Rites of passage for healing and growth.
Certified Firewalk Instructor
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.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 02 Jan. 2002