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The power of ceremony in collaboration


"It is in suffering that we become strong: “Where did we ever get the idea that life is somehow meant to be easy?” she asks. “It’s hard for everyone.”

@Kimm Fearnley, founder of the Bournemouth Beacon regularly holds her own fire ceremonies and shared with us the ritual elements and structure that make up her beautiful events. All important events in her life are marked in this way.

Your Beacon may like to embrace the ones she shares here or create something similar or perhaps you already have a practice that could be adapted.  “I have a small fire basket that I take to the beach, or light in my garden and my friends and I begin by sharing food before moving on to a fire blessing which has roots in Shamanism and other practices,” says Kimm, who simply took elements of ceremonies that appealed to her to create her own. She explains that the sharing of food symbolises feast. If you are alone and you have bread and someone else has soup and another person has cake then that is all each person has but by each bringing what they have, however small, a frugal, uninspired meal becomes a feast. For Kimm it reminds those gathered of the power of collaboration and the importance of sharing - something at the heart of Campfire.

The Fire Ceremony begins by everyone present standing in a circle around the fire. Gazing into the fire in silence reminds us of the power of the sun and the light that is within each of us. Kimm laughs and says seeing it written down makes her sound like she is a hippy! “I am definitely not a hippy but if a desire to help others, to be compassionate, to crave a kinder, better world and to connect with nature make me a hippy then you may call me what you wish!” 

She goes on to explain that during the ceremony she asks those present to face the North. Everyone in the group turns and she speaks of how the North represents the challenges we all face in life. Using her Shamanic knowledge, she calls upon the Gods of the North to bring challenges and asks for the tools to overcome whatever awaits and reminds the group that life is about growing, overcoming and learning.  She says that it is in suffering that we become strong: “Where did we ever get the idea that life is somehow meant to be easy?” she asks. “It’s hard for everyone.”

The group turns to face the East which symbolises where we have been and she reminds those present to let go of what is done, to reflect, forgive and to give thanks for the lessons. 

Next the group turns to the South which represents warmth and the beautiful moments in life. She asks the Gods of the South to bring many more of these moments over the coming months and reminds those present to take time to sit quietly and languish in the joyful moments whenever they find themselves there.

Lastly, she turns the group to the West which symbolises where we are heading - the unknown and she calls on the gods of the West to remove obstacles and fear and encourages the group to open their hearts and minds to whatever is to come and to believe in themselves.

After this the group gathers around the fire again in a circle and Kimm hands them petals which symbolise beauty and abundance. Each member of the circle is encouraged to familiarise themselves with the petals in their hands and to contemplate what is beautiful and abundant in their own lives before giving gratitude and throwing the petals into the fire. She moves on with various things such as sage for cleansing, herbs, nuts, sand, earth, wood - each one with a significance to be silently contemplated.

When these rituals are complete, there is a period of silence and quiet individual reflection and sometimes she uses singing bowls, sacred Sanskrit chants, Buddhist chants, poetry, gongs or music. Everyone is encouraged to contribute is they wish.

After this the group settle by the fire and discuss whatever is on the agenda. 

These models might be useful in the context of the Global Beacons idea which could bring Beacons across the world together to work towards social change on the key days of seasonal change - the solstices and equinoxes





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