During my trip to Sweden and Germany with the International Council of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, I found myself drawn to the energy of the ceremonial fire which burned for four days in Sweden, and three days in Germany. The fire was the place where we gathered at the beginning of each day and at the end. There were ceremonies, prayers, celebrations, healings and above all it was a place for everyone to be together in sacred space. In both countries, the fire was held in a public space, so people on the street, who had no idea what was going on, would join us out of curiosity, or perhaps because they were drawn to the fire for reasons unknown to them.
One such person was an elderly woman in Stockholm, who had been begging for money in the park where the fire was held. She appeared to be homeless, wore a scarf, and many clothes even in the summer warmth. Most of us had tried to ignore her, being told not to give money to beggars on the streets. However, the Grandmothers modeled for all of us bystanders, how to treat an elder: they invited her into the circle around the fire and then they gathered around her. One by one, each of the Grandmothers blessed her and honored her as an elder. This woman seemed stunned at first, tears glistened in her eyes as she stared in disbelief at these women praying for her. She was there at the fire each day, waiting for the Grandmothers, and each day the tears filled her eyes as they acknowledged her presence. She was not begging for anything while in that circle. She was feeling welcomed, accepted, honored and respected, which seemed to be most fulfilling to her.
As I witnessed this beautiful demonstration of unconditional love and acceptance, I thought of my inner hearth…my fire where I wish to gather the many parts of myself and help them feel at home. I wonder if the homeless ones within me, the parts of me that I would rather not see or deal with, the parts that I may be ashamed of, I wonder if I have the strength and the compassion to welcome these needy ones….can I honor them, bless them, pray for them, and accept them into the inner circle?