Bringing in the Fire




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Bringing in the Fire
Child to the Universe
Dance into Manhood
Naming Ceremony
New House Dedication
Peace Pipe Ceremony
Song of the Pleiades
Sunrise Ceremony
Thanks to Mother Earth
Thunder Ceremony

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By Julia M. Seton

In our Woodcraft councils, we aim to light the Sacred Fire with the rubbing sticks in the ancient way of the woods. But occasionally this is impracticable for one reason or another, and it is necessary to do it otherwise. Various methods are possible; the only one impossible is to use the matches of the White man. 

The following is a form we have used with success: 

The Chief sends a messenger for the Fire Maiden. The messenger returns, salutes at the entrance, and pantomimes the approach of the Fire Maiden. 

A chanting is heard from a distance. It draws nigh, and the Fire Maiden enters, holding a bowl of fire high above her head in both hands. She stands for a moment in this pose at the entrance. When given a sign of permission by the Chief, she walks across to center, turns downstage and stands in same pose behind the altar in which the Fire is prepared. 

The four Law Reciters follow in a straight line on her entrance, hands relaxed at their sides, heads bowed. They form a straight line across the back behind the Fire Maiden. 

The Chief advances to his side of the altar and stands. The Fire Maiden drops to one knee, and the Chief takes the Fire from her. He empties this on to the prepared altar wood. At the first blaze, the Fire Maiden rises, and the four behind raise their heads and hands. 

The Fire Maiden takes four torches from her girdle, holds them in both hands over the now blazing Fire, and says: "As the Great Central Fire of all reaches out to the four corners of the earth, and kindles blazing lights, so at our sacred symbol Fire light we our lamps one each for Beauty (the first Law Reciter steps forward, receives her torch and takes her position at her lamp); Truth (the second Law Reciter as above) ; Fortitude (ditto for the third) ; and Love (ditto for the fourth). And while these lights arc blazing bright, we know that we shall grow." (See Birch Bark Rolls, early editions.) 

The Law Reciters get down on both knees, and squat back. 

The Fire Maiden continues: "Four candles are there on the shrine of this, our symbol Fire. And from them reach twelve rays twelve golden strands of this, the Law we hold." 

The Fire Maiden retires a little. The first Law Reciter gets up on to one knee, lights her torch at the Central Fire, and says: "From the Great Central Fire, I light this, the Lamp of Beauty." Then she recites her three laws, and sinks back on to her two knees. 

Ditto for the other three Law Reciters. 

When the last one is finished, all rise, and salute the Chief. He returns the salute and hands back the bowl to the Fire Maiden, who briskly leads off. 

Native Ceremonies






Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
[ Bringing in the Fire ] Child to the Universe ] Dance into Manhood ] Naming Ceremony ] New House Dedication ] Peace Pipe Ceremony ] Song of the Pleiades ] Sunrise Ceremony ] Thanks to Mother Earth ] Thunder Ceremony ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
Native Skills ] Totem Poles ] Indian Sign Language ] Indian Ceremonies ] Indian Dance ] Indian Songs ] Birch Bark Dances ] Birch Bark Songs ] Birch Bark Plays ] Indian Games for Boys ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.