First Steps

Tolly laid down the rake, stepped up to the fiery path, and, with just the briefest pause, walked quickly across the coals. I registered that he took six steps and that he seemed okay, when suddenly another person walked across, and then another. I noticed my head shaking, side to side, as I watched feet sinking down into glowing, red, hot coals. People continued walking, one after another, and our singing steadily picked up, becoming more excited, more vibrant. My mind went blank, while my feet, acting on their own, carried me slowly toward the top of the path. My trembling increased and I sang even louder. Suddenly it was my turn and moments later I moved — seven quick steps — I had walked on fire!

I felt overwhelmed with joy and found myself applauding each succeeding walker. The energy between us continued to rise, higher and higher, becoming more and more excited. It was all so beautifully stunning — the fire, the circle, the singing, the stars, the moon — and the wonderful feeling of grass beneath my happy feet. At last a strong shout of joy exploded through the group. Some people hugged, everyone laughed, and then slowly we all filtered back inside.

Where will this take us? . . . Perhaps we will be able to heal ourselves simply by thinking positively about ourselves. Perhaps we will be able to regenerate new limbs, increase our intelligence, and even live for 500 years or more. If we can learn to live together as a species, we will not just survive this world, we will create it as well as other worlds beyond our present dreams. The intelligence of the body quantum is absolutely unlimited. —Fred Alan Wolf


Later, as I called home to assure my wife and friends that I had survived it, feet intact, I began to feel a little let down. Obviously it had been a long, exhausting day. Somehow I had expected more difficulty; it just seemed too easy. I mean, if anyone could do this, then. . . .


Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said, "one can't believe impossible things." "I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." —Lewis Carroll

...the fire had become friendly and inviting, the singing inspired, the group intensely bonded, with a shared sense that anything was possible.

Dancing with the Fire

Unless otherwise noted, all text is from the book, Dancing With the Fire (Bear & Co, 1989), by Michael Sky.