Monday 22 August
by Francesco Benvenuti
In these past few weeks I have really started to feel an increased desire to see my friends, my community, to pretend that the lock-down is finishing soon and that the whole COVID situation will resolve itself very soon. As many of the people I talk to I go up and down and I try to focus my mind and intention on what I think could be a supporting offering and use of my energy to benefit me and other people.
There is a big part of me that has lost a lot of the momentum for doing “exciting” things online, of attending family Zoom meetings, offering online Qi-gong classes or Mantra chanting sessions… as I got bored and tired of starring at a screen. I find myself instead craving more and more for nature, to be re-connecting to something true that I can feel a deep and ancient resonance with in my bones and in my blood.
And every-time I feel down, or demotivated I have been lucky enough to live nearby a beautiful forest in the outskirt of Edinburgh, and I have gone for ran in nature, spending time silently looking at birds, listening to the water flowing or looking at the clouds passing by. Yet there’s is one thing, above all others that keep re-igniting my passion for life and gifting me a sense of spiritual and purposeful connection to life: A real Fire, and its Mysterious nature.
Looking at a fire and starring into its flame is something I have learnt to appreciate deeply and whole-heartedly has one of the wonder of life. I have worked with Fire and, over the years I learnt a lot about the wisdom it carries, the lessons it can offer, and the way that is is celebrated and honoured through-out many cultures . Over the past few years I have indeed travelled a lot and and spent much time with indigenous tribe in Mexico, South and Central America, as well as learnt with European teachers about the ritualistic role of the Sacred Fire in the Celtic tradition.
Some of my favourite memories in this life are indeed around some Bonfire, either singing together, sharing harmonies, playing music, sharing prayers, listening to each others poems or reflections, starring into the flames of some huge blazing bonfire, cooking tatties and connecting the some spiritual intentional moment through ritual.
Fire used to be much more integral part of our communities and how we lived. Our ancestors spent so much time sitting in a circle around the fire either in tribal council gatherings, to discuss and share opinion about their community, or in celebration and ceremony. Nobody can be at the centre of the circle and have more relevance in the discussion as a fire facilitate a circular way of relating to each others.
There is a say that goes: “we are all new flames of an ancient fire” and I am a big advocate or the importance of curtailing more time in our busy life schedule, to re-gather around a fire as community. By doing so we can all re-learn how to care for a shared flame, as well as how fire as a metaphor can help us understand how to find balance within and how to support a healthy outer and inner community.
The Fire is a teacher in itself as well as a mysterious ancient portal where, with focussed intention, we can send prayer and receive all the time-less prayers that our ancestors have prayed, sang, danced in that fire before us.
I love to think that these flames we are looking int are the very same energy which travelled across infinite space and time, from the Original Big Bang! from far away galaxies, to then manifest as the Sun in our solar system, travel to the planet Earth, to then somehow be captured by the leaves of a tree, be transformed into wood, and then ultimately released back to brighten the night, through burning.
There are so many things I’d like to share about the Fire and all we can learn from it… yet I would love to share a poem I wrote while tending the Fire over the past Summer solstice on the 21st June. Hoping that it will convey some of the magic I want to nurture in my life through tending my internal fire and connecting it to a broader spiritual context in the world:
how come you are so alluring, yet ungraspable?
A presence that reminds me of what’s like to learn about pain
through the polarity of loving and fearing love,
the bright and the darkness
Your existence is a pure dance where the expression of movement and dynamism
leave behind still and silent ashes, fertile as gold, yet spent of any breath.
When contained you bring beauty, yet when wild you rage and destroy
I tried to grasp one of your flames many times
always failing as you teach that a flame is merely a bridge to another flame
and that a bridge with no ridge to bridge, can only dissipate and die lonely.
My heart feels so warm in your home, yet I crave other flames to share you with.
The incandescent bubbling pulse of your embers
full of microscopic lava-veins pushing from the deep core
reminds me that all I need is within me,
that my soul purpose is to push through the hard shell and shine my potential in the night
As your embers though, I seem to retain my bright passioned colour
only when surrounded by community and other embers
supporting each other potential to rise into pure flames
and to truly dance our unique soul flare
You are so fast and abundant when you wake,
never ceasing to speak your crackling truth , beyond opinion or judgement
You simply follow the law of lest resistance
as you flow into a spark of ever-renewed existance
As your thousand limbs dance toward the sky
I wonder why you are rushing so fast to dissipate and merge with the night..
Where are you going? What is your destination?
Do you miss the Sun? You going back to him?
If I was you I would only exist for a short moment
I would fully and utterly “BE” my full self for once.
But, if I disappear as fast as you do
who could be here in this dark night enjoying your creation of perfection?
As I kindle you, respectfully and kindly
I kindle my own soul, I now see
As the lesson you teach are felt, not understood.
Consuming the visible and physical to create the mystical and invisible,
I see my loved ones reflected in your many faces
and I sing for you, for her, for them,
for your warmth.
To end this post I would like to mention that , related to the many reasons I shared above, I am soon going to be holding fortnightly “Fireside Medicine Prayers Circles” at the Salisbury Centre to offer a space for all, new and old community members, friends, elders and young people, to gather around the Sacred Fire to explore and reclaiming the role or Ritual, Ceremony & Prayer in our life to:
If you would like to know more please see this Link Here
(Due to Covid-19 restrictions these prayers circles over next few months will be limited to 10 people)
Or get in touch via: FrancescoBenvenuti.email@example.com
Warm wishes to all and thanks for reading!
I’ve been spending the last 7/8 years most of the time in solitude, painting, dancing, and working/playing with my dreams….