As Avalon becomes the Glass Isle once again , surrounded by early winter flood waters I am pausing to reflect on my year of fire walking. I’m feeling the pull back to stillness and the cave of memory. I sit by Grandmother Bears small hearth fire and I am warmed by the recollection of all the fire walks I have been honoured to create and hold space for.
It began in April with a small circle of women gathered in Glastonbury on a year’s journey to become fire Priestess', a training led by my Sister Priestess Katie Player. We met in woodland on the slopes of the Tor, an amazing space held by a small group of guardians including Marisa Picardo who supported me every step of the way in creating this fire. In the afternoon we called in the fire Goddess from around the world that the trainee Priestess had been working with, built the fire together and got to know the woodland more closely. Later on in the evening we were joined by Kai Rawnsley who was our amazing fire tender. We left the fire in his capable hands and went off to a smaller hearth fire to work creatively on our visions and speak them during the arrow break ceremony. This was a fairly fast fire so it was not long before we drummed our way in procession to a wonderful pile of hot coals ready for raking.. Then the fire dropped into a place of slow reverent stillness, we walked mostly in silence or with gentle singing, we spent ages raking the coals and just gazing into their magical depths whilst the full moon rose over the Tor. This was a fire of truly ancient deep quiet magic.
I spent the summer communicating with Charlotte Parker Hall who is part of North Devon Positive Living Group, and was inspired to create a fire walk after I gave a talk to them about my work. This fire walk was at Treyhill Farm near Biddeford in Devon, a beautiful working farm which also does weddings and glamping. I thoroughly recommend them as an event venue, great people and a stunning location. I arrived late morning and it took a while to decide where to locate the fire, so I began building later than I would have liked. This fire had also proved tricky for Charlotte in the organising, there were definitely tricksy fire pixies checking us out to see if we really wanted this fire.....and we did !. Charlottes passion for it won the day. Lucky for me Becky Johansson was to be my fire tender and she was a wonderful support and stepped up to help me build. A lovely group of people showed up in the early evening, we gathered in the barn to hold a candle ceremony before going out to light our fire We left the fire with Becky as the sky grew gloomy and returned to the barn for our workshop. This group created joyful songs, raised their voices in releasing their fears and did the arrow break ceremony. This fire burned very hot despite a steady evening drizzle. We came out onto the damp field and another amazing pile of coals despite the adverse weather - big thanks to Becky. This group sang their way over the coals late into the night.
The fire walking season ended in a very special way for me - a trip to Northern Italy for a fire walk organised by my Sister Priestess' Laura Ghiandia and Anna Bordin. This was to be a weekend event at the beautiful Malga Monte San Pietro close to the Dolomite mountains. It was my first experience of travelling to Europe alone for over 15 years, my first time working abroad and with a translator, I was very apprehensive. I also knew that once we began working on the fire, that, the fire would speak for itself, and of course it did. But more than that I felt completely held by my Italian Sisters from the moment I was picked up from the airport. The wood for this fire was local apple in very long slender lengths. It is a very commercial apple growing area, trees standing rigidly in great long lines in the wide valleys, so different from our orchards here on Avalon. I was so happy to see mountains covered in forests, something which is all too rare in my beloved Highlands, and knowing there somewhere out there a small bear population was roaming. We worked as a close group for this fire walk, eating together and sleeping in the same space afterwards. Anna kindly stepped in to be fire tender at the last minute as she was familiar with fire walking. This was an incredibly hot fire despite cold damp mountain conditions, it took quickly and was soon covered in leaping dancing dragons. The heart of this fire looked like a skeletal pile of bones....yes a powerful bone fire. It taught me so much about trust,I was worried that we wouldn’t have enough time to do the workshop, but of course the fire matched the needs of the group....they were so ready to surrender deeply and with passion to the process so that they were ready to walk in no time. For me this whole weekend was about finding strength in my vulnerability and trusting into a whole variety of new experiences. I came away with new confidence - have fire, will travel !
Looking forward to 2017 I would love to continue to broaden my journey with fire walking, travelling to new places, weaving fire into a wider variety of workshops and ceremonies, working with bigger and more diverse groups of people. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions and creative ideas for fire walking.