“Central Fire” . . . In this tradition, Central Fire is, “anything that draws people together, casting light that enables otherwise impossible perceptions for those who open their eyes.” Central Fire is a reminder that the weaving of our individual perceptions into a gathered wisdom transforms us into one People, a community united by a common purpose.

It was further understood that . . .

“The Circle of the people faced toward their council fire . . .

lit whenever there was need

lit at regular intervals to remind them

of the continuing need for consensus

for the unity of purpose.

Once the circle of the people was formed, an elder would intone:

“Let all leave behind their individual concerns, safe beyond the circle,

Let our thoughts draw toward our center.

Let us be warmed by our common purpose.”

Individuality stood around the Council Circle, yet unity grew and changed in the Circle’s center, like the flames of the council fire . . . Even when no fire was possible, the Central Fire was still there . . . lit by the mind, by the heart . . . if not by the hand. For true learning comes from that sudden spark of apprehension that lights the fire of continued and growing understanding.

The following is an excerpt from The Walking People. It beautifully describes the circle formed by the People around a central fire. (pg.62)


Formed a circle round the Fire,

each showing an attentive face

to every other person.


each waiting quietly

till the other had finished,

as they had learned to do,

a circle of silent listening

framing the wisdom each contained

until the wisdom of all was spoken,

contained at last

by the Circle of the People.

And from the sharing of Ancient Songs over many generations, the people learned to hold “Ordered Council”, learned to organize themselves in times of changing circumstance.