Tribal Firewalk

It was a gentle grey day when we met by the central fire. We talked about our connection to the earth. I assured everyone that we would be doing the workshop even if it rained; firewalks are very beautiful in the rain. We widened the circular firepit and placed mounds of earth in each of the directional points. Despite the rain the turf was tough to remove. Our hands got muddy and wet, the earth smelt salty. We talked of the elementals and the Kings, Ghob of earth, Paralder of air, Nixa of water, and Djinn of fire. Some of us walked barefoot over the damp earth in the firepit.

Max and Charlie built an impressive pyre and stood back for us to light it. We lit the fire with the Brigid Flame, the flame of divine love. This flame was kindled in 2005 in Avalon, it is kept at the White Spring and by other keepers of the flame. I didn’t expect it to be there. It was brought the previous day by Gill, founder of the White Spring sanctuary. Beautiful synchronicity. We watched as the flames grew, lit up and warmed our faces. When it was too hot we went back to the yurt.

I talked of the Kalahari Kung shamans who walked the fire for the healing of their community. Steph, a good friend and shaman in her own right, told me that she had met with a Bushwoman from Kalahari ten years ago. She had come to the UK to spread the message that we had forgotten our sacred relationship with the fire!! I was all goosebumps. Then, Steph said ‘ I have some ash from the tribal fire we sat around, would you like me to get some?’ Oh My! Did I? of course! She went to get the ash and brought it to offer to the fire. It was offered into the flickering flames and a wave of euphoria came over me. We took a moment in silence. A moment out of time.

Friends, family, drummers, children, the whole community gathered around the central fire and waited whilst we prepared. The workshop was playful and fun. The group fantastic and focussed with pure intent. We placed our twigs in the fire, representing what we wished to let go of. When it came to the time of the firewalk, the drums started and we danced around the fire. The coals flickered, light shimmering across the surface of the circular coalbed. It felt like the surface of the sun. I had visions of the African tribal shamans dancing round and round the fire, all night until the coals were ready for their initiation. We stomped and danced around the fire until we were ready. Then the firewalk was open. One walked first, then another, then another. Walking from all directions. Attentive, aware of the whole group, we looked for our window of opportunity and walked. A few participants had told me they had no intention of firewalking, they did, all but one, walk the hot coals. We celebrated them, and equally the man who chose not to. A powerful choice.

We stopped and asked for silence and the cloudy sky gave way to let the white moon shine on us. We could have been any place, any time. Complete silence, so profound, each had their own personal firewalk. Not a sound from the witnesses. The world stood still as we took our own moment of power through the flames. Emotions began to swell, some of the audience shed tears of joy. We stood strong and silent around the coalbed.

After the silence, several people wanted to walk again. The firewalk erupted into a playful and ecstatic dance. Some walked fast, some slow. We almost walked the firebed out. A few glimmering coals were left, but the firebed was still very hot. Some of us walked directly on the coals that still glowed orange, seeking out the hottest part of the fire. We joyfully crossed the coals, hugging our companions and friends and celebrating what we had all shared. I give thanks for all the joyful participants, for the land, for the spirit of the Kalahari Kung Bushmen, for the elementals, the audience, the Divine Spirit and all who carefully supported us.

Fire has power, it changes everything it touches. This fire created a tribal unity. It created transformation. It was a celebration of our remembering. Remember the sacred relationship we have with the fire; let it create healing in our community and destroy our limitations. Let it touch our hearts and empower our spirits. Above all, let it awaken in us the flame of divine love.

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