Sacred Fire Circle in Paradise 2011 – Editorial

A while ago on a quest to the vision realm I found myself back at the Sacred Fire Circle. It seemed natural to be there. Sacred Fire Circle in Paradise is more a part of the vision realm then it is of normal reality.

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We are surrounded by darkness in a place of light which we created as a contained sacred space. We enter intentionally. We work intentionally. We spend night after night with focus in a ritual environment.

Rangoli Pattern for First Night

The sacred circle takes place from midnight until dawn for three nights. Every night, many people experienced divine possession, especially whilst dancing, but also whilst drumming, singing, healing, meditating, or other activities. The place just lends itself to it. Every religious path has some tradition of ecstatic connection to the divine and SFCiP is a place to experience it.

It is deeply experiential. Even without the connection to the divine, the experience is still powerful. The combination of all things, the drumming, the dancing, the holding of space, the singing, the mindful intention, all of it creates an environment which is conducive to profound experiences.

Tamara, one of this year’s participants described it,

“The ‘experiential’ can take you places that you cannot think your way to and fire circle is very experiential. The hugest part of ourselves is within … in those non-analytical places. Fire circle is a journey into that place. We do use our intellect to sort out our deeper selves, but, we are not, at our center, primarily intellectual creatures. We are emotional, spiritual creatures capable of thinking and reasoning. But, it isn’t our intellect that is the primary ‘can opener’ to the soul and to other realms. It is our deeper selves. Fire circle is a ritual experience that (I would describe as almost shamanic in nature) that assists in setting aside the intellect and, with the help of dance, song, chant trust, fellowship and more, can help people to transcend normal barriers and live, move, resolve and heal while walking through the ‘soul stuff’ within and between worlds.”

Tamara also described, “There are so many types of experiences that one can have at Pagan retreats! Some are focused on fellowship and connection, some workshops and information, some on ritual, some on a blending of all. I believe fire circle is rich in all those areas but has a deep and meaningful focus on immersion in a deep, penetrating, and powerful ritual experience that is built over days.” Continue reading

Sacred Fire Circle Attendance Up

The Sacred Fire Circle in Paradise, a four day festival in its third year, has 28 people registered and is expecting attendance to go even higher due to the new ‘weekend’ registration option.

The event for adults only takes place in  western Wisconsin and focuses on transformation of self through midnight to dawn drumming, chanting, and trance-work.  “It’s a great environment for personal healing. It’s not uniquely Pagan,” says JRob, who has attended both previous year’s SFC.  ” It taps into something that is at the core of humans, but it’s not for everyone. Not everyone can let go of themselves. Not everyone can deal with the inevitable sleep deprivation. Although just about everyone is probably physically capable of doing it. We’ve had several participants with physical limitations who were able to participate in the sacred fire circle.”

This event is different from many Pagan gatherings.  Attendees do not attend workshops and are expected to fully participate in all aspects.  “The event is co-created, and so everyone divides into four teams to take care of the needs of the event,” says JRob.  His first year he was on the fire team. One of the duties of the fire team was to light the circle in preparation for the night.  This job duty led to one of the more memorable experiences of the event for him.  “It was dark when I entered the circle. So dark that my flashlight couldn’t keep up with the darkness. I went around and lit the many candles on the alters. As I went, each little flame brought the circle to life. I lit the tikis around the edge, and the circle came more to life. I lit ten foot tall tikis around the center, and the circle came more to life. I fed the fire in the center, and our ritual space was fully alive. Witnessing the circle coming alive around me is my most vivid memory of the fire circle.”

Another favorite memory of JRob’s is of the food, “There were two cooks for the event who really are five star chefs. They fed us the most amazing meals.”

Registration includes nine meals.  For those who cannot afford the registration fee, donors who have created a scholarship fund.  Registration closes July 10th and is limited to 50 attendees.  Contact Sacred Fire Circle in Paradise for details.

Editor’s note:  Nels Linde is Co-editor for PNC-Minnesota and one of the organizers of Sacred Fire Circle in Paradise.