Fire Walking into Hogmanay
While the western world was shaking hands, maybe hugging, and clinking their spirited glasses I was spending Hogmanay in Scotland crossing the embers of a lighted fire.
This firewalking New Year's Eve ceremony, to bring in the Roman calendar new year, has been hosted at Lendrick Lodge, near Callander, for several years and is well attended by local enthusiasts as well as resident visitors from afar.
My father often talked of firewalking because his work took him to many countries where firewalking rituals are an important part of their spiritual culture. He was a frequent firewalker himself with his most enthusiastic stories being of firewalks in northern Iran. Some believe this area was the biblical Garden Of Eden. Apparently, my grandfather also hosted firewalks as part of his holistic health practice in the village of St. Ippolyts, Hertfordshire during the 1920s on. I was told he inherited this from his own father after some time in India.
Considering my deep family background in firewalking and other extreme spirituality and holistic healing rituals this was my first time of even exposing myself to firewalking.
When we arrived at Lendrick Lodge during the late evening of New Year's Eve the weather was typical for Scotland on this eve with storm force winds and torrential rain. During my years of living on the Isle Of Mull this was the annual weather which always seemed to settle for New Year's Day. The hostile weather did not deter the fire lighters and stokers who had experienced hosting firewalking during this kind weather many times.
Inside the Lodge a group of committed people had spent the day tuning themselves up with reiki and meditations to condition themselves for their first firewalking event.
I arrived at Lendrick Lodge with my partner Claire Roche, who was to follow the firewalk with what turned out to be one of the best moving performances I have ever heard from her. We also travelled with our wonderful health education friend Trish.
On arrival I was knocked out with a severe headache, raging sore throat, fever, exhaustion and all I wanted was my bed. I still had several days of driving around Scotland ahead and wondered how I would have the energy and strength to do it.
We wandered down to the fire pit and joined the company of the highly charged firewalkers and a superb piper. Suddenly I wanted to be part of it all. It was so infectious.
My fear was not of walking over the fire but of possibly intruding into a collective spirit that theSE people had spent the day uniting. In the end my drive overcame me and I was walking the fire embers amonst them, only to discover immediate acceptance and no intrusion whatsoever.
From that moment I had crossed the embers my headache, sore throat, low energy and so forth had been replaced with exhilaration, a feeling of peak physical health and very clear focused mind. Nothing I had ever done before had given such an instant healing effect, and I was not expecting it or even asking for it.
Did I burn myself?
No, and nor did anyone there and the firewalkers ranged from 6 years old to mid 80s.
How did Firewalking work?
Well as soon as I took my shoes and socks off my feet became instantly cold from the winter ground so there was no hesitation or fear because the instant reaction was to jump on the embers to get my feet warm. After reaching the other side of the embers bed, about 20 feet long, I found myself wishing the embers were a bit warmer or that I had walked a bit slower.
What happened to me was what happens on a fire walk. It is really quite essential for all of to spend some time walking with bare feet because our feet are supposed to be cooler than the rest of our body.
Pour water onto a griddle and see how the water drops dance around before they turn to steam. That is how our feet should be. There is a time between when our feet touch heat to the time when our skin starts to burn. By lifting our feet as we walk the time between touching heat and being burned is extended, hence why we can walk 20 feet over embers without injury.
However, if we carry fear about the fire then, somehow, that safety veil between touch and burn is removed and the firewalker will be seriously burned.
My father once told me that at a firewalk in Iran a visiting "bible thumping" evangelist claimed he could do the firewalk without meditation because the "word of God" would protect him. He stepped over the coals clutching his bible and was severely burned.
This does not indicate that firewalking is not for Christians but it does provide an example of the difference between personal faith and faith in things external to us, such as idols. If this evangelist had called upon the spirit of Christ rather than the protection of his Holy book he would have crossed the fire safely.
Obviously, firewalking is not exclusive to those who "call" Christ, especially as it is a ritual that has been shared for 1000s of years before Christ was born to earth. Firewalking does require a calling of your guiding spirt, so it is essential to recognize and form a loving relationship with your guiding spirit before you fire walk.
What are the Firewalking benefits.
Historically, Firewalking has always been a ritual for cleansing the mind of negatives, which are barriers we create for ourselves. This is because the actual act of firewalking can only be achieved by a believe that we will reach the other side of the fire without consequences. Your focus has to be the focus on the exhilaration of the finishing line and that exhilaration is with you when you start before it becomes a physical reality. If you focus on the possibilities of being burned you will not make it.
Firewalking is generally a much easier and more convenient alternative to mountain climbing, swimming a lake, hang gliding, and so forth, that all require the same focus to succeed with. More and more fund raising sponsored walks are now becoming sponsored fire walks because they are more convenient, entertaining, more beneficial, and usually result in far less feet ailment problems than a long walk.
I never knew this until I had firewalked and then read about it, but Firewalking has now become a very important part of corporate executive motivation with companies such as Microsoft, Google, Coca Cola and American Express. President Clinton and Vice President Gore firewalked together a few times. Most of this was due to celebrity motivational speaker Anthony Robbins who took a firewalking class in 1983 and then took firewalking to corporate and celebrity conventions.
After the Lendrick Lodge firewalk, one woman who admitted to being a regular drinker normally drunk through Hogmanay revealed that she had never known it was possible to do something that was much more exhilarating than drinking without a drop of alcohol in the body.
This leads me to believe that if we can find ways to lead any kind of addict to the edge of a firewalk, along with people who are suicidal or viewing life with a half empty glass, and then guide them to find their guide and cross the embers, their lives could be cleansed. Having said that, my firewalking father was also a heavy smoker and drinker yet he lived a dangerous life as an undercover agent and I am now sure that the firewalking and other extreme spiritual rituals helped to keep him undercover, undetected and alive.
Firewalking is simple. It is a perfect ritual that reveals how our thoughts impact everything else in our lives. Every thought causes a physical change to our brain and body chemistry. The best example we all know is what romantic thoughts do to our bodies. :-)
Most firewalkers enter a day of guidance before walking the embers so that they become in tune with paying close attention to their thoughts because those thoughts will eventually create our own realities. This clearly reveals that positive thinkers live in a different body chemical environment than negative thinkers. They impose less stress on their immune systems, so the health benefits should be obvious.
I remember a time I had a huge argument with my father, during my teens, about his drinking, smoking and unhealthy eating. Normally its the other way round. However, as I clichéd to him about "you are what you eat", he flared back "No! You are what you think!". One day I'll share an article about the research of Dr Dean Black who discovered that people who worried about their eating in an attempt to eat healthier actually experienced more health problems than most people.
We can tribute Tolly Burkan as being the founder of the western Firewalking movement that he established 30 years ago after discovering Firewalking as the mind changing ritual that stopped him from his frequent suicide attempts. He taught Anthony Robbins who took firewalking to the media and corporate conventions and Peggy Dylan who under her Sundoor flag has endlessly travelled North America, Europe and Australasia to teach and qualify firewalking guides at leading holistic retreats.
Firewalking on our "Veil Between Two World" vacations
At the end of July we are fortunate to have two Sundoor firewalker trainers, Hazel Ash and Raven Smith who will include firewalking and sweathouse sessions for the folks on our tour and vacation.
During 2008 we aim to introduce a vacation called "Two Veils Passage" that will include more explorations into the wisdoms of the Celtic Shamans.
To join our special vacation that includes firewalking please inquire