In 1992 I was introduced to a native elder and he changed my perspectives about life and truths in amazing ways. I remember him saying that Christians believe miraculous stories out of the Bible, such as the burning bush, the parting of the Red Sea, the dead coming back to life, but they don’t expect miraculous things to happen in today’s world. I have pondered that comment for the past twenty-five years. During that time, I have immersed myself in shamanism and energy medicine, which dwells in the realities of miraculous norms much like the perspective of my indigenous elder. I have witnessed countless occurrences that boggle the mind and fall into unexplainable categories. The spectrum is vast in its “awe and wow” factors. Things that I now experience as normal still shock many acquaintances of mine when we chat and to me these are minor in comparison to the reality that I live. I experienced this the other day when I was sharing some photos on my phone with a friend and I came across photos of a fire walk.
To me fire walking is normal and something that I do regularly and I had forgotten that this is still not understandable to many. When my friend asked how do you do this, I realized there is a chasm of personal realities that separate us. I thought back to my first experience of fire-walking in 1994 to remind myself of how he must feel.
“Earth, my body,
Water, my blood,
Air, my breath,
And fire, my spirit.”
This tune rhythmically repeated over and over in my mind. The excitement and energy swirled around the others and me. I felt connected to nature, to the fire, and to my spirit allies. My bare feet were tingling from the immense amount of energy running through my body. I felt a force vibrating in my muscles and deep within my being.
I had participated in the building of the fire, embellishing each log with my prayers. I ignited the corn oil soaked logs and watched a blaze leap and dance fifteen feet into the air. We danced and sang for two hours as the heat intensified, burning the wood to its hottest point. I participated in raking the burning embers into the sculptured runway that we would walk across. My hands burned from the intense heat rising up from the sizzling wood and the rake handle grew hot to the touch. My face was flushed and hot, sweltering from the heat. The whole process brought me intimately close to the intensity of the heat, to the fire, and to the reality of my quest. I had become invested in the fire and felt a kinship with it.
As I stood there ready to walk, I called to my spirit allies and felt them swirling around me. I set my intention; it was simple and precise, “I am walking to the other side.”
I stood at the threshold of a moment of truth. The heat of the embers and the smell of the smoke intruded momentarily into my senses, but they seemed overwhelmed by the faith that had built within me. I found all the scientific laws I had learned to be replaced by the natural laws of the universe I had come to know. What was to prove true in this moment was not a part of the “truths” I had been taught by the world, but those I had been taught by Spirit.
When I raised my foot from the coolness of the dirt edging the pit, I did so without hesitation or trepidation. I had anticipated a test of wills between the fire and myself. I had expected to draw on my inner and physical strength to resist the intensity of the heat. It was to prove otherwise.
I stepped out onto the burning wood and started across. I was immediately surprised that I felt no heat on my feet; not just an absence of burning, but actually an absence of any heat at all. The only physical sensation was a hard, crunchy feeling as I placed each foot one before the other as I moved across the burning wood. I was not competing or resisting the fire—our strong spirits honored and respected each other. There was no contest of wills, only a merging of the fire’s powerful spirit with my own.
A fire capable of consuming flesh did not deny me. It invited and understood the changes in my soul—the vanishing of learned fears and the growth of courage and confidence. What the spirits had been teaching me about faith, about transcending physical law, about willingness, had just become a physical reality. Concepts became real and tangible and set into my cells as experience—unexplainable perhaps to the mental mind, but real just the same. The walk was exhilarating, an empowering journey without fear or pain. I made it to the other side.
My faith soared in the process. I was elated and high on life from what I had just done. I had to do it again. That night I went over the fire several times. With each experience, I built tremendous trust in the process. At the end of the night I was completely empowered.
I thought, “Just look at what I have done!”
I felt that anything was now within my grasp.
These feelings held true for everyone in my group. A buzz of conversation ensued. Everyone laughed easily and shared the excitement and sense of accomplishment. There was giddiness to the occasion—all earlier efforts at focus and preparation were now replaced by giggles and laughter. The energy remained high, but there was an almost audible release of tension. It was like moving from holding one’s breath to squeals of delight. The initial sense of apprehension was replaced by elation at having mastered one’s fear. All were ecstatic.
Fire-walking is about love, intention, willingness, and mystery. The outcomes of this experience were happiness, trust, faith, and empowerment. Not a bad set of results! Fire-walking is just one way the spirits have physically taught me that all things are possible. I learned firsthand that fire-walking cannot be explained by the rational mind, and to attempt to do so is a waste of energy. I also learned that intention and belief alter physical law, even the law that says, “Fire burns, fire kills, fire disfigures.”
The spirits again brought home the fact that we, as humans, are only limited by our own minds, our belief systems, and our fears.
Since this experience, Spirit has taught me much about manmade laws and physical laws. We need them to help us understand our world and to explain why things work the way they do. They provide a tremendous amount of safety to our frail humanness. However, when working with Spirit, we are capable of altering any of our frailties. Spirit is not limited by gravity, fire, the speed of light, time, or locality. All is possible. Belief in such feats is non-rational, requiring that one be able to move beyond rational thought to understand that the universal consciousness dwarfs our rational minds.
The Native Americans have a term that is used for Spirit, for All. They refer to the Great Mystery. It is a perfect expression. Spirit is a mystery and should stay that way. Some things are not to be explained. When we explain, we limit. When we believe in the Great Mystery, we see the possible in the impossible and understand that which cannot be explained. The rational mind limits possibilities, growth, discoveries—it limits you.
Spirit wants us to change from the question, “How can that be done?” to the statement, “I can do that.”