Its been more than a year and a half of being called to the fire and I’m beginning to share what I have learned on this journey which started on a brutally cold February night in 2017. It was a low point in my experience, feeling great loss and confusion both within my personal life and also in the culture at large. I wanted a practice, some kind of ritual of self care that was significant enough to hold my attention, something to help me heal and also to deal with what felt like significant cultural trauma. I was heart broken and the United States appeared to be on a crash course with significant injury. I needed something to thaw the numbness and I began to build fires as often as I could, outside in the uncomfortable and freezing winter landscape of rural Vermont.
That is where this fire journey began.
The following June I began to learn about seven wisdom teachings during a week long journey in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It was on that journey that I began to understand my relationship to fire, the building and keeping of fire, the lessons it held and my responsibility to share what it had taught me. The fire had called me, and I had received the gift of its offerings, I began to understand it as a connection to being human, to myself, to my own nature, and to the spirit of nature.
Fire and 7 teachings seemed so simple and yet they were not at all simple. Courage, Love, Humility, Honesty, Respect, Wisdom and Truth…
2018, another year and another tragedy. Again in deep sadness, from my own selfish need and as an offering for all of the pain being experienced in that time, I set out in the icy cold landscape to build and strike a fire for Courage. I struck that fire for myself and for the world and from that first intentional fire, set as an offering and to deeply consider Courage, I knew I had began my seven fires journey.
The Courage fire led to the fire of Love, and then Humility, Honesty, Respect, Wisdom and finally Truth, in that order. Each fire taught me so much and still burns in my experience.
I offer these reflections on the fires and my learning of the 7 teachings, not as evidence of expertise of any kind but rather as seeds of ideas that might settle into the fertile soil of humanity, where perhaps we can return to the natural trajectory of life, return to our one nature and begin to rehumanize.
I am a commitment to fire and sharing its teachings.
~ My spirit name in Ojiibwe is Giniw Ode Ikwe, I received it at a naming ceremony at a sacred fire on the shore of the lake of dancing spirits, I was welcomed into this name surrounded by lady slippers at edge of Kitch-iti-kipi in the upper peninsula of Michigan.