Portals of Entry

Welcome to Spark – and to the sacred fire circle. You may be wondering what will happen during our ritual. You may be hoping someone will tell you what to expect. Well, we’ve done this for years, but we can’t answer that question. Not because it’s a secret – or a mystery revealed only to an initiated few – but because we don’t know what will happen either!

Our ritual is a ceremony of spontaneity, a practice of being present in the moment. Every time we meet, the circle is different. It depends on who shows up and what energy each person brings. Together, we co-create an inspiring and empowering ritual to foster personal growth and community harmony. And the main ingredients are body, mind, and spirit.

Nonetheless, we’ve discovered there are a few metaphors that might help make sense of what transpires. We see our circle as having five portals, five ways of entering and experiencing magic. You can think of them in connection to the elements and the directions…

Air: The Portal of Voice

In the east, the domain of Air, is the portal of voice. In this circle, we open our voices together. We sing and we chant. We speak from our hearts. We listen to one another, and sometimes we honor the silence.

We tend to sing in English. If you don’t know the words, just sidle up next to someone and try to learn them. As far as we’re concerned, everyone’s voice is beautiful. You don’t have to be a professional singer to sing with us at Spark.

Feel free to start a chant of your own, recite a poem, tell a story, share what’s on your mind. Watch for a time when the energy feels receptive to something new, and speak your piece. Yet remember that every word uttered in sacred space casts a spell, so please take casual conversation to a quiet corner.

As you release your voice, ask yourself … Will this bring me closer? To myself? To others? To Spirit?

Fire: The Portal of Music

In the south, the domain of Fire, is the portal of music. In this circle, we make music together. We clap. We play drums and other instruments. Bring your own, or feel free to grab a shaker off the rattle altar.

We encourage sonic diversity. Generally we play non-melodic instruments, as repetitive rhythms facilitate trance. But there’s room for everything now and then. Flutes, didgeridoo, clarinet, singing bowls, guitar, shofar, berimbau, chimes, dulcimer, mandolin… all have been heard in the circle at one time or another.

We’ve limited the number of seats in the drum zone on purpose. Please wait for one to open up rather than adding more. This is not a drum circle. It’s a sacred ritual with many parts. Music is an expression of the divine, and yet it’s not an end in itself. The drumming is in service to the dance, in service to the chants, in service to the whole.

Keep your eyes open. Stay in touch with the other musicians, in tune with what’s happening in the circle. And, again, be sure to honor the silence sometimes to see what arises in that space.

As you create music, ask yourself… Will this bring me closer? To myself? To others? To Spirit?

Water: The Portal of Movement

In the west, the domain of Water, is the portal of movement. In this circle, we move together. Let your body be free. Let it feel the rhythm and express emotion through motion.

We dance alone, and we dance in groups. We run and jump and spin and slide. Mirror someone else and join that ride. Or stride slowly in your own orbit. Perhaps the music will carry you to the gratitude zone – the open area at the heart of the drum pit – where you can bask in the beat and thank the musicians with your dancing feet. Or perhaps it will carry you out into the darkness of the backyard.

The circle is a cauldron, so we keep stirring it all night long. Please keep moving – quickly or slowly – if you’re inside the ring of lights. And, when the urge to stop arises, flow to the edge of the circle. You might stand right on the rim of that cauldron, helping prevent energy from escaping the vessel. Or you might wander off to sit in a quiet corner. And, just as the most sacred expression of sound can be silence, at times we let our bodies honor stillness.

As you choose to move, ask yourself… Does this bring me closer? To myself? To others? To Spirit?

Earth: The Portal of Nurturing

In the north, the domain of Earth, is the portal of nurturing. In this circle, we nurture ourselves and we nurture one another. Stay alert and consider how you can tend to your fellow travelers.

Perhaps it’s time to fetch water for thirsty drummers, dancers, and singers. Discover the grateful grins which reward those who bring chocolate from the food altar around as an offering. And you’ll be sure to make friends fast if you help tend to the space, sharing the tasks of set up and clean up.

Most of all, nurture yourself. Give yourself permission to stretch and grow. We support one another in the process of transformation. We stay available to the needs of our friends, even as we take responsibility for ourselves.

At some point, you may head off to the “healers’ corner,” where you can curl up amongst the pillows and blankets. Experienced energy workers may be there to share their gifts, but no one has the right to touch you without permission. We take responsibility for our own safety, and we honor the boundaries between us.

Nurture yourself throughout the night, asking… What can I do that will bring me closer? To myself? To others? To Spirit?

Spirit: The Portal of Intention

Why do we do these things? Why do we pass through the portals of voice, music, movement, and nurturing? Why do we run around in circles all night in an unpredictable explosion of energy?

In the center, the domain of Spirit, is the portal of intention. Only you know why you come to the circle. Perhaps you come to celebrate. Perhaps you come to grieve. Or maybe you just want to see what Spark is all about. The circle can accept, amplify, and transform all things.

So step into the circle, and pass through the portals consciously. Do so with an open heart, a receptive mind, a vulnerable spirit. Come to the circle with your individual intention and let yourself sing that intention, dance that intention, turn it into music. Use that intention to nurture yourself and to serve others. See where this journey takes you.

And as you explore your intention, ask yourself… Does it bring me closer? To myself? To others? To Spirit?

Stretch, stretch, stretch…

Finally, don’t get stuck in your comfort zone. If you always drum, put that djembe down and try to dance. If you’re afraid to sing, throw caution to the wind and cut loose with your voice. If you always leave the clean-up to others, discover the joys of serving your community. This is a safe place to try new things.

Give yourself time to figure it out, to fit in, to feel at home. Give yourself the right to try things, even if you can’t do them perfectly. As you figure out how to fit in, use these questions as your guide… What brings me closer? To myself? To others? To Spirit?

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