The Story of Humans & Sacred Fire
In this story there is a natural, mysterious world that exists before humanity arrives. We see echoes of this story in the sacred narratives of the indigenous peoples, the Hindus, Buddhist, Christians and others. At one time we were just like the other animals, living in a primal wilderness like a garden of Eden, when something unusual happened that would change our way of life. In this story this “something” was our special relationship to Fire.
The Huichols, indigenous people of the northwestern Sierra Madres of Mexico, say that before fire, we moved in the world like the other animals. However, we didn’t have claws, fangs or wings. We didn’t run on all fours or live under the water. We didn’t have fur or hide like the others. We moved and roamed the land without shelter or center. Then something amazing happened. Fire arrived in our lives and we were forever changed. Through the gift of fire we now gathered together in circle, had light in the darkness, and warmth in the cold. How and what we ate changed as we began to cook our food. And yet, there was so much more to this presence than these practical benefits.
We found ourselves with “the mind”. Instead of living only in the immediate flow of the world like the rest of creation, we are able to ‘step back’ and reflect. For the first time, we could think about how to gather food or build a shelter. We could plan and coordinate our actions. We could think about how to do things differently or better. The mind is endlessly creative and can be applied to many practical situations. You might call it the ‘tool that creates all other tools.
This mind changed our world forever. We built many types of shelter. We made clothing, hunted with implements, grew crops and found ourselves creatively adaptive; not only allowing us to survive, but to thrive through methods the other animals did not have. But of course all gifts come at a cost, and we discovered through spirit what that would be. This gift produced a split from the mysterious living creation of the world, leaving us feeling separate from others and also blinding us about how to move in the world in a good way. That voice of the mind, sometimes called the ego, if left to its own agenda, can produce extraordinary suffering and destruction.
In this story we received five basic antidotes to the drawbacks of this gift. We were given:
Wisdom: To illuminate the natural blindness and selfishness of the mind and to show us how to better understand life, the world, each other and ourselves. To help us live a good life from what can be learned, earned and taught.
The Traditions: How we gather as people and community to hold this wisdom. How we work with wisdom as the ever unfolding mystery of life that produces change. How we preserving wisdom so that it can be passed on for future generations.
Specialized emotions: We were given to overcome the natural fear of the mind. We were given gratitude to honor what we receive. We were given humor and laughter so that the burden of our separation would be lightened. We were given grief in order to help us let go of loss.
Ceremony: Helps us transcend our sense of separation and feel more closely connected to the mystery of the world, unperceivable by our minds.
Keeping Fire: as the expression of heart, connection and transformation in order to keep us open when doubts and fear cloud our minds.
So, for thousands of years throughout the many lands, we lived and remained devoted to these gifts as we were born, lived, shared with to others, and passed from this world.
For a long time, the mind has given us great advantages, and it was balanced by the special gifts so that life could continue in a good way. Over time, the voice of the mind grew louder and that led to imbalance:
Wisdom was cast in doubt and later confused with information.
Cultures dedicated to living in wisdom were overrun, neglected and forgotten.
Emotions became misunderstood.
Ceremony was misjudged, unappreciated or forgotten, and
Fire became either feared or highly controlled.
Even in this time of great material and financial prosperity we feel increasing disconnection from ourselves, each other and the natural world. Our sense of purpose and meaning is fading, while confusion, distrust, arrogance and false knowing are rising in its place.
We are living in these times of confusion and imbalance.
Then, once again, something amazing happened. While living in the central highlands of Mexico a specter-like presence of an ancient Indigenous man, who we would later learn was the spirit of Fire, would appear to me/a man named David Wiley and once again offer to help. Since then, this divine expression, who is often called Grandfather Fire, has been gathering everyday people such as us), and providing guidance on how to move in life wisely, particularly in these difficult and changing times. From this we were inspired to form a community known as Sacred Fire …and we helped create a foundation known as the Sacred Fire Foundation to preserve the wisdom held and honored from those original Indigenous caretakers. And we developed a physical space in a beautiful natural setting for learning and healing in the ways of spirit, known as the Blue Deer Center.
As He did at the beginning, Grandfather Fire has once again appeared to help us in a time of difficulty and need–helping us balance the mind with the wisdom of the heart.