Fire Ceremony Talk, March, 2016, 16 day Gathering at White Lotus.
We asked for a ceremonial atmosphere because, unfortunately, it’s all too rare in our modern world that we find ourselves sitting with a group of yogis around and ancient, sacred fire, by flowing mountain waters, the wind bath through the trees, the celestial bath above, serenaded by frogs, crickets and cicadas. Meditating on fire is one of the most potent meditations. It’s potent in the sense of creating benefit, insight, self-knowledge. It’s all in the fire. The yogis called fire a doorway—between the physical and the non-physical, between light and dark, tangible and intangible, life and death. We’re born through sexual fire, and we live through the fire of digestion, cooking and electricity. We leave the physical plane through the funeral fire. Whether you slow the funeral fire down or go directly through it, fire takes back and releases its elements.
One of the things we’ve learned from science is that we are made of earth, water, fire, gas, sound, information, and cosmic energy. We are the dance of those things watching themselves in the dance and also in the dance of the fire—we are self reflecting, cosmic intelligence. Our ceremony is an alchemical combination of East Indian, American Indian, Hopi and hippie. Fire meditation, fire circles, drumming, and music are most probably the most ancient form of ceremony. So enjoy being bathed in the earth energies as you sit with the huge boulders here, enjoy the waters, the sounds of the flowing water, the bath and sounds of the dancing fire, the sounds of the creatures of the night, the wind, the waters, the voices, and drums. And, we sit enveloped in the celestial light of the stars and galaxies.
One of the things we point out at these fire circles is looking deeper into things, instead of merely seeing a campfire. We’re seeing the light of the sun, but really light from combined earth, sun, air and mystery. The trees we’re burning built themselves from sunlight, water, air and earth. We take a mighty tree and reduce it to a small handful of ash. The rest of it was combined water, air, light and information. When we look across the circle and see others, we are seeing them by dancing light waves and we're hearing by vibrating molecules. What’s less obvious, even astounding, is that all these waves, vibrations, and energy conduits of information are simultaneously passing through each other in a vast, chaotic quantum soup emerging untouched. Right here where we sit are numerous layers of sound, light, energies, music, radio and TV shows, all within the space where we sit. With the right attention or instrument you can tune into any of them. ... And we’re searching for miracles?
Fire is the doorway into and out of life and the force of living. It took us, humanity, millennia to see and understand these many frequencies, layers and levels. It’s wonderful to be able to be here around the fire with all of you and we thank you for making it possible by coming to White Lotus.
Words from participants:
Sven: I want to honor, in the Native American tradition, to acknowledge our ancestors—those people who contributed to and enhanced our lives, and got us here. To all our relations and loved ones: Blessing and thanks. And to the fire, and what it represents--energy and transformation, as you all have shown in your practice and presence. Energy, sound, light, smoke. Let us continue the fire in all of us.
2: With gratitude, with reverence and heart opening. Earth, fire and water, return.
3: At home, preparing for this retreat, I read Yoga Beyond Belief. It made a lot of sense and I feel I took the right course for the right reasons. But something in the book didn’t really hit home till this week here. We can’t learn to fly by following another’s tracks in the sand. We must find our own wings and soar. In time we will all soar.
4: It’s an honor and privilege to be here with all of you. Every person I met here is warm and genuine—an experience I don’t have every day. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I came here. I’m not a flow or vinyasa person but I am learning so much more about yoga than I ever could have imagined and in such a supportive caring environment. I feel deeply grateful just to be here.
5: I am so happy to be here. Yesterday was the hardest day yet here for me. This morning was one of the best four hours of my life. I spend the last 20 years looking for the spiritual release that I received. Thank you.
6: I feel the beauty all around me everyday in this place but especially now, around the fire, on your faces. Everyone is glowing and happy. Fire ceremony is amazing and I’m going to hold one at my house when I get home. Thank you for opening this land to us and teaching us everything you know. It’s been incredible to learn from you all instead of just from some guy where I live. You all have taught me so much about myself. Every night I ‘ve had amazing dreams, with spirit in my dreams and things from my past where I’ve been bogged down. And I feel like I’m moving and opening to new possibilities.