Rousing the embers of reverence
Ours is a life of paradox.
Every moment of human life is a miracle and a wrenching tragedy. Light and shadow swirl inside us. To love something we know we will one day lose it. How can we 'be' in that?
What would it be to recognise the true chaos of nature and quieten the call for control?
How could the world change if we honoured the impossibility of life with reverence and awe?
What if, somewhere inside, we already know how?
Recalling Fire seeks to support this vital work of remembering: a loving restoration of our wonder for life.
Ways of the Fire
In community, led by oral storytelling, ritual and wild places, we will deepen in these five enquiries:
Fluidity of self:
The way of storytelling is to see ourselves as though an entire cast of ever-changing characters. In this work, and the natural world of chaos, creativity and individuality, we will tread warily around ideas like 'order' and 'control'.
We recognise the nourishment in darkness as well as light: wisdom in grief, fulfilment in struggle. Our work is beyond a pursuit of happiness.
Behind every one of us stands an unlikely, unbroken line of forebears – human and non-human – jostling to see what we'll do with the time given to us. This work is rooted in the wisdom of our ancestors and elders and our responsibility to those who come after us.
Decentralising the human view:
How can this work recognise interconnectivity of all life on this planet? Can we believe ourselves part of the natural world instead of rulers? Can we connect not WITH nature, but AS nature?
Intuition as source:
Like our fellow creatures of Earth, we are ancient animals with access to deep spiritual, cellular intuition. Together, we breathe and bring focus to our bodies and the present moment.
I came late to storytelling. But still, I’m a seasoned old woman and that is a good place to be on this earth.
Stories give us options. We get to try out what it is to be something wildly different and at the same time freakishly familiar. We are taken into the dark to squint sideways at things far beyond our everyday habitat. Stories give proper heft to our trials and griefs and adventures. We have to work to harvest meanings, each visit yields a different return, and we are the better for the effort. Stories open faults in our consciousness and then nature crowds in and takes a foothold and suddenly it’s all different.
It’s a rainy time of year. Let’s lift up our faces, the water pooling in our eye sockets, dripping into our ears, trickling down our necks, and drink deep. All this beauty given to us, unearned.
The stories tell us we are made when we descend into deep water. Down there. The underworld.
In 2019 my family was broadsided. Our newborn boy, Patch, was diagnosed with a profound brain disorder. It wrecked my prideful ego and sent me down to kneel on the ocean floor. I’m still processing the reality of life with a disabled son, but I can tell you I am more fulfilled than ever before.
This world is darkness and light. We are not in control. Never will be. And there is beauty in that chaos.
I believe we'll never truly ‘understand’ life. Rationale and science can be leaky ships for these high seas. But, if our deliverance is in the deepest, darkest waters, we don't have to keep bailing them out. I don't suggest we abandon them altogether, but once in a while... we can let them go.
Feelings, trust, love – the stuff of story – will guide us on.
The Depth of Story
King Arthur rides beside us
Traditional stories are more than entertainment. They're visual, iridescent containers of ancient wisdom. In their countless years of telling and retelling, fairy tales are able to filter and refine some of the sludgiest nuances of the human condition and our part in nature.
In every jealous dragon and splitting seedpod, we're invited to see different parts of ourselves. The fears and loves, passion, apathy, addiction and beauty inside us are the same as the generations who came before. We find it in the golden queen, the wild wolf and the hubbub of folkloric taverns. In the hero's quest, we can imagine a part of ourselves that overcomes. A part that is allowed to die to be reborn. To redefine who we are.
And when those ideas bubble, under the branches and around a shared fire, fear can give way to recognition.
We can stop feverishly protecting the small corner of the world we call our identity and step towards a much older ideal: community.
Why is this important?
Since the beginning we have wondered...
Our paleolithic ancestors reached for something, dreaming half-animal humans onto cave walls to find us 44,000 years later, still wondering.
Is there more to this world? What am I? What is my purpose?
These kinds of questions don’t like to be looked at directly. Like fish jumping from the murky water of our longing, the answers are slippery – flashes of silver and ripples that quickly fade. These moments are peripheral, distinctly unscientific and, here's a scary word for our times: spiritual. So we push them away.
As though intuition has no place in education.
As though logic can explain love, music, soul.
As though we can rationalise the sight of our firstborn child.
What would it be, in these dangerous times, to recognise our wonder? Our fire. To lovingly recall it from the fringes of this era of cold logic and hard rationale. To step back into the spiralling duet of science and soul, logic and love, logos and eros. Our mythology is calling us home.