Fire Walkers

read ( words)

DERVISH: - Whirling and ecstatically altering their conscious and soul full interconnections with all around them. These people of the Middle East are a lot like Native dancers and dream dancers from the whole of the world and deep into the dark recesses of human existence on earth. Needless to say their behavior has little relevance for the western academics of such soul-denying professions as those who do NOT know how to actually cure people or why the soul is important in that process of wholistic balance in human lives-and JOY! The quotation from the book 'Wonder Child' is the kind of thing we should read over and over again until we know why it makes 'common sense' versus the constant bombardment of manipulative messages and fear-mongering to divide the human family.

In our entry on the origins of language (Ogham) we mentioned 'Huna' and Max Freedom Long's work with the chants and mind-altering effects of the Hawaiian language. Here we see him engaged in something the 'real' world we live in, can seldom observe, and most scientists would hesitate to hold forth their 'expertise' and try to explain.

"Max Freedom Long gives a detailed account of how his mentor, Dr W. T. Brigham of the British Museum, was taken onto fresh boiling lava near a volcano on Kona Island by three Kahuna - local magicians. They instructed him to take his boots off as they would not be covered by the Kahuna protection, {The 'protection' needs more conscious soul to connect with or through the state the Kahuna [perhaps Druids are their teachers according to my Wiccan high priestess] generate with their discipline and understanding.} but he refused. As he watched one of the three walk calmly onto the lava flow, the other two suddenly pushed him and finding himself on the hot lava, he had no choice but to keep on running to the other side. In the course of the 150-foot dash, his boots and socks were burned off. The three Kahunas, still strolling barefoot on the lava, burst into laughter as they pointed out the trail of bits of burning leather.

What does go on in a fire-walk? Dr White expresses the widely held view that the walkers are in an exalted state of mind which suppresses pain. Yet there are fire-walks without trance or ecstasy. Neither is there any evidence to suggest that damaged tissues heal up so rapidly that they are not noticed (a process sometimes observed among Dervish, Hindu, Balinese and other body-piercing devotees) {Including piercing with swords.}. In The Crack in the Cosmic Egg (1973) by J. C. Pearce, the author suggests that the firewalk is a classic illustration of the creation of a new reality (albeit temporary and local) in which fire does not burn {But why did Brigham's boots burn?} in the familiar way. As long as this reality is maintained all is well, but the history of the fire-walk contains many accounts of gruesome fatalities and shocking damage to those whose faith is snapped {Brigham was not a 'faithful'.} so that they were plunged back into the world where fire burns. The magical state of affairs in which flesh, and sometimes other material, is immune to fire is created, it seems, by the person who officiates at fire-walking ceremonies. Leroy's Muslim writhed on the ground in agony as soon as the Maharajah announced the end of the proceedings. It was explained to the bishop that the man had taken the burning upon himself. In 'Women Called Wild', Mrs Rosita Forbes describes a fire-dance ceremony in Surinam, presided over by a virgin priestess, among descendants of African slaves who had intermarried with the local Indians. The priestess was in a trance for the duration of the fire-dance, and if she had emerged from it unexpectedly, the dancers would no longer have been immune from the flames. We have to agree with Dr Comey that psychical and psychological theories alone do not account for what happens {Unless you are more than just a psychic like the Kahuna, Druids and Yamabushi.}, and that some physical phenomenon takes place?

{This is the crux of the lack of 'thinking' that goes on in the paradigm which tries to say it is 'open-minded' and able to observe the real world. What is psychic if not physical? Are they saying cellular phones are able to communicate through 'magic'? Just because you can't see 'protection' or conscious attunements that make each part of the body able to absorb the fire's energy and translate it to other specific uses doesn't mean it isn't real.} ? which has not been understood or explained.

Pearce's theory of fire-immunity as a product of a state of temporary reality invoked by a magician explains why the fire-walk has so shocked and offended those who depend on using the reality they have grown accustomed to as a bulwark against the apparition which Freud {Whose student Jung, said Freud was unable to contemplate the metaphysical real world due to his fears and insecurities.} called 'the black tide of occult mud'. In recent years, however, fire-walking has been used in the West as a motivational tool in the more extreme types of leadership training as well as in courses for personal growth and development. The successful fire-walker achieves a 'natural high' through the conquest of his or her rational fear, a triumph of 'mind over matter' that sets them apart as a kind of shaman and enables them to believe that they are capable of achieving anything." (11)

The de-materialization entry has some application in another approach to 'possibility-thinking' for what might be going on here. In bi-location a body may de-materialize and send itself through the cosmos to another place like teleportation. Thus appearing to be in two places almost simultaneously. OK! If you have a better explanation for actual occurrences, I'm listening! Let us give you the experience of Joseph Campbell of a trip to Japan, first; and then all of us can 'think' about what is really going on. The key thing in this story that adds to the Brigham or other experiences is the 'healing use' of the energy in the fire.

"On May 21, the Buddhist saint Shinren's birthday, the streets of the neighborhood were hung with colorful streamers and lanterns. Airplanes flew overhead strewing paper lotus petals, and enormous crowds surged everywhere in the streets of Kyoto. Campbell and his companions watched a few minutes of the Noh-play taking place on the Nishi Honganji temple grounds, and then were whisked rather urgently away to the ninth-century Fu-do Myo-o-in temple. As they arrived, so did an important-looking Shinto priest in full regalia, and then a small group of Buddhist monks. 'One cannot tell where the Buddhism ends and the Shinto begins,' wrote Campbell.

They were early and were given seats in the front row facing the altar. But the ceremony due shortly to unfold would be conducted by neither traditional Buddhist nor Shinto priests, but officiants more akin to shamans: the Yamabushi, the independent mountain-dwelling ascetics of Japan.

'There was a large, square, roped-off area before us, with a big, square pyre in the middle, covered with evergreen boughs. Beyond that was an altar, the length of one side of the area, set with offerings: cakes, oranges, etc., all neatly stacked. At each comer of the area was a large wooden tub of water with a long-handled scoop--to be used on the fire. And in the comer at our right was a large bell-gong set on a table. At about 4:30 p.m. the Yamabushi arrived - in their fantastic costumes. They had been on a procession through certain parts of the town. (Biblio and notes bring us important historical insight: 'This curious order of monk-magicians,' Campbell wrote in his journal, 'is said to have appeared in the 8th century, as a protest against the governmental control of the Buddhist religion comparable in a way, I should say, to the hermit movement in Christendom after the moment of Constantine. Refusing the usual ordinations by the government, they retired to the mountains and lived as holy hermits, and like the friars of later Europe, were responsible for spreading the religion among the common people. Buddhism in Japan before their time had been largely an aristocratic affair. Moreover, they were strongly influenced by the 7th century Tantric lore and principles.')

They stood in two rows before the altar, and beating time with the jingles of the staffs and batons in their right hands, chanted, ensemble, the 'hridaya' sutra. This finished, they went and settled on the seats prepared for them at the two sides of the area. The abbot in his robe came to our side and sat facing the altar. And another, very nice gentleman, who was a kind of second abbot, came and thanked us for being present. {The honor of energy and soul among the rituals of all disciplines is more than Robert's Rules of Order or any polite and pernicious etiquette.}

In a moment, another, smaller group of Yamabushi arrived and were ceremoniously challenged at the entrance by two Yamabushi guardians. In a kind of Noh play dialogue...the newcomers, through their leader, were asked the meaning of the term Yamabushi and the reason for each of the elements of the costume. The replies were given with great force - as though an actual battle were taking place {It is my opinion that much ancient art and frescoes showing battles are of this nature and that many battles were avoided by use of such display of force.}, and in the end, when they had proven themselves, the new group was admitted to sit with the rest, after ceremonially circumambulating the pyre.

A little Yamabushi now got up, with a long bow and a sheaf of arrows, and at each of the comers pretended to shoot an arrow into the air. {Were the comers aligned with the points on a compass like the sabbat rituals, with their fires surrounding?}

Next, another Yamabushi got up with a sword, and, after praying before the pyre, waved it at the pyre and returned to his seat. The abbot stood before the pyre and read a sutra from a piece of paper which was tucked into the pyre. And then the stage was set for the great event.

It began with two Yamabushi bearing long, flaming faggots, one at either side of the pyre, reaching in, low, and setting the pyre aflame. (Biblio and notes: 'Campbell wrote in his journal: 'It is most remarkable that in the Goma fire sacrifice that we were about to witness, elements of the Brahminical Soma sacrifice, as well as of the much later Tantric Buddhism of the great medieval period were synthesized, and colored, moreover, with the tincture of Shinto. Hanging around the sacred area were strings bearing the jagged paper offerings characteristic of Shinto--not white, but colored.')

It went up with a great belch of smoke, which billowed heavily to the left (our left) and completely engulfed the Yamabushi. Since I was taking pictures, I was glad that the; breeze leaned in that direction-{Smoke is easily moved and the Yamabushi were so gracious that they made it possible for him to see and take photos, too.} though the air seemed, actually quite still. Rather soon, that side of the area cleared and the smoke curved around back of the pyre and over to the right, and then, rapidly, it engulfed our part of the area: remaining, however, only for a moment, it was, presently, back where it had been at the start {Where the Yamabushi would imbue their energy through smoke to fire and then logs, perhaps.}. It was a terrific mass of smoke, full of sparks and blazing fragments, and when it came around our way again {Picking up energy of the four primary forces at the cardinal grid points.} it burned a couple of neat little holes in my blue Dacron suit--which has been my chief suit throughout this journey. There was a great chant in progress that reminded me more of the noise of the Navajos than anything I've ever heard {And he traveled widely as a scholar observing with an open mind the spiritual and rich cultural heritage shared in similar ways throughout every region of the world.}, and the general atmosphere was a bit exciting. One of the young men inside the area came over and said something to Haru, who then pointed out to me a Yamabushi who was sitting about eight feet off my starboard bow. 'That's the one,' he said, 'who is making the smoke go round.' I looked, and suddenly realized what I was witnessing. The chant was filling all the air. The smoke, definitely, was circulating in the clockwise direction (Joseph illustrates this with a rightward pointing swastika in his journal {The swastika is adapted by Gurdjieff from a Tibetan symbol and mandala of great antiquity.}): and this Yamabushi, with an attendant beside him, sitting on his shins, was moving his hands, pushing, conjuring, and pulling, like a cowboy turning a steer with a rope--only the rope couldn't be seen. I was so surprised I felt a sudden thump inside me, and I began taking photos of this little man, like mad. Four Yamabushi with water scoops, meanwhile, were dipping water onto the sides of the fire--ostensibly to keep the flames under control, but perhaps also to give a bit of mechanical assistance to the magic.

After a while, when the smoke diminished and the flames increased, my Yamabushi began, ceremonially, tossing little stacks of wooden tablets onto the fire, on which the votive prayers of individuals in the congregation had been inscribed... When all the packets had been thrown in, the pyre was pulled apart and the logs were dragged over to a pit on the right side of the area over which they were placed, as a log lid. Beneath, the flaming coals and smaller wood then was put so that tongues of flame leapt up between the logs--and many of the people of the congregation, removing their 'getas' and 'zori', prepared to walk across. The nice gentleman who had welcomed us would be the first to go. The wizard was at one end of the pit conjuring a power to cure into the fire and cooling the flames: his assistant was at the other end, doing the same. And so, since I had seen, through his work on the smoke, that he was a true master of fire, I caught the fever and began to decide that I might walk across too.

I was wearing on my right ankle--the one I had sprained at Angkor-- an Ace bandage, which it took me a while to undo. This made me the last on the line, but the flames were still leaping up high between the logs-- say, some eight or ten inches. The two youngsters just in front of me dashed across as fast as they could, but I decided to take my time and see what it really was like to walk on a wizard's fire. My first step, with my right foot, was a bit timid, and a bit off to the side, where there were no leaping flames. But then I thought, 'Well now, come on!' and seeing a nice fat flame right in front, I put my left foot down on top of it, squarely. Crackle! The hairs on the lower part of my leg were singed and a pleasant smell of singed hair went up all around me, but to my skin the flame was cool--actually cool. This gave me great courage, and I calmly completed my walk, strolling slowly and calmly right down the center of the road. Three more steps brought me to the end, and the hands of several Yamabushi helped me off. I went back to our seats, and the two ladies in our group were gasping at what I had done. I went out to one of the water tubs to wash my feet and get into my socks and shoes- -and it was only when I was putting on my right shoe that I noticed that the swelling in my ankle had gone down {The day might come when we see healers at work with sports personnel.}: all the pain had disappeared too. Around the remains of the fire in the center of the area a lot of little old women were standing who had gone over the fire, holding their hands out to the burning cinders and then rubbing their poor, aching backs--dear souls. It had certainly been a great and wonderful event. The courteous gentleman was greatly pleased that I had participated and invited us all to come back someday. We gathered our things and presently strolled away.

{The notes say he was told a month later that the layout of the fire had much to do with why the smoke behaved as it did. The authors ask a good question. Why make believe it was magic and not tell people? This is the way of power and manipulation but the fire work they did was already most impressive, so one might allow they simply thought the smoke was a part of the ritual and not the real point anyway.}

Two days later Joseph wrote to Jean about the event: 'When you come to Tokyo I'll show you three cute little fire holes in the suit, which I shall wear henceforth with secret knowledge.--The next day (22nd) I walked some eight or ten miles at Nara and Horinji--and the ankle is still good.'

Shortly after Jean had received her letter, she got a phone call from Aldous Huxley, who wanted to speak to Joseph. Jean, still full of the excitement of the account, told Huxley the whole story, how Joe was in Japan and had just firewalked. Huxley became excited and told his friend Gerald Heard, also interested in magic and the paranormal, who later contacted Campbell to get his firsthand account of the experience.

Campbell later learned that Fu-do Myo-o, the name of the patron deity of the temple where he had seen the 'Ceremony, means 'very still, even in fire,' Sometimes the god is depicted as a red figure sitting in a fire, with one eye open and one eye closed, like the Norse deity Odin. Japan had already shown Campbell its artful surfaces, now she showed her mythic depths." (12)

What a bunch of weirdos believing in such trash! No wonder Huxley and Campbell are the epitome of the New Age that wishes to get back to what Australian aboriginal adepthoods or nature-worshippers allover the world remind us is our true roots. Here in places where no journalists or empire builders have polluted the human environment we find talent and discipline that took hundreds of thousands of years to refine and yet science today has no explanation.

Does the consciousness within the atoms of the body choose to be there? Bucky Fuller writes that the finely crafted wood in an artisan's sculpture or furniture is there because it chooses this in some manner that involves us or our design leader the soul. The ability of these atomic level consciousnesses to be worked with in the case of the healing fire is greater than most firewalkers and indicates a cross matter communication. It is one thing for affinity to exist in the muons separated at the old Inco nickel mines in Sudbury, to communicate. When one is energized, the other moves; it was reported in the last year or so. It is another level entirely when these atomic and conscious forces do so almost independently with other bodies and kinds of matter they have no apparent innate similarity to. As in the case of de-materialization the atoms of the body are released from the intellectual and other bonds we place upon them through whatever holds us and keeps us from knowing the beauty of the next realms; or what we are part of (in the multi-dimensional soul, or as reported in past lives). If we really try to find explanations they are there! The conscious specialness humanity carved out for itself through ego and ignorance is not so great as those materially focused people would like it to be; and that begs the quest- ion of the great bard himself! 'To be or not, to be?' And where you place the punctuation allows a lot of different points of view in this question especially when you place the concept of righteousness after the last word by saying 'To be or not to be, Divine?'

Author of Diverse Druids
Columnist for The ES Press Magazine
Guest 'expert' at

Rate this article
Current Rating 0 stars (0 ratings)
Click the star above that marks your rating