We revere the world because it is real. It verifiably exists, and it is magnificent: it sustains us, it unfolds in its myriad, fractal ways: in forests and grasslands, in oceans and deserts, in mountains and valleys and canyons, in lakes and rivers and fog and rain and snow. It feeds us, it waters us, it sustains us with warmth and so many kindnesses that, though it isn’t volitional, we might as well poetically conceptualize it as Love.
We celebrate living because we are living. We sing, we stomp, we chant, we write poetry, we make art, we drum, we play. We light the candles, we burn the fire, we lay out the sacred objects. We paint the cave. We dance around the fire.
I have just returned from a weekend with friends, a retreat for the Core group of the Spark Collective. Spark conducts monthly fire-circle-style rituals (indoors), and in most years, throws a summer festival of three consecutive nights of all-night rituals around a blazing fire. It’s a magical community of fine, creative, kind people, and I love a great many of them very much.
The Core group coordinates the activities of Spark, and serves as its legal board of directors. But mostly, we just made sure that there are leaders for the monthly rituals, and we organize the summer festival.
The fire circle tradition is a Pagan path quite different from many others. Ours is an ecstatic path about connection with the exquisite Earth, and with one another, through movement about a leaping fire.
It sounds simple, but it is anything but that.
There is something that happens when it is four AM and you are circling about a fire with others, singing and dancing to the beat of drums. Perhaps you take a little break, exhausted, and go to the food altar to restore yourself, drink some water, eat some nuts.
And others are there, and you converse.
I will tell you, the conversations at a time like that are the truest, most genuine exchanges imaginable. People are tender and open and ready to reveal what is true about themselves, and they are ready to connect with what is true about you.
So rare—so resisted—in our cultures. But so precious.
I envision a world in which we can be true with one another about the things that matter. In which we need not mask ourselves. And we can start in our own communities, with one another.
Authenticity is the greatest gift we can give to one another: the honest truth of our experience. It takes courage, and it takes trust.
If we can build trust amongst ourselves, we can find that courage.
If we can assume kindness as the core intention of one another, we can bridge the great gulf that lays between us.
So say a true thing—a fragile and vulnerable thing— to someone you love. Share the beauty within you, for it is a lens opening into a landscape of wonder and joy.
Speak your truth. Acknowledge your love.
Be authentic. It is the greatest gift you can give to another.