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Rites of passage for healing and growth.

Certified Firewalk Instructor
Training Recently,
I had the honor of being invited to train with the lady (Peggy Dylan)
who brought firewalking to the public view in the United States over
20 years ago. I had been helping her out with her website for a while,
changing links and such for her, and she asked me if I was interested
in getting the training. This was something I had wanted to do for
over 4 years now, so I jumped at the chance! During the
two weeks I spent in my training to become a Certified Firewalk Instructor,
I had the opportunity to participate in MANY rites of passage.

    Here are "brief"  
      explanations of the different rights of passage that I participated  
      in so that I could get the elite title of Certified Firewalk Instructor: 
    WARNING!!! 
      Doing any of the following activities without proper training, in person,  
      from a trained instructor is VERY dangerous, and should not be attempted  
      by ANYBODY! Do Not Try This At Home!!!

    Firewalking:  
      Basically, this is what it sounds like. It involves walking barefoot  
      across hot coals. I won't go into HOW you do it here, as I don't want  
      some schmuck thinking that he can do it in his back yard just by reading  
      this page. Firewalking should only be done around a trained instructor!

      I personally have a very deep connection with the fire. I do things  
      on a firewalk that most people do not. (And that most people SHOULD  
      not!) While walking on coals, most walk briskly across. I prefer to  
      walk as slow as possible, being very contemplative in a meditaional  
      manor. It's also not uncommon for me to stop in the middle of the coal  
      bed and stand still for a moment, whether to bow to a friend, or to  
      say a prayer. (Although I have receive burns on some firewalks, I have  
      never received a burn from standing still. When I choose to do that,  
      I'm in a deep state of mind with a HIGH amount of energy.) I will also  
      occasionally stop in the middle to pick up handfuls of hot coals. For  
      me, when I pick them up, I really feel closest to God. 
      And if you're going to walk with friends or family across the coals,  
      plan on it being a bonding experience neither of you will ever forget.  
      I've walked across the coals with my dad, as well as some of my best  
      friends. 
      And let's not forget dancing on the coals! Whether by yourself, or dancing  
      in circles with a friend, dancing is one of my favorite things to do  
      on the coals! 
      Really, when it comes down to it, there is little I wont do on the coals.  
      (You haven't lived until you've firewalked naked! LOL) 
    Breaking Arrows:

      While this is fundamentally one of the easier things to do, it is by  
      far one of the most impressive! 
      Basically you put the pointed end of an arrow (field points) to your  
      throat, and the other end to a wall, tree, or board that someone is  
      holding, and walk into the arrow to break it. If this doesn't sound  
      impressive, try putting your finger in that soft spot on your throat,  
      and gently pushing in. Once you're through gagging, come back to this  
      page, and read on. LOL 
    Bending Rebar:  
      This is done much the same as breaking an arrow, but is much harder  
      because it requires two people to be committed, instead of just one. 
      You take a 6 foot long section of 3/8" rebar, place one end of  
      it on the soft spot of your throat, and the other end at the soft spot  
      of another persons throat, and then when you're both ready, walk together  
      and bend the rebar.  
      The bar does not want to bend easy, as rebar is what's used to hold  
      concrete bridges together! 
      The really magical part is that when you bend the rebar, you end up  
      in each others arms, hugging. :-D 
      It's pretty much a given that whoever you do this with will have a great  
      bonding experience with you. One of my best friends did this with me,  
      and it was an AWESOME experience for us! 
    Trust Fall:   
      Basically, just what it sounds like. You stand on a rock or structure  
      about 6-8 feet off the ground, and fall backwards into your friends  
      hands. A truly challenging experience for most, as it is conquering  
      two of man's greatest fears...heights, and trust. 
      The cool part is, when you've fallen backwards and get caught by the  
      group, you end up nestled in their arms. :-D 
    Rebirthing:   
      I wont go into this one much, as it is so different for each person.  
      That, and a lot of the revelations you end up with are quite personal. 
      But the basic concept is to circular breath shallowly in a matter that  
      is much like hyperventilating. This produces so much oxygen in your  
      system that it's much like the sensation of being born. (Thus the name  
      rebirthing.) 
      Any past issues, or unresolved emotions (and we all have them!) come  
      up here.  
      It's quite a powerful experience that should only be done with somebody  
      who's trained to take you through it. 
    Walking on broken glass:

      This was taught to me by Toly Burkan. 
      If your spiritual practice involves meditation or the concept of being  
      in the Now, then I highly suggest learning how to walk on broken glass!  
      This, unlike firewalking is not about being in the right state of mind,  
      or having a high enough energy or motivation, but a matter of just being  
      aware of the moment. 
      I had a lot of fun with this one! 
      When you picture the glass in your head, don't think of small, nicely  
      rounded piece of glass. We're talking SHARP, jagged pieces of glass  
      that are about the size of silver dollars on average, but with many  
      pieces being the bottoms of the bottles, having jagged edges sticking  
      up.

    Piercing my hand with  
      a 5" quilting needle: 
      This was taught to me by Toly Burkan. 
      This is one I WONT be including in my seminars, but not because it isn't  
      enriching, but because of the sterilization safety issues involved.. 
      Basically, you take a 5" quilting needle, and pierce it through  
      the meaty part of your hand, between your index finger and your thumb.  
      (About an inch back from the webbing.) 
      If done in the right state of mind, there is no pain, and no blood.  
      (In fact, although I didn't experience the sensation, most feel a sense  
      of ecstasy!) 
      Basically, as you're pushing through, you imagine your cells moving  
      out of the needle's way. (Pretty impressive when you realize how dull  
      a quilting needle is!)  
      When it was going through, it felt as if between the skin on the back  
      of my hand, and the skin on my palm was empty space. 
      Shape shifting at it's finest my friends! 
      An interesting bit to add here is that I have a reasonable amount of  
      piercings, and have never had problems with pain, as I just push it  
      out of my mind. This was TOTALLY different, as I didn't block pain at  
      all, I just let it be the experience that it needed to be. (And because  
      of this, the needle passed through my hand like it would butter, and  
      there was no pain, and no blood, despite the fact the needle passed  
      through a very thick / sensative / meaty section.) 
    Sweat Lodge: 
      This one is special to me. This is where vision quests come from! 
      I won't go on much about what happens inside a sweat lodge, as there  
      is a rule of "what is said in the Lodge, stays in the Lodge.",  
      but basically a Sweat Lodge involves going into a SMALL dome shaped  
      structure, with NO light inside, sitting around a hole in the middle  
      that has hot rocks in it, and praying as the Lodge leader pours water  
      on the hot rocks. 
      So to make it clearer, you're sitting naked in a SMALL building filled  
      with steam, praying, while your body sweats out all of it's toxins.  
      Hallucinations (vision quests) are quite common. 
      While this is the most physically exhaustive thing I've done, I'd recommend  
      it to anybody who is interested in getting in touch with their ancestral  
      roots. 
    The 108: 
      This is one of the purest expressions of firewalking there is.  
      The Tibetan Monks believe that there are 108 sins. To atone for these  
      sins they ritualistically pray 108 times (there are 108 beads on a set  
      of prayer beads), or walk across the fire 108 times. 
      For the purpose of our group, Peggy had the group walk over and over,  
      counting only the walks that were done with a HIGH amount of energy. 
      While I have NO clue the exact amount of times I walked that night,  
      I know it had to have been around that mark. Perhaps a bit less, perhaps  
      a bit more. I walked over and over as fast as I could to be sure that  
      when the group hit 108, I'd be near that mark. 
      This walk was extra special for me, as my friend Raven gave me an ancient  
      set of Tibetan Prayer beads that are fashioned from pieces of Human  
      skulls. (Tibetans often use the bones of their priests to make such  
      things, to carry on the energy, and to not be wasteful.) I had seen  
      pictures of these before, but had never seen them in person. This is  
      a REALLY rare item to see in the West. When I saw what they were, I  
      asked if I could walk with them across the fire once, and he said, "sure!".  
      After walking across with them, which I considered a GREAT honor, I  
      gave them back and continued walking. A bit later, Raven came up to  
      me and handed them to me and asked, "would you walk across with  
      these on the groups 108th walk?" to which I said I'd love to! So  
      I continued to walk across many times until I heard "107!"  
      at which point I ran to the middle of the coals and jumped and screamed  
      with as much energy as I could. Then I heard the most beautiful words..."108!" 
      I got to carry a truly holy set of 108 prayer beads across the coals  
      on the groups 108th walk across the coals. I was most honored. I went  
      to return them to Raven, and he said they were mine. I'm still blown  
      away by the gift. They are one of those things that I will always cherish!  
      (Thank you Raven!!!) Anytime I look at them, I'll think of that magical  
      night. 
    The 40' walk: 
      What a way to end a seminar! This was our graduation walk! :-D 
      Let me say that I you have no idea how long of a distance 40' is, until  
      you and your destination are separated by 40' of red hot coals!!! 
      (Especially since our bed got raked a bit longer and was actually 48.5'  
      long!!!) 
      I knew I was going to do it, but all of the self doubts I had at my  
      first firewalk came back. Suddenly I realized that I was thinking that  
      way, and I just found it hilarious! Once I started laughing, I was in  
      the right frame of mind, and I started walking. I was the first person  
      to walk that long trail that night. 
      Up to about 20' of the walk, it was a piece of cake. Then I started  
      feeling a bit of heat. When I feel heat, I walk slower, as I find that  
      it's the best way for ME to overcome the sensation. Before I knew it,  
      I had crossed the path, which meant I was a Certified Firewalk Instructor.  
      What an amazing rush that was! 
      My energy was so high after that that I walked 3 more times that night,  
      once picking coals up twice along the way, and once, walking as slow  
      as I could. 
      I was healed. 
    So  
      what did I learn? 
    For  
      those of you brave enough to follow along this far, I'll briefly go  
      into a bit about what I got out of all of this madness! :-D 
      Basically, when I started the coarse, I didn't think I'd learn a whole  
      lot, as I had done almost all of these activities before. I figured  
      that I'd do the tasks, and become Certified, and that would be it. Boy  
      was I in for a doozy of an awakening!!! 
      Beyond the aspects of how to actually teach firewalking, I also learned  
      LOADS about myself. Most of my life I've hid my true feelings with humor,  
      or with a quick jab or retort. I do this because humor is a big part  
      of my life. It's pulled me through the worst of times, and has given  
      me a crutch to stand on when I feel weary. That's a good thing. But  
      it's not a good thing when I use it as a defense to keep people away,  
      and I have done that for far too long. 
      I have never felt comfortable with the way I look. Even when I was skinny,  
      I never felt good when I looked in the mirror. In order to hide this,  
      I'd crack jokes to avoid anybody looking at me in any other way than  
      the comedian. 
      I don't feel the need to do that anymore. I still love to crack a good  
      joke, but now I only do so when it serves to make people happy, instead  
      of to keep them from seeing who I am as a person. 
      I'm no Narcissus, but  
      I can look at myself in a mirror now and feel good about the way I look,  
      and who I am. 
      I NEVER would have said this before. Hell, I never would have thought  
      to say this before. I was always too afraid that it would draw attention  
      to me, and that was not the kind of attention I wanted. 
      A good friend I met there, Alex, a wise old soul, told me this about  
      how I look at myself: 
    "How  
      dare you think of yourself than anything less than perfect! The creator  
      made you. To look at yourself poorly is an insult to Him!" 
    Wise words, from a wise man. 
      As far as what else I learned...It's hard to say really. I learned so  
      much, and met so many people, that it seems like a blur. Seems like  
      I was there years, and at the same time, seems like it was only a few  
      hours. 
      One thing I did learn, is that there are other like minded people out  
      there, and that those with my beliefs are alive and well. That gives  
      me a lot of hope. 
      This was a spiritual awakening of my heart! 
    And  
      finally...What Next? 
    This one  
      is easy. I didn't plan on ever leading a firewalk. I just figured that  
      I'd reach my 4 year long goal of becoming a Certified Firewalk Instructor,  
      and that would be it. I'd go on with my "normal" life, and  
      that would be enough.  
      That thought has changed. While I have no interest in changing careers  
      to become a professional Motivational Speaker, I would like to lead  
      a few firewalks. I now feel that it's part of my training, and that  
      it's my duty to share this gift, even it it's just with a select group  
      of folks. 
      Those of you who know me well know that I don't hide my beliefs. And  
      I don't intend to hide that I'm now a Certified Firewalk Instructor.  
      I know some will find it scary or offensive, but quite frankly, those  
      who will have no right to be in my personal life in the first place. 
      Fact is, if I'm open about my gifts, then those who need their healing  
      will be drawn into me. Spirit works in mysterious ways. 
      As far as the teaching goes, the two groups I'd like most to work with  
      would be Martial Arts schools, and recovery houses.  
      Those in Martial Arts are already open to many of the things I can teach,  
      so I really feel that the knowledge of these gifts will serve to strengthen  
      the gifts they have learned from their Practice.  
      And I'd like to teach to those in recovery houses as I feel those in  
      recovery from drug and alcohol abuse could really find my gifts as a  
      rock to stand on when they feel weak. We know that God is in everything,  
      but we often forget that God is within ourselves. Once we know that,  
      how could we possibly abuse our bodies, knowing that we are also abusing  
      the God within us? 
      Interested in attending a firewalk? Feel free to contact  
      me, and I'll help you find an instructor in your area.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 02 Jan. 2002
in Ritual

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