by Michael Wall and Abigail Spinner McBride
Thank you for your interest in our goals with regard the further evolution of Fire Circle Wellness work. This document supplements the article “Wellness and Healing at the AlchemiFire Ritual.” If you have not already read it, we suggest you do so before continuing here. We have carefully listened to the feedback given by concerned and interested people, and we intend to clarify further both our philosophical position and what specific behaviors and actions we believe will support this approach. We hope you will be able to attend the alignment meeting for people who have questions regards supporting this element of the Fire Ritual. As always, this is an ongoing working and we welcome your input.
Some intentional all-night fire circles attract people who attend for healing, or to serve as healers. The AlchemiFire Ritual model has been moving toward a different position along the Wounded-Healing-Wellness continuum. The AlchemiFire Ritual is similar in approach to the principles of Behavioral Psychology, which focus on practicing the actions and behaviors of a new desired state of being within a framework of consistent encouragement and positive reinforcement. This is in contrast to classical psychology in the West, which aims to uncover, understand or release past traumatic events.
Common transformational practices in the broader all-night fire circle paradigm are sometimes aligned with cathartic or Shamanic approaches involving individual healers who perform various energetic operations. For example, healers will sometimes perform extractions that are intended to remove negative energy bodies or other unseen elements that are painful, heavy, stuck, or poisonous to the individual. Also common in these circles, is a cathartic release in which individuals collapse to the ground, are rendered functionally immobile, and are aided back to their feet and consciousness through various combinations of touching, energetic work, sonic holding with rattles, and verbal guidance. Fundamental to this approach is the view that illness and other limits on personal growth are the result of unresolved past trauma or foreign contaminants and influences. Consequently, health and healing arise from the interventions of skilled practitioners who possess expert knowledge of how to cope with these unseen forces.
Within the AlchemiFire Ritual, the emotional and cognitive challenges of life are referred to as “lead.” This metaphor embraces the opportunities that exist within our struggles and suffering. Alchemical Lead is the unformed beginning matter – the “Prima Materia” – of ones neutral, as yet unrefined potential or possibility. This dense heavy substance contains seeds of golden potential and transformation, but opportunities for such growth are inhibited when others attempt to remove or resolve the issue for us. Wellness practice in the AlchemiFire Ritual is therefore self-directed towards the invention, transformation, and refinement of thoughts and behaviors that are focused on present and future goals. While understanding the dynamics of past experiences can be helpful or even essential, Alchemical resolution and transformation comes from creating healthier relationships with self and others in the present moment.
In the AlchemiFire Ritual, powerful energetic or emotional experiences, or what some refer to as “Kundalini Rising”, are generally interpreted through metaphors that suggest blossoming, opening, or expansion in contrast to what is elsewhere termed “popping and dropping”. This shift in interpretation associates the energetic experience with being empowered and more resourceful instead of assuming that it is connected with past trauma. The AlchemiFire Ritual features various approaches to working towards Wellness in self-responsible ways that do not require other people to facilitate the process. Ultimately, we can heal ourselves, and having healed from past pains there is a whole world of ever more vibrant Wellness to be explored through artful expression and collaborative creativity.
Our transformational focus may be summed up as: “The AlchemiFire Ritual seeks to create a safe and supportive crucible within which new skills and abilities are grown through engaging creatively with others, collaborating on bringing new offerings around the Fire, and encouraging each other to take creative risks. The gains in insight, confidence and competence that result from this work become the foundation for making positive changes elsewhere in life.”
If you are someone who has preexisting relationships with people who may come to you and ask for healing, this is what we request you do:
- Explain to them that the AlchemiFire Ritual is running a different expression of transformational work that is focused on self-initiated and self-directed practice, and that you have been asked by the organizers to not offer your usual healing modality. If necessary, you can tell them that energy working is not a Portal at THIS particular fire.Rather, you are willing to help them develop their own approach for working with their issues, emotional, energetic or physical concerns. (Examples are given below). The idea is that we support each other by providing each other with new tools and approaches.
- Elicit their concern and help them craft a personal working that they can do with themselves and the fire. If YOU were to be doing your own working on the same kinds of issue, what would you do? The idea is to share or help them create a “strategy” or “formula” or “active prescription” or “technique” that they can put into practice, in the Circle, without needing anyone else. Our intention is that people learn skills from the AlchemiFire Ritual that they can apply elsewhere in life.
In general, these action-oriented techniques could involve:
- relating with the Fire itself through modalities of gesture, gazing, and personal energetic / breath work
- orbiting the dance tracks a specific number of times (choose the planetary track that is most thematically aligned with the work to be done).
- some sort of internal visualization
- speaking aloud to the fire, with an emphasis on evoking and embodying the desired state of being
- approaching the work from a place of inner strength and resourcefulness
- alchemical symbolism, processes and terminology
Specific example “prescriptions”, to give you a sense of the approach we are aiming towards.
- If someone comes (or is brought) to you in high emotional drama, simply listen without offering counsel or suggesting a course of action. Only offer these if the person ASKS you to, and then approach the situation as detailed above.
- If someone falls on the ground and is unresponsive to what you’re saying: 1) check to see if they’re breathing, and 2) send someone to get medical attention immediately.
- If someone dances themselves into a place where they fall on the ground, come up to them, and, close to their ear, say, “let’s move you back a little, so no one steps on you.” Gently move them outside the circle to a safe place. Stay nearby, say a foot or two away from them. Give them their space to move through their own process. Keep other people from interfering or trying to “help” them. When they sit up, or open their eyes, offer them a hand up, and then offer them some water. Ask if they want a hug.
- If someone comes up to you and seems really ungrounded and asks you to help them, walk them over to a tree. Have them put their arms around the tree, and send excess energy down to the roots while they breathe slowly and deeply. Stay nearby, say a foot or two away from them. Give them their space to move through their own process. Keep other people from interfering or trying to “help” them. When they step back, offer them some water. Ask if they want a hug.
- If someone comes to you and says they’re feeling stuck in a certain part of their body, or that they want some help in moving some energy, direct them to begin walking around the circle at the Saturn orbit. Suggest that they touch the area they’re feeling stuck in, feeling it as lead in their body, as they go around the circle at least three times. Then, they could move into the Jupiter track, for at least three more times around the circle, feeling the lead shift into tin, feeling the energy becoming a little lighter… and then on through Mars, Earth, Venus, and Mercury, lightening and shifting the energy with each and every orbit, using their hands, their movements and their voice to work through their process. When they’re done, offer them some water. Ask if they want a hug.
- If someone comes to you and says that they’re feeling lonely or disconnected, invite them to explore what it might feel like if the activities taking place in the circle were part of one living organism. Invite them further, to nurture this interdependent life form by getting a delicious tray of treats from the food alter and making two orbits around the circle, connecting and nourishing people with this offering. Suggest that they do at least one of the orbits from the Earth track.
- If someone comes to you feeling tired or down, invite them to move close to the loudest section of the drummers’ furnace. Suggest that they sway or move their hands to the music for at least five minutes. As they listen and move, encourage them to repeatedly and audibly say the word “yes.” With a final “yes,” instruct them to pick up an instrument and copy, to the very best of their ability, the key beats of one of the most energetic parts that they hear. This practice should be sustained for at least ten minutes.
- You can use the energy of the lemniscate to clear away energetic blocks within yourself. As you move around the fire, feel in your body where you are blocked, or stuck. Using your dominant hand, pull energy from that place, and throw it into the fire on your exhale, over and over, until whatever was in the way is gone. Then, on your inhale, begin to pull in the energy of the fire, the light and the warmth into the space you’ve just opened up, over and over, until that place is completely filled in with light, warmth and whatever good things you call forth.
- If there is an issue that needs healing between you and a partner or friend, you can try this moving meditation…. Check in with your partner, and if they’re willing, go and dance across the fire from them. As you move around the fire, begin to make a lemniscate shape with your dominant hand, from your heart, to your eyes, out, down and across the fire, up through your partner’s body, up, out and through their eyes, and back across and down through the fire back to your heart. Imagine the energy of the fire burning through and purifying whatever issue has been blocking the energy flow between you. With each loop, you are using your intention and the energy of the fire to cleanse, purify and heal whatever is in the way. Continue this looping of energy for as long as feels right, connecting your breath to your movement. You breathe out as you send the energy our through your eyes and into your partner, and breathe in as you receive the energy from them. They do the same, so you’re breathing in opposition, together, in a living lemniscate of love. When you’re done, share a hug.
Remember, there are many more examples in the other article as well. You are, of course, welcome to share your talents as you will during the Gathering when the Fire Circle is not spinning.
We thank you again for your support in helping us birth a new Wellness Work possibility!
Moment by moment, let our thoughts, words, and deeds move us toward an optimum state of wellness as we become our highest visions.