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Category: Features

Becoming an Adult in Today’s World

An interview with Sacred Fire attendee Olivia Woodford.

We asked Olivia Woodford to share some words of wisdom about the human journey, as it relates in particular to finding purpose and direction in life. In this interview, Olivia also speaks to her relationship with the Sacred Fire community, and how this helps her stay on the path of Heart.

Olivia, can you share with our readers, what is your compass in life?
I think my compass in life is, “Do I feel good?” And feeling good doesn’t necessarily mean being happy or even necessarily being relaxed, but I can feel when I am aligned. When I’m aligned, it’s like everything begins to move, or I feel like I am getting carried or being held, and so when I am aligned, I feel I am moving in relationship with life.  And so I look for that alignment.

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Standing in the Mystery, Bringing Forth New Life

Sacred initiation is a doorway for a young person to become an adult, plain and simple. If done in a good way, a person participating in this ritual will be truly transformed; they will never go back to being the same person they were before. What is it like for an initiate, moving forward into the world as an adult? In 2017, Cassandra Starks of Grand Junction, Colorado, USA stepped through the doorway of Sacred Fire Community’s young women’s initiation, called Sacred Emergence. She is now entering yet another phase of life: she is recently married and is becoming a mother! We caught up with her to ask a few questions.

Sacred Fire: Cassandra, who were you before initiation and what have you become because of it?

Cassandra: I don’t think much changed visibly on the outside after Sacred Emergence. I wore the same clothes, my hair, eyes and skin color were still the same. I didn’t lose or gain any weight. I looked the same. And yet I felt completely different. Something drastic within myself had shifted. I finally felt connected to myself in a way that I never was before. I had gained greater understanding of my values, gifts and passions, an incredible appreciation of what it truly means to be a woman, and was empowered by my emotions and feelings, rather than simply trying to avoid them. Showered with the love, support, wisdom and guidance of women, I began to grow a new understanding of myself and how to be in relationship with others and with the world as a human being.

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The Doorway to Adulthood: Sacred Initiation in Our Twenty-first Century World

by the Sacred Fire editorial team

In our modern cultures that seem to worship eternal youth—that state of being that gives us permission to be in constant pursuit of our individual pleasure and enjoyment—what will it take to help us grow up?

In today’s world, becoming an adult might seem to be about hitting a well-recognized milestone like receiving a driver’s license, voting for the first time, or reaching legal age for drinking alcohol. For others, the moment of stepping into the workforce, becoming a parent, or making a major investment in home or career might seem the significant step. However, for traditional cultures (and that includes most of the villages of our great-great- or great-great-great-grandparents), becoming an adult was a sacred matter. Initiation into adulthood was a universal human practice, common to most societies, and it is still practiced by intact traditional cultures to this day.

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The Gift of Community Fires

In the center, always, the dancing flames — mesmerizing, mysteriously renewing, inspiring and recalibrating the lives of the humans who are sharing their stories, successes and concerns; their laughter, tears and anger too. Slowly but surely, those gathered are remembering what it is to be in right relationship –- with each other, and with the other-than-human too.

See what Robin, Mark, Debbie, Carlos, Jenny, and Sally have to say about their experience attending Sacred Fire community fires. And if you have a Fire Story of your own, we’d love for you to share it with us.

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The Path to Firekeeping

Are you looking for great purpose, meaning and transformation in your life, while producing spiritual connection, community and help for others? Would you like to see conflict and polarity in people’s lives changed to heart and dialogue? If so, we invite you to explore stepping into the role of Sacred Fire Firekeeper.

In premodern cultures around the world, people recognized the otherworldly effect of sitting with Fire and its influence to open people in a way not easily understood. Beyond heat and light, the presence of Fire was revered for the way that it could produce emotional, mental and spiritual health for communities and individuals, when facilitated by someone who could see and work with Fire’s special gift. This ability, held by those in the role known as “firekeeper,” was cultivated and passed on through generations to particular people. Firekeepers would then be a common presence at gatherings, council and ceremony. Nowadays, this skill, which has been lost in our society, is being reintroduced with the help of Grandfather Fire, and through his relationship to traditions that are still familiar with this spiritual endowment given for humanity’s benefit.

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The Difficulty of Being Human

By Keith Baughman

Healing has at its core an aspect of accepting yourself. Acceptance at this level is layered and complex. Many weeks ago a phrase skipped across my thoughts: the difficulty of being human. Not only does it invert and energize the identifier of “human being,” it also undermines the deeply embedded notion in me that life should be easy and I’m just doing it wrong. As I continue to look through the lens of this phrase, my path to self-acceptance becomes clearer, and I begin to see that human difficulty is part of the natural order. It’s how we’re made, and we’re made this way for a reason.

Writing poetry is the mode or field where these internal conversations often get their first articulation. The difficulty of being human spilled onto a journal page one day without much to suggest its timely relevant weight. But as the days passed, and as I continued to journal, this phrase preoccupied my thoughts and ways of seeing the world within and around me. The following poem is an articulation of the permission, purpose and support this phrase has offered to my struggle to heal and accept myself.

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Women and Men in a World of Growing Conflict

by Sherry Boatright, Sacred Fire Carrollton, Georgia (USA)

Over the last two years, I’ve been glued to online news media. It has become altogether a questionable habit as I find myself moving from one unsettling story to the next. I’m working to get a grip. The upside, though, is that I’ve also discovered great writers and compelling studies about what’s going on in the world, from climate change to local and global politics, from women’s and men’s issues to health and family life.

Take kids for instance. Years ago, Carol Gilligan showed that girls up until age 9 or 10 are confident and expressive of their feelings. But as they move into adolescence, they begin to hide their feelings for fear of not fitting in.

Now my newsfeed tells me that boys are also born with a great talent for emotional openness, but that in adolescence they begin developing their manhood and differentiate themselves from girls.

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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.

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Are GPS and Air Conditioning the Zenith of Human Achievement?

by Jen Collins, Sacred Fire New Freedom, PA

Yes, of course they are! That is my first answer. GPS can get me anywhere. It’s a modern day miracle. It has successfully navigated me all through Scotland, and to new doctors’ offices, restaurants, stores…you get the picture.

If I then close up my car windows on the way to all these new places and turn on my air conditioning…well, it makes me feel like I really am doing something. I’ve got direction (ha-ha!), climate control, sound reduction, and time to myself. I’m all self-contained in my little metal box with a cozy chair, a tasty beverage and an audio experience of my choosing.

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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…

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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.

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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:

  1. Find a local Fire and experience it first hand.
  2. Visit our web site.
  3. Subscribe to Around the Fire and discover more about our deep community.
  4. Follow us on social media (see footer of page)

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

Director
Bill Sutton

Editorial Team
Christine Staub, lead
Erin Everett

Web Publisher
Britt Espinosa

Graphic Design
Malowany Creative
Sylvia Law
Sally Casper

Social Media
Erin Everett, lead
Abigail Murray-Nikkel

Database Administrator
Linda Felch

Event Support
Heidi Griswold

Infrastructure Manager
Chris Griffin

Web Design and Development
Primordial
Elegant Themes

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