Monday, December 1, 2008

Fire of Life

I recently started a course that teaches hunter-gatherers skills in order to achieve a better understanding of the (natural) world and of mankind. It seeks to provide knowledge and sillks on three circles: man to man, man to the Earth, man to the creator.

This organization (shomrei Ha gan = keepers of the garden) is partly inspired by the teachings of Tom Brown who in turn was educated by an Apache Indian -Stalking Wolf.

I found an excerpt in Tom Brown's Field Guide to Living with the Earth
that brought inspiration and gratitude, here it is

We had thought we could create fire just by ourselves, but now we realized just how impossible that was. Our efforts alone could never make a fire. Sunlight and wood and plants and animals and water and many other entities went into it too. Fire was not just a result of skill; it was a gift from the Creator.

This perspective is not easy to grasp when we know we can make a fire with the strike of a match or the flick of a lighter. But up until the last few hundred years, that is the attitude people had toward it. Fire was a sacred entity. It was a powerful purifier that could transform almost anything. It consumed the cold and the darkness when the sun slipped below the horizon. It purified water and cooked food. In the sweat lodge it purged the body and warded off disease and despair. With time it even broke up and consumed rocks.

It’s when we do without fire for two or three days that we really begin to appreciate it. It becomes precious beyond words. Even in nonsurvival situations we can feel this. Until that spark of life begins to flicker inside a cold, dark shelter, the shelter is dead. But once its heartbeat grows strong, the shelter comes alive with light and warmth that brings much inner peace and happiness into our lives.

As we cast our eyes into a fire, we can feel it not only warming our bodies but making our spirits glow. The effect is almost hypnotic. It’s as though the coals held part of the secret to our existence. There is something in a fire that brings out our own inner glow and pulls us closer to the earth, it is also the center of attention, the center of the lodge, and the center of the sacred circle in our hearts.


Gaia Mount said...

Hey! I read your blog and came back. It's inspiring! So many lovely pictures of lovely people. Where are you guys? Not in Israel? Or is it?

Looks South American, Mexico maybe.

I was in Israel last summer, met the people from Shomrei Ha Gan for summer eclipse celebration - briefly but very happily ;)

Me myself - I'm from Poland, my life is going back and forth into the gardens of different sort - staying in the city for gathering money to go away next summer and garden.
Maybe gardening is my calling?
Every spring and summer I feel it is.
write to me on

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