The Story of Humans and Sacred Fire
When we gather in this way people ask an important question: What is at the heart of this event that involves Fire?
To answer that I want to share a simple but important story with you today. In a way it’s a story as old as we are as human beings, as people who have been here for a long time. It starts in the distant past, where the life and experiences that we all share began.
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, and other spiritual paths. 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 and is 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 developed a relationship with fire. Through the gift of fire we now had light in the darkness, and warmth in the cold. How and what we ate changed as we began to cook our food. Amazingly, this presence was much more than utilitarian.
We gathered together in circle and found ourselves with the capacity to see the world in a different way than the rest of creation. Instead of living only in the immediate flow of the world like the rest, 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. This “mind” that we found ourselves with is endlessly creative as a tool that can be applied to many practical situation.
This mind changed our world forever. We built many types of shelter. We made clothing, hunted with implements, grew crops and organized ourselves in fruitful ways; not only allowing us to survive, but to thrive through methods the other