Transformation By Fire
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Article ID: 10147
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,099
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Posted: October 30th. 2005
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The year was 1971; there was a young man full of passion for a new way of life that he had never known. That man was me. I approached the fire bed with all the fear that was normal but I was sure that the rules I had learned about fire destroying were somehow going to be suspended. Yet the coals were glowing, hot enough to cook food and I was going to step into them and walk across them.
That man in my head, that was so good at the math, was screaming at me but the fire was gently calling. I first stepped out of myself; I embraced my spirit and told myself it was time. I stepped forward into the coals. I could feel my foot hit the soft coals and crunch like snow. It wasn’t cold like snow but it wasn’t burning me either. I stepped again and I remember stepping off the other end. I had walked the fire and remembered only that first step and the last.
Deb was there with her arms outstretched and I gladly hugged her. My feet were numb – they didn’t hurt but they didn’t not hurt. As the cold water washed my feet I began to feel them. They were cold and unhurt. They were wet and stinging from the water but not the fire. I was back in myself and I was fine. I walked across the hot coals and the fire had not hurt me. Then it hit me. I was changed. I was part of the fire’s transformative process. I was stronger than I had been. I made a choice to ignore my life’s training that fire was bad and I was okay. I chose to walk the fire, conquer the fear, I chose not life but I chose to live life. I remember her telling me that I was a powerful man. I remember that she was proud of me. I remember I was proud of me and scared because if I could walk on fire without harm – there was nothing I couldn’t do.
Fast forward to 2005, September 10th: I was 55 that day and I was building a fire. There were seventeen others helping. It was a bit more than twelve feet long and over three feet wide. The flames whipped over our heads and I spoke to the fire. This was not my fire even though I wanted to walk it with everything that was in me. I was told that this fire was for my students. This time I was Deb. Allowing my students to choose whether they would walk the fire or not. Would they choose to LIVE life or just choose safety?
I could tell that they had already been affected by the seminar. They were stronger, more introspective individuals. They were looking into the fire and themselves to see if it was their day to walk. The first student stood in front of the red bed of heat. She hesitated and then stepped away from the coals. The fire was calling but her fear was strong. It had been beaten into her with the years of emotional abuse.
She looked back at the fire and turned to face it. She had heard the call and approached the coals. She cautiously stepped onto the fire bed and stepped one foot in front of the other. Each step she took changed her face. It wasn’t pain but pride that was growing inside her. The fire was transforming her fear and guilt to strength and pride. She stepped off the bed of coals and into my arms. As they washed her feet with water she sobbed in my ear, “I did it! I did it!” and all I could say was, “I knew you would and I am proud of you!”
Each of my four students walked the fire. I was equally proud of each of them. At the end of the night when they had walked the fire many times the fire called to me and I was able to walk with them across the fires of transformation as my pride was in them and we walked sharing the fire, sharing our impossible feat and joined the club of those who walk the fire. We are now firewalkers. We have done the impossible.
This may sound like fiction but it is not. It happened at the COAST (www.pnwcoast.com) firewalk that was taught by Virginia (Ocean) Beach. She is a HPS and past Elder of the Deaf Pagan Network. Oh, yes… She is the first and only certified deaf firewalk instructor in the USA. She traveled from South Carolina to Seattle to teach us to walk. I thank her for my gifts – all five of them. I must also thank her for the education that she gave to me about how two people from very different worlds can come together because of a common act.
Even though her world is without sound and mine is full of noise, even though she is a two-time cancer survivor and I have never been seriously ill in my life and even though she is a woman and I am a man, we are brother and sister because we have shared the transformation of the fire. It has bestowed its gifts upon us both and although our experiences are unique, we share the conscious act of stepping into harm’s way, believing that no harm would come, and being better for it.
As a Pagan HP, teacher and minister I have come full circle from the day that I shared my walk with a HPS long ago. Ocean allowed me to share in that walk with my students. I embraced each of them as they came off the fire. I held them as their feet were hosed off. I told each one of them that I was proud of them. I am proud to be associated with people of this caliber. I am proud to connect with people who are this dedicated to a path that asks the impossible and then teaches us that what is impossible on one end of a twelve foot path is easy on the other end.
Copyright: Paul Stephens
Location: Walla Walla, Washington
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