Alchemy of Fire

Fire is transformative

In shamanism, we use fire to release old beliefs and patterns.  We also use fire in our energy work to dissolve old or toxic energy.

When we release our outdated beliefs and traumas to the fire, we are in essence turning them over to Spirit. This process allows for deep healing at the energetic and soul level, without having to pass through the physical or mental body. Fire is used not only for shedding the old but also for calling in the new. We call in our greatest dreams and wishes with the fire ceremony.  

Fire Ceremonies

Shamans perform fire ceremonies around the time of the lunar cycles to fully harness the moon energy that is strongest at the time of the new or full moon. It is at this time that the veils between worlds are the thinnest, and so we can use this potent time to fully release what doesn’t serve any longer. 

In this time of great change, our souls are longing for powerful rituals to create meaning and release unwanted energy. The fire ceremony is the perfect way to bring on this type of transformation. Any time you feel “blocked”, or are working on what you want to dream into your life, you can use fire to help you change and shift. 

Death Arrow

Rituals such as fire ceremonies have roots in quantum physics.

In quantum theory, consciousness affects matter as we observe it. This concept, also known as entanglement, closely correlates with ancient shamanic teachings and the use of ritual practice in shamanism. When a shaman performs a ritual such as the fire ceremony, it is for the purpose of interacting with the elements of creation, communing with helpful spirits, bringing forth transformation, and eliciting positive outcomes for the future. Shamans know that everything we do, say, or think, is altering the fabric of reality. When we truly understand the implications of “dreaming the world into being”, we have the potential to become responsible conscious creators or dreamers.

When we come to the sacred fire, we bring a symbol of what we are releasing to the fire. As such, we create what we call a “death arrow” that we use to symbolically and energetically release whatever it is that doesn’t serve us any longer. In this way, the death arrow serves as the medium to disentangle our energy from the energy of what we are releasing. We use the death arrow to honor what we are releasing before we pass it to the fire for transmutation. 

The death arrow is comprised of some type of burnable natural material such as a small wooden stick or wooden toothpick. It can be decorated or left plain. To connect with what is being released, it is important to honor it. We spend a few moments in silent meditation fully connecting with what we are releasing. We honor it, we thank it for the lessons it has brought to us, and we affirm with the intention that we are ready to let it go. Next, we blow our intention of what we are releasing into the stick 3 times. 

Creating A Sacred Fire Ceremony

In the teachings of the Qéro lineage of Andean Shamanism it is customary to do the fire ceremony outdoors where we can connect deeply with the earth.  However, a fire ceremony can be performed with a candle or an indoor fireplace as well. It is also powerful to hold the ceremony at night where the contrast of darkness and fire can reveal powerful changes in the flame. The elements reinforce the deep bond with mother earth and the stars and sky above.

To prepare:

Place kindling in the shape of the Southern Cross and then put logs in a tepee shape on top of that. Next, create sacred space by calling in the four directions (south, west, north, and east) and honoring Mother Earth and Father Sky as described in the Sacred Space article (here). Next, the fire is lit and this chant is sung as the fire gets going.  

The chant goes:

Nitche Tai Tai, N-U-Y
Oro Nika Oro Nika
Hey Hey…Hey Hey
Ooo Ai

The chant can be loosely translated as: 

O Great Mother, Mother of the Waters
We call on you, waters of our birth
Waters of our sustenance
Waters that cleanse us on our death
Waters of life.

Next, we perform a ritual to make the fire “friendly”. This ritual includes 3 offerings to the fire. The first offering honors the four directions and after the honoring, olive oil is sprinkled on the fire. The fire should be allowed to burn until you sense it is time for the second offering. The intention of the second offering is to honor the heavens and earth and again after olive oil is sprinkled, allow the fire to burn for some time. For the third and last offering, we connect the circle around the fire by honoring all of those who are present. This may include spirits of the land or ancient energetic beings and other spirit guides and angels. 

With the addition of these offerings, the fire will become “friendly”, meaning it will change color and burn in a different manner. We notice this change through discovery, practice, direct observation, and experience.

Friendly Fire and Holding Space

Once the fire is friendly, then each person at the ceremony approaches the fire one at a time.  The person who is at the fire will then silently release his other stick into the fire. In this way, the prayers are released to Spirit for transformation back to the light. As each person is at the fire, another member of the circle may stand behind them to hold space for them as they are at the fire. If there is no one else at the ceremony, the lineage or ancestors may be invited to stand behind. 

As you watch your offering burn, bring the smoke from the fire to the three main energy centers- the belly, the heart, and the forehead. Shamans believe that if you come with pure heart and intention, then the fire will not burn you. You can touch the flames lightly or go deeply into them. When you place your hand into the flame, it is not meant to be sensational or dramatic, but rather a way to focus attention and energy upon your transformation.

Pachamama, Mother Earth Stick

After all of the ceremony participants have approached the fire and released their stick, there is one additional offering that is presented. This offering is placed in the fire for the earth and is typically called the “Pachamama” or “Mother Earth” stick. Each person in the circle blows their prayers for the healing of the earth and the planet into the stick before it goes into the fire. Next, the sacred space is then closed. We always stay with the fire until all the prayers are consumed. Ideally, the fire is allowed to burn to embers. Water should not be placed on the fire to extinguish it, only dirt if necessary.

An Opening to Heal

In the two weeks following the fire ceremony, there could be “instances of opportunity” that appear. These instances provide the opportunity to translate your intent for healing, into reality. The fire ceremony is not an instantaneous magical change, but rather, an opening to heal and shift distinctive habits and patterns and ultimately to manifest a different dream.


Article by Louie Valotti – Co Founder of Genesis & Facilitator

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