Don David Wiley, medium for the Spirit of Fire
David Wiley’s perspective on what is possible and how to live life was profoundly altered in 1996, when the Spirit of Fire, often called Grandfather Fire, appeared before him as an apparition in the garden of a meditation retreat center near Mexico City. Grandfather Fire asked David to be his conduit, so people everywhere could discover their innate connection to spirit and have an experiential relationship with nature and Divine. Grandfather sent David to find two indigenous elders, Don Lupe Ríos Gonzales of the Wixárika (Huichol) tradition of Mexico’s Sierra Madres and Don Lucio Campos Elizalde of the Nahua tradition of the central highlands. At Grandfather Fire’s request, these two elders began David’s formal medicine and ceremonial apprenticeship in these two ancestrally related shamanic paths.
From the Huichol tradition, David received initiations as a mara’akame, a healer, counselor, and ceremonial leader; from the Nahua path, he was initiated as a granicero, a weather worker, ceremonial leader, and healer. After years of service and leadership, he received permission to teach these two traditions to those called to these shamanic paths. After Don Lupe’s passing in 2003 and under the support of mara’akame Don José Sandoval de la Cruz, David received initiation as a Huichol tsaurirrakame (elder shaman) in 2008. On the Nahua path, David became a Caporal Mayor (teacher-tradition leader) when he inherited Don Lucio’s altar and the responsibility for his Nahua weather working lineage after Don Lucio’s passing in 2004. As a recognized elder in these two traditions, he has received the title of respect, Don David.
Concurrent with Don David’s immersion in this traditional medicine path work, starting in 1996, Grandfather Fire began speaking through Don David’s body during special gatherings. This has been some of the most impactful of Don David’s work, touching thousands of people. Among the Huichol, an axihuatakame is a “god-speaker man,” a traditional spiritual medium who enters a coma-like state so that a deity can physically interact directly with humans. A collection of Grandfather Fire’s wisdom was published as Heard Around the Fire in 2010; a second book is in final editing. An archive of teachings can be found on sacredfire.org as Grandfather Fire’s Wisdom. Over the years, Grandfather Fire inspired Don David and the community growing around Grandfather’s wisdom to spread traditional lifeways through the world. This lead to the founding of nonprofits Sacred Fire, which began training Sacred Firekeepers and hosting events and programs in 2004; Blue Deer, a retreat and healing center for nature’s medicine which opened in 2005, and Sacred Fire Foundation, a charitable organization founded to promote and protect traditional indigenous lifeways in 2009.