscuous sex. Confusion is predominant. In all cases, we recognize that these are signs and symptoms of a doorway trying to open. There is an innate calling that must be answered!

Photo - 2010 InitiatesWe are here to help guide girls and young women through the initiatory process of moving into womanhood.  With the guidance of trained leaders and elders, initiation candidates are led through a weeklong ritual that provides tools and wisdom to live a heart-centered life, develop a deeper connection to the natural world, and have the ability to bring forth her creative gifts.

The application process is now underway. If you are interested, or if you know someone who could benefit from this offering, please contact us (or have them contact us) for more information and to request an application: Contact us. Applications are due by January 30, 2015.

In the spirit of Womanhood,
Deanna Jenné, Karen Aberle & Jessica De la O
Sacred Emergence Guides

What does this experience bring?

The experience of initiation has given me the gift of trust in my own soul. Life is no longer about success or failure; it is about following my heart so that I can be a servant to my highest self and to the divine in its many miraculous forms. ~ 2005 Initiate

I have gained trust to let myself feel the thrill of the journey instead of the worry. I feel stronger, not because I feel more capable, but because I trust myself in a way I haven’t before, and because I know I’m part of something bigger.  ~ 2013 Initiate



Dec 302014

By Dan Sprinkles

Our ancestors knew that waiting deep inside each young person was a transformative spiritual force waiting to be released once subjected to appropriate community and ritual. Once released the young person would gain status, perspective and heart connection to the world around them, triggering the seeds of maturity, responsibility and wisdom… on a good path toward the fullness of their being.

The Sacred Fire Community announces that it is offering Young Men’s Initiation into Adulthood. This ritual will be open to young men from the ages of 16 to 25 by application process. The ritual will be guided by David Wiley, community elder, ritual leader, and healer in both the Huichol and Nahuatl traditions. Dan Sprinkles and Gary Weidner who are also shamans in these traditions will assist him. Additionally, a crew of dedicated men volunteers from the community will support the initiation.

The initiation is a commitment to the quality and meaning of your life. It requires a time of introspection and preparation. For those who are eligible, there will likely be an initiation this summer. Now is the time to step forward.

For more information please contact us here or phone Dan Sprinkles at 845-810-0200.

I was lost and overwhelmed; searching for a depth to life that I knew existed but had no idea how to find. I felt like a drop of water in the ocean; lost in the crowd and yet entirely alone. During the initiation what I found is that there were others that were searching for something greater. I found men that I could laugh with, cry with, men who understood me and what I was going through, and in talking with them I found that I wasn’t nearly as lost as I thought I was, and in fact was exactly where I needed to be. But mostly I found that I don’t have to do this alone. ~ Colin Lenhart – Initiate

“The initiation is, without a doubt, powerful. Its effects are transformational in the sense of allowing that which is not essential to drop away. It works to benefit the individual and by extension the community. It provides the occasion and impetus for a young man to take his place as an adult in the world with attending responsibilities, respect and dignity. It forges a bond between the initiates and the cadre of men in the community who support and mentor the young men in the initiation process. Above all, it gives the initiates a deep sense of who they truly are. This becomes the authentic place where they live their lives from.”  ~ Dan Sprinkles



Nov 292014

By Deanna Jenné
It is a radical time of change. We are experiencing shocking destructive forces worldwide. Simultaneously the birth of a new epoch is taking place. Awakening us from a deep slumber, Fire is guiding us to reawaken our primal heart wisdom.

This is the dawn of the age called the Sixth Sun. Modern people worldwide are standing side by side with their Indigenous brothers and sisters, engaged in the act of bringing balance to the world through prayer and caretaking the sacred. As our hearts open, behavior towards one another softens, worn out illusions are lifted, and the rise of the true feminine is palpable in our relationships, communities and leadership.

Last year, Wixarika Jicareros (Huichol offering carriers for their ceremonial building called a Tuki) made a special visit to the marakate (shamans) of the Grupo Tatewari (the Grandfather Fire Group from the US and Mexico). During our annual stay in the homelands of San Andres Cohamiata, the ceremonial village in the Western Sierra Madre of Mexico, they told us, “We have always had five Tukis. This sixth Tuki (the ceremonial building we care take of in San Andres) and Grupo Tatewari is the fulfillment of part of the Huichol prophecy. The sixth Tuki would signify that we have entered the Sixth Sun.”


The Wixarika acknowledge that Grupo Tatewari has a mission in this new epoch of the Sixth Sun. Our presence in the world enlivens their ancient wavering tradition while it brings to western minds an even broader awareness of the necessity to maintain the balance of the world. This time of trouble and imbalance that has alerted the Gods of the need for Grandfather Fire’s (Tatewari) presence here to show and remind us the preciousness and interconnectedness of all life and to remember humanity´s gift of the mind is here to serve the heart.

The Tuki is a living being because it has been fed offerings, song, and prayers made by five marakate. Deanna Jenné, Patrick Hanaway, Karen Aberle, Alan Kerner and Jaime Velez have served as Jicareros for the last five years in a cycle of fiestas and pilgrimages to bring the tuki to life. In the Tuki, Don José Sandavol de la Cruz, cantador and Tsaurririkame, sings to bring forth the arrival of the Gods to teach us. This tradition maintains the balance within a village. The Tuki in San Andres, known as the Ancestral Tuki, and the other in Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico, the Principal Tuki – the first ever to live outside the Huichol homelands, are intimately linked.

This November the Jicareros will complete their five year ceremonial cycle. Since 2010 the Jicareros’ dedication to caretake the Principal Tuki has gone unprecedented. The fiestas and pilgrimages they tend bring about balance and harmony that sings throughout the land so life continues, the prophecy is fulfilled and the people have a place to connect as a community, receive healing, celebrate and pray to the Gods.

Upon return, the community of Tepoztlan invites everyone to a grand fiesta at the Principal Tuki to welcome the pilgrims back from their arduous journey. Following the fiesta the Jicareros perform the blessing ceremony for everyone. These blessings resonate out, just like a pebble dropped in a calm sea, reaching the Jicareros’ communities and then to the people of the world.

After thousands of years’ tradition, the Wixarika now experience a serious change as modernity encroaches upon their ancient, ancestral ways. They need our help. With their gracious gift to us, as the prophecy has foretold, we will work to keep this tradition alive and spread its blessings throughout the world.

Please join the completion fiesta and blessing ceremony on December 7th. For more information and RSVP to Ana Cortez at or Erica Cohen at

Sep 102014


By Annie King, Fire Chief. 

The Sacred Fire Community held its first Community Forum on August 30th – an event to process some important issues felt both culturally and in our community. People attended through their caring for this Community, and their caring for one another. Many spoke their fears, their concerns and their deep-felt emotions, as issues were passionately explored. There were moments of great intensity, and moments where deeper understanding and connection were palpably felt. Throughout it all, Gary Reiss of Global Process Institute facilitated with respect for all voices, helping us discover our common concerns. The issues processed were deep and complex, and one day felt a very short time for this kind of work. It helped us appreciate that another day or more could have been spent together as we worked with these many issues. Nevertheless many felt the relief of coming together to begin this process of speaking and being heard – and of truly hearing another, and the transformation that comes from that.

As a follow-up, Bill Sutton on his return from Mexico will be sending more in-depth information on what the SFC organization is up to in serving and providing support for the community.

Our deep thanks go to all who attended.

We hope that there will be other forums offered so that the process can continue.

Many of you were asking for a report on the Forum. You’ll find in this newsletter writings from Maria Quintana, Christine Staub, Chris Griffin and Nicole Colvin that we hope will give you a feel for the day.



Sep 102014

mariaBy Maria Quintana. 

The community forum to me was a deep experience of connecting more with people in a safe space – or at least that intention was proposed by Gary and endorsed by me.  The most important things to me that were shared were our emotions and a safe space to listen to each other.  What was said cannot be put into an email or words.  The experience goes beyond words and has to do with connection, which requires being together physically in the same space and opening to each other with guidance from the Process Work Institute facilitator.  I feel a seed was planted and if we continue to get together in a safe space with help, a much deeper and long lasting connection can grow between all of us.

I am so grateful for ALL the people who showed up and opened a door to a rich emotional experience and learning.  There was so much COURAGE and love brought forth.  So much sadness and anger and compassion.  I am really grateful to Gary from the Global Process Institute who is teaching me about some blindness I have.

We need each other to do this work and to continue to grow and learn in a way that can benefit the next generations.  I believe the Dalai Lama has said your enemy is your best teacher.



Sep 102014

Christine-Staub-picAs witnessed by Christine Staub, SFC fire keeper.

On August 30, fifty-six of us from near and far answered an inner calling and gathered around the Brookfield, Massachusetts hearth to participate in the first Sacred Fire Community-sponsored forum to explore issues of gender, authority and power. The circle of those present gathered around a hearth in the middle of a forest of tall oaks, maple, birch, and pine. Dappled sunlight filtered down and gentle warm winds spoke through the rustling leaves. A diversity of voices from within as well as new to the Sacred Fire Community represented the many others who would have liked to attend. As the fire was consecrated, the energetic container that held us in our earnest work became palpable.

The forum was skillfully led by Gary Reiss, a senior Global Process Institute (GPI) facilitator. Gary travels worldwide to lead community forums on topical and often contentious issues, facilitating conflict resolution and organizational development. Gary is much appreciated and respected by SFC Firekeepers who have since 2007 been guided by GPI faculty in the practice of “Dancing with Emotions”.

As part of setting the stage for the day, Gary told us that for every gathered group, there are four levels of orientation to consider. These include personal, relationship with others, the group itself and the world. There is an interrelationship between these different levels such that work at any level can touch the whole. Similarly, as the group began calling out its concerns and as major themes became clear, Gary noted that it wouldn’t really matter which door we entered; all would lead to the center, to the (transformational) presence of Fire. Of note, Grandfather Fire has called himself both the “original Process Worker” and the actual “founder” of the Sacred Fire Community. (Asheville, NC. 8/23/ 2014).   In the language of Process Work, as our group gathered we had become a “landing field” for Fire to help dissolve misunderstandings and projections, provide wisdom and teachings, and help make clear where procedures and approaches might need to be changed. In this way, every individual present, no matter their rank or role and no matter their mode of expression, would be in service to the work of Fire.

The major themes that emerged through the sorting process revolved around the use of authority, gender,communication, trust/safety and a mutual longing for the experience of heart-centered relationships. As the group process began, it was pointed out that a major confusion has resulted because there are several sub-groups (spiritual traditions), which are strongly represented within today’s Sacred Fire Community. Many of the lineage holders of these traditions have been a passionate part of the birth and early growth of the Sacred Fire Community. As the day progressed it became increasingly clear that internal and otherwise private issues within the rigors of various path groups could lead to disruption of relationships to and within the Sacred Fire Community.

Opening statements were quickly followed by a strong emotion of grief within the field, a sense of being “heartbroken” that well-loved and well-respected members of the SFC are no longer communicating with each other or have left the community.

At this point we entered a period of deeper process work. Within this, there were courageous expressions from new and old community members, elders of path groups, and position holders in the SFC organization. There is not a good way to represent the depth of process that was undertaken beyond saying that we heard voices of fear, anger, remorse and grief, and the heart-felt longing to be of service. People made it clear they looked to the SFC to provide a safe space for soul searching and authentic expression to occur, and this was whole-heartedly seconded by all those present, including those in leadership roles. (It could be said this forum was intended to provide exactly that.) Similarly, we heard the longing for deeper connection, respect and value recognition from voices on many “sides” around the circle. There were important moments of resolution, expressions of gratitude and common heart, each a welcome foundation upon which to continue to explore, learn and grow.

During the day a request was made to understand the structure of the organization that we call SFC and to receive clarity about how to give effective feedback. The Firekeepers were named as one of the appropriate conduits for this communication.

The afternoon also saw some personal relationship process work and demonstrated different styles of sensing and communicating in the world, which could be called intellectual, emotional and kinesthetic. Gary led us in a closing integration exercise to help us ground our individual perception of masculine and feminine forces in the world, as well as the balanced expression of both, by using sound, movement and visualization of elements of Nature.

Gratitude was expressed all around and especially to our hosts, Tim Simon and Gwen Broz and to their hamlet members, as well as to the anonymous donors who had underwritten the bulk of the cost for this Forum. Bill Sutton, SFC Executive Director, confirmed that the SFC organization is hearing the longing from the community for such forums, and is working to see how more of these can be planned. He invites our ideas about how to raise funds to make these happen and keep them affordable for all interested participants. Gary pointed out that given the issues we had listed, it would normally take 3-5 days to work through to next step resolutions, and that our group had nevertheless made a rapid and deep dive in search of Common Heart.

Let us hope that TOGETHER we can tend the precious embers of new understandings to successfully grow the Sacred Fire Community. Humanity and all our Relations just might depend on it.



Sep 102014

ChrisBy Chris Griffin. 

I am really happy that the Community Forum happened.  While I didn’t speak up that much at it, I saw many other people voicing my exact concerns, in some cases more eloquently that I would have.

Everyone was listened to.  While not everything was acknowledged, I am satisfied that the leadership in the Community is listening.   We pledged confidentiality about what was spoken and so I won’t go into details.

But I will say that I think the Sacred Fire Community needs to have better communication with the “membership” (I put that in quotes because there is no explicit membership, anyone who attends fires may self-identify as a member).   Communication is a two-way street, it’s up to us to ask for what we need, what we want, what we feel is missing.  One channel for this communication is your firekeeper.   Another channel is the SFC’s yahoo group.   Write to if you would like to join that.

It looks like there will be more of these events, and I would encourage anyone to attend.   I felt that Gary Reiss from the Global Process Institute held the space and facilitated beautifully.  This was a beginning and I can see that it brought about greater understanding, expression, sharing and movement in areas that have been stuck.



Sep 102014

nicoleBy Nicole Colvin. 

I would like to share a bit about my experience at the recent forum which occurred…

(Items in quotes are from notes taken in 2011 during a Nonviolent Communications training)

Amazing openings happen when people are coming from a place of universal human needs

I felt both a powerful and a subtle shift occurred at this forum when people spoke their truth-     … deep listening.

The purpose of this system is to create connection

It was clear to me that there is so much love in our greater community.

That we want to hold space for each other with care, integrity and respect.

We love each other.


What is it in the message that is singing?”

“What is beautifully singing through the words?

Through the eyes, the tears, the passionate heart felt words-

Love.  Connection.



“One of my (Nicole’s) needs is for others to be held with care and to be heard.”

I heard a deep call to honor my truth and to speak out, to speak to the place where things were still alive in the field for my sisters, and to tend to them, rather than walk away… Heart pounding, emotion flowing, sitting in the fire, truth sharing.

It was met and received.  A dance of heart happened where everything changed in a moment.

A new seed was planted.

That brings so much hope

For all of us.



Aug 162014


Date: Saturday, August 30th, 2014 
Brookfield, Massachusetts

As a spiritual community grows, issues will inevitably arise that are influenced from the culture of imbalance in which we find ourselves. These can show up as conflict, distrust, accusation, and blame. Even groups of very like-minded people can find themselves suddenly polarized in hidden or open dispute despite their heart-felt intent to work toward common cause. Our community is no different as we endeavor to bring Grandfather’s work of fire and heart to the world. 

We have recently heard of conflict toward elders who play direct and indirect roles in the Sacred Fire Community triggering emotions around the subjects of authority, gender and trustworthiness. In traditional villages when such conflicts arose, people would gather around a sacred fire to speak their mind, listen to their mutual heart and explore their fears and misunderstandings in an effort to restore clarity, openness and resolution. 

As an international community organization it is our mission to support the restoration of heart perspectives as a way of living in the world. We see a great opportunity in the timing of this situation to explore these subjects, and it is with this intention that we are hosting a Forum on August 30th to engage each other in the hope that openness, understanding and growth can be achieved for ourselves and our expanding community. 

This forum will be open to anyone in or related to the community with concerns or interest regarding the topics mentioned above. We have engaged Global Process Institute, an internationally recognized facilitation organization, who will be sending Gary Reiss to guide the process. Gary brings extensive experience as an international facilitator with a diverse range of organizations and groups. He has provided regular facilitation in the Middle East and around the world, working with issues such as racism, sexual identity, environmental concerns and conflict. We have also invited the Elder Council of the Marakate medicine group — David Wiley, Deanna Jenné, and Eliot Cowan — who have committed to participate as well. 

The forum will take place at the hearth of Tim Simon and Gwen Broz in Brookfield, Massachusetts, with a morning session from 10 am to 1 pm, and an afternoon session from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm, taking short breaks as needed. 

This is a wonderful opportunity to have your voice heard in the presence of fire and community as we mutually undertake a process of deep exploration and learning around these issues that are so central to our times. We are asking for a small donation of $15 at the door to help offset some of the expenses. If you wish to give more in support of events such as this, your contribution will also be welcomed. 

If you plan to attend, please send an email to Joanne Rothstein (, so we can plan appropriately for the group size. An email with directions and logistical information will be sent to you separately when you RSVP. 

With gratitude for your participation as we learn and grow together in community, 

Bill Sutton, Executive Director 
Annie King, Fire Chief 
Sacred Fire Community

Aug 122014
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May 202014

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Apr 172014

droughtBy Jonathan Merritt

Driving down from Portland in late March to the spring pilgrimage camp, I saw how California had withered in its three year drought. The north part of Shasta Lake, the largest reservoir in California, was only a narrow river. After the driest year on record, it was 120 feet below normal levels. As I drove across the north bank of San Francisco Bay, the reeds of the wetlands were gone and the bushes and grasses were grey and brown tinder. The stream that runs through camp was silent, nearly still.

The forecast for our ten days was for two days of light rain, then warm and sunny—great for camping, but terrible for the devastated land.It was a small camp, only eleven people. We unloaded the truck, set up the canopies, pitched our tents and lit the fires. There was a public audience with Grandfather Fire the second night. About twenty people showed up.

After Grandfather Fire came in, the first question was about the drought. Grandfather told a story of the Miwok, the local native people renowned for their peacefulness. He talked about how, despite the rich abundance of the land, they became greedy and began fighting over hunting and fishing grounds, over the stands of black oak that provided acorns vital to their sustenance. They turned their hunting arrows and fishing spears into weapons and the clans warred against each other. In their fighting, they forgot the ceremonies that honor the spirits of the land. The weather beings, the sacred mountains, the spirits of the forests, rivers and springs were displeased. Great Grandmother Ocean became angry. The gods began withholding the blessing of rain.

At first, the dry sunny weather only increased their fighting. But, eventually, the people began to suffer. And, finally, the black oak withheld its bounty of acorns, the root crops and berries withered and the salmon could not run up the dried streams. The people began to starve. Something needed to change. The medicine people from the various clans gathered in a great council on the sacred island we call Alcatraz. They agreed that the only option was to make peace, to renew the ceremonies, to beg the gods for rain. In every village, the sacred fires were lit and the offerings given. And the gods saw that the people had changed. The blessed rains returned, peace and abundance again reigned over the land.

As a follow up, someone asked what our people could do to break the drought. Grandfather spoke about how, though we are not warring against each other, we live in a time of great separation and fear, how that fear leads to greed and greed leads to taking ever more and more. He spoke of the hubris of those who had amassed great wealth, how they imagined that their cleverness, their innate superiority had enriched them and not the natural prosperity of the land. He spoke of how the common people suffered, but lacking guidance and perspective, they could only engage in separation and fear.

The solution, Grandfather said, is very simple. The people need to look up to the sky and begin to recognize the livingness of that great sacred being and the livingness of the passing clouds, to look at the divine livingness of the mountains, the forests and streams, to look out at the vast ocean, the source of all weather. And, when they see that livingness, to let go of their fear and to ask with open hearts for the blessing of rain. The gods are waiting, he said. They will respond.

We continued the camp, keeping the fires, making offerings, practicing our songs and prayers, journeying to the sacred places, enjoying the fellowship of pilgrims and the opportunity to engage with the divine. It rained every day, sometimes torrentially with strong winds. On the night before we made the pilgrimage to Grandmother Ocean, Grandfather Fire returned. He said that the rains had returned in response to our pilgrimage, to the kept fires, the prayers and songs, the attention paid to the Divine. Listen to the stream, He said. It is singing again. Do you see how simple it is? The gods are waiting. They will respond.

Leaving camp, I drove across the bay and saw that the wetlands were full, that while the brown and grey was still there, there was, beneath it, the vibrant green of new growth. At home, I read that the water level of Shasta Lake had risen twenty-two feet. I feel humbled and so grateful that this great blessing was brought to the land.

When we come to the fire, we engage the sacredness of the living world in a simple, but very direct way. Bring your concerns and prayers, your laughter and songs. By offering them at the fire, we open the doors to connection which are the antidote to the separation and fear that is destroying our world. There are no technological solutions. The gods are waiting. They will respond.

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

Read Jonathan’s previous article “Sitting in Audience with Grandfather Fire.”

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

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


Apr 172014

Prayer_smallBy Jane Jackson

A few weeks ago, Sherry Morgan came to Denver to teach Exploring The Core Basis of Prayer. I had invited her although I really had little idea as to what I was getting into by doing this. Along with five other participants, I began on a Friday afternoon in Feb. I told myself, “This is to be an experience.  This is to open you up to a way of being that you may not have considered.”

And so it was.  The first two days were  spent learning how to quiet the mind, pay attention without story or chatter, relate with and journey deeply to members of the Natural World.

As each experiential segment finished, we spoke of our experience, not our ideas about it.  That was the hard part, because we all wanted to explain what we had felt, not recognize the feeling.  Sherry was incredibly patient with our fumbling around the feeling words. But we got better with it, and by Sunday, we had time to see what all this had to do with Prayer.  Each of us left with our own personal resolve, our own awareness of what we had just done, but there was a sense that we had all been changed by the experience.  The quiet of those three days was a blessing and those who were fortunate enough to stay in quiet places at night really appreciated the lack of distraction.

This was a retreat of the most fundamental kind.  It gave us what we needed to pursue our own practice of connecting more deeply in our prayers.  Annie Lamont has a title for a book on prayer,” Please, Thank you and Wow.”
This class is about the Wow.

I am hoping that its sequel will be available soon!
I cannot say precisely what happened to each of us during those three days, and that is a good thing!

To find out more about Lifeways Exploring The Core Basis of Prayer contact Sherry Morgan using the form below.

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Mar 202014

6474463759_c6befb22ac_oExperiencing the sacred is about connecting with something much larger than ourselves. The Sacred Fire Community is a global network of people bringing a sense of the sacred back into our world. Operating locally, through gatherings in the presence of Fire, we learn, grow and open to the Great Mystery in which we all participate.

Why Fire?

The element of Fire is the essence of our hearts…the source of spiritual connection and compassion. Acknowledged throughout humanity’s history, Fire holds our deepest knowing and wisdom, and awakens our personal relationship with the Divine.

Why Fire Now?

In these times of uncertainty and rapid change, it is common to feel increasingly disconnected from ourselves, each other, and the world. ❖ As the energy of transformation, Fire is a primordial healing presence in our lives. In the natural world, Fire burns away deadwood and decay allowing forests to be reborn into lushness. Likewise, our hearts long to burn away fear and worn-out patterns, allowing us a fresh start to rebuild life-sustaining connections.

The Sacred Fire Community offers over 60 monthly community fires. Find your fire.

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