The Gift of Community Fires

by | Apr 18, 2019

In the center, always, the dancing flames — mesmerizing, mysteriously renewing, inspiring and recalibrating the lives of the humans who are sharing their stories, successes and concerns; their laughter, tears and anger too. Slowly but surely, those gathered are remembering what it is to be in right relationship –- with each other, and with the other-than-human too.

Our trained and initiated Firekeepers create and hold a safe container for community fires, nourishing the innate human desire for connection and to be witnessed.

We are speaking about Sacred Fire community fires, held monthly by dedicated Firekeepers in seven countries on four continents, with more communities forming annually. Individual experiences vary according to the social, cultural and physical environment where each hearth resides, and by the personalities of the humans who gather, but the transformative presence of Fire itself is a constant.

Sacred Fires are held in urban, suburban and remote settings; in the desert, the mountains, next to the ocean, and deep in the forest. They’re held under impromptu tarps, permanent community-built structures and sacred council houses. When you attend, you may be treated to pre-fire potlucks or hot chocolate and snacks, or move directly to sit with Fire. Each Sacred Fire community has its own flavor. Yet, in all of the many countries, our trained and initiated Firekeepers create and hold a safe container for community fires, nourishing the innate human desire for connection and to be witnessed. The special ingredient is, of course, the presence of humanity’s timeless ally, Fire.

See what Robin, Mark, Debbie, Carlos, Jenny, and Sally have to say about their experience attending Sacred Fire community fires. And if you have a Fire Story of your own, we’d love for you to share it with us at


I’ve been attending Sacred Fire community fires for 12 years. What keeps me coming back is the sense of community and the power of transformation that the consecrated fire brings me which supports me in my life. Most precious to me is that, on a fundamental level, those who gather around the fire in this community share key values and awareness of the importance of living our lives in relationship with the Place – the beings of Nature and the elements –where we live.

From the start, I was impressed and relieved with the freedom and ease inherent in the non-dogmatic structure. I continue to show up because sometimes there is profound heart sharing (others or my own) which deepens my own heart-connection, my connection with others and with the entity of Fire. I appreciate the invitation and guidance to share from the heart instead of the head. This can be challenging, but is growth-producing. During and after the fires, I notice and like the sense that something is happening that is much bigger than I even know, and that I am part of this. What happens at and because of the fires is beyond comprehension: comforting and empowering, both.

~Robin Rainbow Gate, Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico

Mark Kocher

I came to my first fire after seeing a hand-written note on the Co-op bulletin board: “Eliot Cowan speaking this weekend.” That was back in April 2010, and I didn’t know what to expect.

In those days, I lived in my head, always looking for answers in what I already knew. As I sat around dancing flames listening to Eliot, Grandfather Fire’s warmth subtly invited me on a journey back to my heart. I had heard that “Fire speaks,” and I curiously waited for revelations at each community fire I attended. What I came to realize is that listening to people’s stories of their hopes, dreams, fears, questions, passions, and wisdom is what has led me to a deeper connection to the rhythms of life and my own humanity. Through those stories, Grandfather has given me all that I have needed to embark on my journey from head to heart. I am grateful for each storyteller and the connections we have made. At our community fires, I feel heard: in words, deeds, and spirit. This has allowed me to become a deeper listener. I still don’t know what to expect going to any given fire, but that is the magic that keeps me coming back.

~Mark Kocher, Olympia, WA, USA


Last year a customer came into the health food shop where I work and gave me a gift: she told me about our local Sacred Fire community fires. I have tried to go to every fire since. I am extremely lucky as I have two fires near me, each with Firekeepers I have come to think of as friends. They welcome all who attend. Going to a fire helps me to reconnect with what is important in life, with earth and Fire. I get to see the world from a different perspective; I never used to sit outside in the middle of winter wrapped in blankets! I get to listen to beautiful souls who have come from near and far, talking from the heart, safe in the knowledge there will be no judgment, no interruptions. I have grown so much since listening to the wisdom shared around the fires and found comfort in the stories of others. I have even felt safe enough to sing! Love and gratitude to the Firekeepers, all those who attend the fires, and most importantly, to Fire.

~Debbie Gough, Church Stretton, Shropshire, UK

Sally Casper

Soon after relocating to Asheville last year, through what could only be defined as a series of serendipitous events, I discovered the Sacred Fire Community.

I return each month to the community fires because these people are truly interested in authentic connection; to each other, the divine, the natural world, as well as to timeless ancient wisdom. Sitting around the warmth of fire regularly has been transforming, healing, and grounding as I build a new life.

The simple acts of making offerings to the fire, expressing my gratitude, and listening to others share their joys and struggles, has opened my heart to a new level of connection. Sharing time around the fire with a conscious-minded tribe has satiated my hunger for belonging in a way that nothing else has. With more fire in my heart, I now have more joy in my life.

~Sally Casper, Asheville, NC, USA

Our monthly Sacred Fire community fires here in Tepoztlán have been such a force for support in my life: the support of the community, with a big plus…FIRE. The feeling of maturity and benefit in our local community has been growing slowly, but strongly, year after year. The love and care we share is beautiful and nurturing, and I look forward to every fire!

~Carlos Romero, Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico

Jenny Scott

Ihave been attending the Church Stretton Sacred Fire community fires for about 7 months. I love our Firekeepers, Lucy Wells and Michael Locke. The gatherings are so important for community. Each one is very different due to different combinations of people sharing their thoughts and stories. I’m fascinated by what arises within myself when I open to new ways of seeing.

The conversation around the fire has massively helped my confidence through contributing and being heard within a caring and compassionate circle. Everyone is treated equally and there’s no pressure. If I’m feeling quiet, I can also just enjoy listening.

The changing seasons and weather also create a different energy for each community fire. Whatever the elements throw at us, people still turn up. I love that we make that effort to go out on a stormy wild night and sit around a fire. It’s so…refreshing! The hot chocolate is also fab!

There are always friends of friends whose lives overlap and interconnect and I notice many fascinating coincidences. When I leave the fire I always feel a sense of optimism and a glow that can last for days, so I will only miss a fire if I’m away or have another commitment.

~Jenny Scott, Church Stretton, Shropshire, UK



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