Fire Ceremony for Jaguar Wisdom

Begin by opening sacred space using the invocation in the Appendix of the Wisdom Wheel book. Have a journal or notebook and pen by your side to use for having a conversation with the power animal you encountered on the Island of the Sacred Animals in last month’s blog or in the Wisdom Wheel book. It will act as a sacred witness to your work and help you awaken you to your natural instincts, offering up wisdom that can assist in your evolution. Do this after your initial work with the fire—before you close sacred space.

To do the fire ceremony, you will work with a pile of small sticks—even ordinary toothpicks—that you can burn in a candle or a small bowl if you cannot work outdoors in a firepit in an area where there’s no chance of a spark setting off a larger fire. In the Amazon, shamans release to the fire what they call “death arrows,” which are sticks into which they have blown the story and energy of whatever they wish to shed. The fire will consume and then transform these energies. Then the shaman releases life arrows of intentionality, of new dreams they hope to see made manifest.

Make sure you have something to extinguish your fire if it becomes too intense and there’s a chance it might escape its container—for example, have some water to extinguish the candle you place in a bowl to work with when doing this ceremony. Then, take one stick from your pile and blow into it the feelings associated with a story that you want to shed.

Begin by blowing into a death arrow any regret you feel about your romantic relationships that makes it difficult for you to love wholeheartedly and trust in the healing power of love. You want to do this so you can release the pain and embody the lessons learned. The person that you felt abandoned or betrayed you, the one that deceived you, the one that broke their promises to you, or the one that you hurt? Name this person aloud so that you acknowledge the lingering power of that memory. Then, cast the stick holding the energy of that love relationship into the fire.

Next, create a death arrow for your fears about being disconnected from others, from love, for good. Cast it into the fire so that you transform it.

Then, create a death arrow for your fears about repeating the emotional and lifestyle patterns in your family that lead to illness and even death. You might let go of heartache and heart disease or of being consumed with anger, or even cancer.

If you don’t know what family patterns you are repeating that might manifest as illness or death, speak out loud the words “I release to the fire the death I am likely to experience because of my genetics and my choices.” Blow that into a death arrow for the fire to transform.

Any cynical belief that it’s too late to change now, that a certain type or timing of death is inevitable for you, needs to be released. If you have a belief like this, take at least one stick, one death arrow, to use in bringing that belief to the fire to burn it up. Speak your belief out loud. For example, “I release to the fire the death I think I can’t avoid because it’s too late to change my life or habits.”

Next, you will create life arrows.

Blow into the first life arrow your desire to explore new possibilities about the choices you make day to day that affect your health, well-being, and relationships. Are you ready to love more freely, without conditions and preconceived notions about the form love takes? Are you ready to adopt new beliefs about your health and how you will age and die so you can grow a new body? Are you ready to live a more enlivened life so that you can feel a sense of vitality again? Set an intention and blow it into the life arrow. Then, release it to the fire.

Remember, each life arrow that contains your intentions for living differently, for loving differently, for exploring who you might become, will be transformed by the fire into pure energy for change.

Finally, blow into a stick the intention to die without fear or regrets, with no words left unsaid or deeds not done. Place it in the fire for transformation.

Then, call upon your power animal to help you further. Take your journal or notebook, draw a line down the center of one page, and pose the following question on the left side for your power animal to answer:

Is there anything more I need to burn away in the fire to meet the challenge of jaguar and access her healing and wisdom gifts?

On the right side of the paper, write down any words and draw any image that comes to you; this is your answer. If your power animal has suggested burning away something more, create a death arrow and cast it into the fire.

Then ask your power animal the same question again, writing the answers that arise in your awareness. Then, if your power animal has suggested there is something you need to bring forth or experience to help you meet the challenge of jaguar, create a life arrow for it and cast the life arrow into the fire.

If you sense you should ask more questions of your power animal, continue this conversation, blowing energy into life and death arrows to exchange energy with the fire if that’s what you’re guided to do. The idea is to learn from your power animal what you’re resisting so that you can break out of denial about any changes you’re being challenged to make. When your intuition tells you that all is good—you have done enough work for today, thank your power animal for its guidance. Close sacred space, thanking each of the directions for helping you and remembering that you’re never alone in doing the work of the wisdom wheel: you are always receiving help from the invisible realms.