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Something Essential

By Jonathan Merritt, Sacred Fire Portland, Oregon

We recently asked Sacred Fire Contributing Editor Jonathan Merritt to share his experiences with Grandfather Fire. He came back with a beautiful poem that we would like to share with you.

Grandfather Fire granted us three audiences during a recent gathering in Northern California. He spoke of many subjects, patiently addressing our questions, speaking to our hearts. The wisdom shared inspired the following poem...

The Gift of Grief: Honoring Loss, Opening to Peace

by Prema Sheerin, Sacred Fire Asheville, North Carolina

A well-tended garden has a balance of the essential elements: fire, earth, water, air and growth. In this, the fourth in a series of five articles, traditional healer Prema Sheerin continues to reveal the vital energies and gifts of each of the ‘elemental emotions’ that, similarly, are meant to provide for a healthy ecosystem in every human being. These elemental emotions are happiness, fear, anger, sympathy and grief. This article addresses grief, which is traditionally associated with the season of autumn.

As we enter the season of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, we feel the poignancy of the fading light, the waning warmth and brilliance of summer. It is a good time to explore the emotion of grief, the energy that supports us in letting go and navigating the many losses and transitions of life. Like the rain that comes to cool the heat of summer, grief provides the nourishing moisture that allows us to process and heal the losses we inevitably encounter.

When Men Gather: The Gift of Elders

Don David Wiley recently shared his perspective on the importance of men coming together in the presence of an elder or elders, those who have important, embodied wisdom to share for the benefit of future generations. Here is what he had to say:

The problem in the masculine is that when we, as men, get nervous, we tend to hide out. We have this sense that we are going to figure it all out by ourselves because we want to feel capable in the eyes of others and don’t want to show this vulnerability in public. Yet if you are not able to see what is in the way, then how can you effectively change it? Most times what’s not being seen isn’t obvious. As an example, your mind has unseen blindness to its own nature much less being able to see the nature of situations confronting you. Therefore in order to be effective in the face of this condition, which can drive you further into your head, you need to reverse directions and come out rather than going in. Yes, you can read some articles, book or web posting, but that’s just information. What you need is real human interaction with others, particularly other men, who are successful problem solvers in the area you’re trying to work through.

So why is this? Why can’t we just go look something up and “know it” whenever we need to “know it”? This idea of “knowing”, or at least being seen as “smart” is important to men since the nature of the masculine drives a desire to create effective action. This prioritizes mind-cognitive perception over emotional perception. In contrast the feminine prioritizes emotional perception, which many people tend not to associate with perception. (As a side note, it actually is and arguably can be more valuable than thinking.) We need to connect both thinking and emotional perception in order to “know” or “learn” about what’s important in life and how it works in 3D. Generating this requires more than just being in your head. You need a setting and the right situation for this to work. Indigenous Peoples with intact, longstanding cultural traditions understand this reality. That has been the role for elders whose wisdom, coming from years of cumulatively learned and earned life experience, is modeled and thereby transferred. If it isn’t transferred, it gets lost and needs to be regained through years of struggle and study. Therefore there is a need to pass these powerful insights on to others for the benefit of future generations.

In order to produce this capacity to live well and walk in the world in a soul-connected way, a social process is required. Like the wise indigenous cultures that have been around for quite some time have learned, it requires being with each other, as men, exploring, deepening and reinforcing this growth in perception and perspective through the support of an elder or elders. You gain something in that setting, then you move back into daily life as your classroom. You go through your challenges – societal, interpersonal, internal challenges - you engage with them and then you cycle back to this experience with other men, again led by an elder or elders who can help take things apart and continue establishing effective life approaches. It’s something that requires help. This is natural. There is nothing wrong; you are not defective or bad. This is just the way it’s done. So, taught by my elders and path and the way of Spirit, I offer it because it works and I want to see men strong and successful. That’s what Ukilái is about.

Ukilái, a Gathering of Men led by Don David Wiley is sponsored by the Sacred Fire Community. The next one is coming up January 17-21, 2019.

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Gathering Blessings: Experiencing Divine

An interview with Sherry Morgan.

Cedar trees don’t wonder if they ought to shed their leaves in winter. The fox doesn’t wonder if it should be a beaver. The clouds don’t wonder whether they should let the wind carry them. But we humans question everything...Prayer can help a lot in discovering that we’re not alone and that there is much help for us to access our authentic expression and the unique gifts we came here to learn about and to offer.

The Divine Mystery of Corn

On August 25, 2018, at a Fire Speaks event in New Freedom, Pennsylvania, USA, we will request Grandfather Fire to tell us the Sacred Story of Corn. We hope this post intrigues you and inspires you to join us for this unique opportunity.

Sacred stories are passed down through the ages to help humans remember timeless wisdom that promotes living in a heart-centered way. Such ancient lessons speak to the danger of allowing ego-mind to lead the way, and highlight the acts of courage and compassion that restore balance, harmony, and joy. Today’s conversations about social, environmental, and political issues would do well to take into consideration the teachings contained in these sacred stories.

Many of the original traditions from the Americas tell sacred stories about how Corn came to the people and how to engage with it for the benefit of society. Whether we take these stories as fact or as parable, such tales contain valuable lessons that guide us to stay on track, and to live in a heart-centered way, recognizing that our very survival is deeply bound to the health of the living world.

El Año del Perro de Tierra: Lealtad, energía nutricia y energía de comunidad

Por Ana Cortés, Fuego Sagrado de Tepoztlán

“Van a disfrutar este año...,” dijo el Abuelo al iniciar sus enseñanzas, y añadió: “...pero necesitan entender la diferencia entre el año del Ave de Fuego y el año del Perro de Tierra.” A medida que el abuelo continuó, quienes lo escuchamos, entendimos que hay una diferencia sumamente fuerte entre ambas energías. Para ayudarnos a comprender esto, el abuelo recurrió a la metáfora de ir navegando por un río que tiene características cambiantes y tener consciencia de que es necesario cambiar también la navegación de manera acorde para mantenernos fluyendo y alineados y con su cauce.

The Earth Dog Year: For the Good of All

By Ana Cortés, Sacred Fire Tepoztlán (Mexico)

“You are going to enjoy this year,” I heard Grandfather Fire say, “but you need to understand the difference between the year of the Fire Bird and the Earth Dog year.”

As Grandfather continued, those of us gathered for this very special audience learned that the difference in energy between last year and this year would be dramatic.

When the Earth Trembles and Burns

By Jeff Suwak, Sacred Fire Olympia

Erica Cohen was just wrapping up work in her garden when the earthquake started. She wasn't concerned at first. Tremors are common in her Mexican town, and they generally pass with relatively little fanfare. The shaking didn't stop this time, however. It got stronger. Something was different. She could sense it. That's when things got scary.

As the earthquake intensified, Erica tried to get farther away from her house to make sure it didn't fall on her, but the ground turned to jello beneath her feet. She could only struggle to stay standing as the world thrashed around her. Subsequent reports indicated the event lasted about 20 seconds. For Erica, it felt like a lifetime.

Grief and the Courage to Let Go

by Prema Sheerin, Sacred Fire Asheville, NC, USA

In this fourth article in a series of five, traditional healer and Sacred Fire Community Lifeways provider Prema Sheerin continues her exploration of the five "elemental" emotions that are a natural part of the human experience.

Like the rain that comes to cool the heat of summer, grief (which is associated with the season of autumn) provides nourishing moisture that allows us to process and heal the losses we will inevitably encounter. In our modern western culture we have become obsessed with happiness and we have shunned the emotion of grief, believing that it is ‘negative’ and ‘depressing’. We apologize for our tears and sadness, thinking that we are ‘bringing everyone down’. A vast polarity has been created between sadness and happiness and we see happiness as being the desired outcome, a place to arrive and stay. We have forgotten that happiness, like all elemental emotions, will arise and then subside to make way for the next feeling that will swell in response to the circumstances of our lives.

Best Insurance for Natural Disasters

by Christine Staub, Sacred Fire Greensboro

Record-breaking storms, floods, fires and earthquakes have been much in the news lately – no corner of the world is immune to such natural disasters. For those most seriously affected, the impact is devastating. The comfort and refuge of “home” and of a particular way of life is often completely stripped away. What is the best insurance policy to cover this kind of tragedy?

The answer may be surprising. It does not have the name of a major insurance company. Money in the bank is helpful but does not cover the extreme, unaccustomed emotional turmoil. When fresh water, food supply, transportation and communication channels are down, victims may have to evacuate homes and neighborhoods for unspecified periods of time. Government and aid organizations may be slow to bring in help.

So what is the best insurance policy for natural disasters?

A Dose of Honest Sympathy

by Prema Sheerin, Asheville, NC, USA As the days shorten in the Northern Hemisphere, we move into...

The Year of the Fire Bird

By Ana Cortes, Sacred Fire Tepoztlán On March 4, 2017, Grandfather Fire granted an audience to the...

Sparks: Coming Soon

Around the Fire

Around the Fire is the newsletter of the Sacred Fire Community and is published once or twice a month as needed.

If you’re new to Sacred Fire, here are three ways to learn more:

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Around the Fire is published by the Sacred Fire Outreach team:

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Erin Everett
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