Sacred fires have been used for generations as a way to heal, bond together, and begin sacred ceremonies, events, or rituals. Not only do sacred fires have a variety of unique benefits, but the sacred fire itself has traditions and protocols that are followed in order to uphold the integrity and sacredness of the fire.
There are many lessons associated with fire. Fire offers remembrance, healing, and togetherness.
There are five important things you should know about sacred fires and their place in indigenous culture.
What makes a sacred fire sacred?
A sacred fire is sacred because it is used as an Indigenous traditional wellness approach.
A sacred fire is an important part of indigenous spirituality, communication with the spirit realm and our ancestors. It is a sacred practice meant to make individuals feel open, grounded, and connected with people on Earth and those who have moved on.
Who makes the sacred fire?
A sacred fire is built by indigenous people who are gathering for an event, ritual, or ceremony. Usually, there is a firekeeper who builds, maintains, and keeps watch over the fire so that it is never unattended.
Who is a firekeeper?
Traditionally, men are the firekeepers who maintain and watch over the sacred fire, while women attend the ceremony. This can vary depending on Tribe or Nation and the type of ceremony taking place. The most important part to understand is that there are certain people assigned the role of Firekeeper and they are the only people allowed to disturb the fire and stand watch throughout the ceremony.
What is the purpose of a sacred fire?
The fire is traditionally used to start a ceremony or sacred event. Not only does the sacred fire provide a respectful way to open an event or ceremony, but it plays a distinct role in the event, as well.
The sacred fire is considered a spiritual doorway that opens to a spiritual realm so that individuals can communicate through the fire. It is used to connect with our ancestors, communicate with them, and ask them that they respect our prayers.
Overall, the sacred fire is used as a place to gather and celebrate. Often, it lets us reflect on our purpose on Earth either at the beginning in birthing ceremonies or at the end, when we go back to the spiritual world.
And, finally, let’s talk about the rules of sacred fires:
What are the sacred fire protocols?Because the fire is sacred, there are specific protocols in place to keep the sacred fire pure and burning brightly. Only sacred items such as tobacco, sage, cedar, and sweetgrass can be placed in the fire. This acknowledges our ancestors.
Additionally, food for our ancestors can be placed in the fire.
The sacred fire is never left alone. It is always watched and attended to by a Fire Keeper.
Participants are often asked to be positive, respectful, and open-minded to nurture a positive space for everyone involved in the experience of the sacred fire and to promote clear communication between us and our ancestors.
These few facts are the most important things to know about sacred fires, their purpose, and how to participate in one. Sacred fires have long been a part of indigenous culture and wellness and are still used today as an important part of indigenous ceremonies and communication with our ancestors.
I hope this helps you understand sacred fires better and to be better prepared if you ever have the chance to participate in one!