Night Fires

Night Fires

January often begins as a season of resolutions. By the end of the month, though, many of us have made them, broken them, and have gone back to our hedonistic, sloppy, flawed lives. Many of us have come to think of resolutions as shallow and have resolved not to even make them in the first place. Still, there must be something to the way that we are pulled to do things differently, to re-align ourselves:  when necessary; when we’re re-evaluating our lives; when we long for True North.

The language of ‘making resolutions’ feels different than the concept of ‘setting intentions,’ which includes the ingredient of reflection. How might we move toward a different, more constructive vision of engaging with ourselves and with the world?

Do you set intentions or make resolutions?  Does it make a difference to you?

Many of us are familiar with the practice of writing down the qualities and stories that we don’t want to bring with us into the new year.  Then we burn those scraps of paper, and the power of Fire weakens the connections we’ve established between our stories and any resulting unhappiness. Still, those same qualities and stories that we’ve released through fire actually began through pieces of our consciousness and intelligence. These were, and are still, good medicine. Fire releases their essences, making them available to us again, freeing up energy to weave into the present as part of changing, healing visions.

Which brings me to Night Fires. This is an annual, extraordinary  celebration of Winter Solstice that a local theater group presents.  Rooted in diverse and ancient traditions, it blends performance art, poetry, song, and story into a few hours of quiet, joyful, uplifting liturgy. When I speak of it to friends and folks who’ve never heard of it before, I never do it justice. Night Fires defies simple explanations, partly because so much of its magic happens on the inside, in layers. It unfolds.  This article captures part of it.

It’s visionary, exploratory. It traces the ancient paths of our ancestors, awakening and nourishing seeds of mysterious knowing in us.  It reminds us of what’s possible when we drop down into our deepened selves.  Night Fires reminds us of who we are and where we came from.

That’s what I want to carry forward.

May it be so.

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2 Comments

  1. Sounds totally awesome! I did quite a bit of reading of the druids and well as the Native American and Wicca cultures…Just wish I didn’t live where I’m at now…Christianity Central America…with churches everywhere…only a few Native Americans around actually practicing some of their traditions, such as the partaking of a sweat lodge totally naked. I’d like to return back once my freedom is complete and participate in some of the more ancient traditions.

    As far as intentions and resolutions go…yes I think they are different. Especially today for as you said an intention requires inner reflection into what direction the heart calls; resolutions seem to be generated from the material world of people saying “you should…” So I am one not to set resolutions, but intentions yes. I absolutely intend to publish my autobiography whether I’m given the “free bird” card yet or not, for I already feel free on the inside and that’s what matters the most.

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  2. Nice to have put into words something that has been a ritual of mine for many New Years now – the setting of intentions. I think they are also the setting of spiritual challenges, as the fortitude to keep to your intention is often strengthened necessarily by lessons to be learnt from it. My intention for this year was to cultivate grace; there have been challenges to this politically and culturally in my country where I need to face the ugliness of the present and somehow still see the goodness in the process and the people; physical challenges have also been a large part of the year and how they have impacted upon my marriage too. Finding the joy and love in life when life is throwing you a few spanners and sharing it with those who mean most to you, this is the challenge in cultivating grace. Each year brings a new attempt to be a bigger and better person. May we all achieve our dreams.

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