Fire Dance Chiefs
Chief Robbie Warren, Otter Woman Standing
I participated in my first Medicine Dance in 2001. I had never heard of such a thing and was a little skeptical about it, but I decided to stay open. Before the 24-hour ceremony was over, I knew I had found my spiritual path.
I have been a part of many Dances with different intentions from healing, visioning, releasing, meditating, and remembering. When I danced the Women’s Web of Life Dance in 2009, my life was forever changed. I was given the vision for the Fire Dance during that ceremony. It was a beautiful vision and it felt so powerful that I was frightened and didn’t speak of it for 3 years.
As I came to understand the intention of the Fire Dance, I knew this was not a gift for me to hold, but a gift for all the people. It has been my honor to bring the Fire Dance around the world. As the Visionary of the Dance, it is my responsibility and my joy to be the guardian of the Medicine of the Dance and to ensure it grows and continues around the planet.
As a Chief of the Fire Dance I am constantly reminded how fragile and powerful we are as humans. We have come to this planet to create change and to bring healing. Each and every person who has danced or been a part of the crew has blessed me and brought many lessons to me. I am humbled to hold this space and to be witness to the incredible strength and courage and compassion and love expressed throughout the Dance.
The Fires bring transformation and healing through the alchemy of the ceremony. They become living beings that work with us and teach each of us what we most need to learn…..that we matter. Everything we do, whether small or grand, matters and has a direct effect on the vibration of the planet. We are powerful beyond measure. We are filled with grace and compassion and we are all connected. We are One.
I am blessed to overflowing with gratitude to be a part of the ancient medicine of the Fire Dance.
Chief Brandy Winn, Standing Strong Woman
That fire dance burned a clear path allowing me to step into my medicine. As a result of staying in connection with this dance, Spirit allowed me continuous opportunities to stand in my medicine and in service to my community as a lodge leader, fire keeper, International Dance Coordinator, Teacher, Healer, and Practitioner. I have traveled to Norway, South Africa, and Iceland serving this dance and teaching the Red Road.
The Fire Dance ceremony is like going home for me, I carry it close to my heart. I have witnessed this ceremony around the globe, and I am always in awe of the magic that is weaved together by the fires and alchemy. I have seen people transform, transmute, release, and claim a new life before my eyes. The medicine of this dance is unlike anything I have witnessed in this lifetime. I am honored and humbled to hold the space as a Chief of the Fire Dance, and I look forward to co-creating life-changing ceremonies with you, my tribe.
Chief Bregje van der Zouwen - Blokx, Strong Heart Medicine Bear
“Do you want to reconnect?” the Spirit of the Lodge Fire said…
I was flabbergasted because I was looking at the Stone people, the Ancestors, as they were gently placed in the Lodge by the Fire Keeper. Then all of a sudden, the last Stone spontaneously caught Fire even before the Water pourer got a chance to Bless it. Igniting all the other Stones a big Fire suddenly lit up. So bright it brought an amazing sight to the otherwise pitch-dark Lodge. This Fire seems to last a lifetime, but looking back I guess that it was only there for a few seconds, maybe not even that
These few seconds, however, would change my Life and that of my Family, forever… “
Would you like to reconnect?” The Fire asked, I was startled by that question, and almost tried to look around and behind me to see who the Fire was talking to because I was filled with amazement. I had been to Lodges before, and to Sacred ceremonies, to Dances, I’ve seen amazing things, but never seen this before. Even though I was often in awe this was completely new to me. As I tried to turn my head and look around me, but I couldn’t. I realized that it was like time stood still, there is for me no other way to explain it to you.
The sounds the people around me made, surprised about the Stones continued, I could hear them, because I was there with them, looking at the same Fire but I felt like I was in a bubble. With a Bubble, I don’t mean the Lodge herself, but I could sense and see a bubble around connecting me to the Fire. It was like something turned my head back even before my body actually followed the impulse to look around. “I’m talking to you the Fire said, Yes you. Do you want to reconnect?” Before I knew it I said uhhhh Yes!”
And to be honest, I was surprised about my quick answer, and I wanted to talk to myself about that like when your Friend makes rush decisions and pulls you in to something. I wanted to have a good long talk with myself and say: “What the bleep did you do, why didn’t you take some extra time to consult with me?”
But before I could have that conversation, Fire asked again: “Do you want to reconnect with me?” Not sure if the Fire sensed, saw, or heard, what was going on inside me, but when she spoke those words for the second time, a lot of images rushed through me. Happy, Beautiful Ones, that made my heart light up, it was like all the Joy my body could handle was filling me up from inside and tears of Joy streamed down my face. After that Sad, Horrible Ones, broke my Heart when I saw them and brought forth Tears of Great Sadness, Sorrow and Shame filled my body. The images finally moved through me one after the other, it seemed in cycles before she finished her question. Felt like I had all the time in the World, to take those and her words in. And even though they weren’t all pretty, I could feel something inside me, saying Yes in a big way.
The words that came out of my mouth, didn’t sound like that, they sounded like now my Friend was hesitating. So I could hear myself say:”YYYYYYessssss uhhhh I would uhhhhh!”
The Fire shifted, it seemed like she was looking at me from all angles, perhaps all wind directions, measuring me up and down. I felt totally Naked, which I can assure you I was not. She looked at me, very stricken, came right up to my face, and asked again: “Do you want to reconnect with me? I am Fire…” she spoke sending shivers up and down my physical body and beyond as she sent different images, Colors, sounds, through my Body & Soul, bringing huge vibrations that rocked me to my Core. A big sigh exited my mouth, it was a huge release, like the vacuum seal was taking off. Releasing a lot of baggage, I could feel my Love of Fire and remembered that I secretly tried to connect to it when I was a young girl in my Grandparents’ toilette because I felt like Fire had something to say to me. Something important. That wasn’t strange to me when I was young. Speaking and listening, to everything in the seen & unseen World was Natural to me. Everything had a Voice, Animals, Stones, Trees, the wind, the Water, the Earth, loved Ones that had passed on, even secrets people desperately tried to keep, everything had a Voice. But in this Lodge, the Love came rushing in or finally had room to flow through me because the pressure that held the seal in place of fear and angst that was put on it was flushed out with the sigh. And I feel confident & humbled, deeply touched & also a strange familiarity. Like Fire was a long-lost Friend or actually a very close Family member, like one of my Grandparents. I felt all of this and spoke with great confidence, that other than being pregnant with my Children, as a “grownup” I’ve never heard from me before:” YES, I would Love to reconnect!”
In this moment it was like the Flame of the Fire moved through me, and she said: “ I’ll give you a Dance!”
And as she spoke those words the Fire Flamed up and started to come down, I was actually trying to get more info moved by what just happened and trying to get things right. “Wait, when, where, how?” With the last Flames she Painted a picture, that looked like a treasure Map, that pointed towards America. And with that the bubble faded and my Life, our Life would never be the same, again!”
Within half an hour after that, Spirit guided me to the Toilets again, funny & true story, but to make a long story “short” two Beautiful amazing American Women that held Great Medicine and that I have never met before until that day, invited me to a Dance that would take place in a couple of weeks. And it probably doesn’t surprise you now, That Dance was called…the FireDance!
So here I am, Bregje van der Zouwen – Blokx, the Spirit name my Teachers & Ancestors have given me is: Strong Heart Medicine Bear. And this is how the Fire found me again & how I said Yes, to Dance the FireDance. Which actually took place during a Hurricane, that is why we call it the Hurricane Fire Dance. Where unknowing before I came danced with Chiefs, of the Fire Dance and other Medicine Dances.
As a young girl I felt, very fortunate to grow up with the Love and Kindness of my two gifted Grandmothers, one could say they were my first Teachers. And I’m very Thankful to basically grow up alongside of my partner, my Love for over 30 years now, Sybrand, since we met when I was very young.
Deeply humbled by all the Teachers I met along my journey, Elders from different wind-directions & Animals, all of Nature, even wise bear named Apple, old Teachers, young Teachers, Ancient Ones. They always concluded their Teachings with the words that it is important for us in these times to remember who we truly are!
And exactly that is what the Fire Dance brings, this Ancient Dance holds space for all that come to the Dance, to remember who they Truly are. Beyond limitations or judgement of yourself and others. Everyone is welcome to uncover their own Medicine, not only the Dancers, but all present. And that is such a Gift and much needed in this time, brings forth deep healing. Magical to see, hear, feel the excitement of the Ancestors of the land, the countries where the FireDance travels to. Like in the Netherlands, a huge release happens every-time. Not only in the people, but in everything that is connected to the land, Country, Earth, Ancestors. So happy that this Medicine is held in a good way by Robbie as the Vision keeper & Chief, and all the other Chiefs, who bring their Unique and own Medicine to the Dance. Holding space in such a Wonderfull way.
My wish is that we all remember who we truly are, and it is a Great honor to hold Space for you here in the Netherlands as a Chief, but also all over the World in every way that Spirit asks from me. Even if I can’t be there physically, know that you are Loved all across this World and far beyond by many and that they cheer you on, are so proud of you stepping in to your own Medicine in your own Unique way, Dancing your Medicine in to being! Thank you for your Dance!
Even if you Drum, Sing, Cook, are a Fire Keeper or Wisdom Keeper, Fire Mother & Fire Father, physically present or not, you are welcome, Loved and honored for your Dance! For we are all related!
Chief Brett Almond
Hi. I am Brett Almond. I am from England. And I am pleased to meet you!
I have been taking part in dance ceremony since I danced a Corn Dance with Joseph Rael (Beautiful Painted Arrow) in 1993. From this point I have danced Drum Dances, Sun Moon Dances and then from 2004 I have gone onto dance, crew and “Chief” For the One Dances in countries such as Israel, Germany, USA, Norway, Egypt, Ireland and others. I have danced and crewed with the Fire Dance since 2014. As you may have gathered from all that I love to dance in this way!
I am honored Robbie has asked me to Chief the Fire Dance. I am due to Chief my first Fire Dance in Iceland in 2018. I hope you can be there.
I love the Fire Dance as it takes me back and back and back to a very ancient place within myself. I believe the energy of fire is at the very core of our creation. And dancing with the five fires of the Fire Dance, along with the drumming, fasting, the sacred herbs like sage and sweetgrass, and the freedom to openly express myself in any given moment takes me back to a point where I can explore all dimensions of creation outwardly and inwardly. But having said that, is there actually a difference?
The fire energy purifies and clears parts within me that I no longer need and helps me reclaim parts of me that I somehow lost contact with along the way. Sometimes I know what these things are that I have let go of, and sometimes I don’t. I often come away from a Fire Dance, and I observe myself talking to someone or doing something, and I feel, wow, I am different and I have laid another burden down. And with each thing I lay down I feel lighter and consequently closer to Spirit and closer to my authentic self.
The Fire Dance is not religious. There are people from many different faiths, or no faith that dance this dance. But I would say it is tribal and it is loving and exciting. If you haven’t been to a Fire Dance before, you will be welcomed. You may choose to dance or you may choose to be on the crew.
I believe the “Chiefs” job is to oversee the creation of a place of energetic safety for those that dance so they can do whatever it is they came to do. It is place that words become secondary. And our own experience of it is everything.
Maybe you are new to the Fire Dance and are wondering if you should attend. If that is the case, I would suggest you go in your heart, and ask, and then go with your first reaction. If it is yes, I am really happy, and I look forward to meeting you sometime soon!
Chief Mary Standing Otter
Hello, Dear Friends
I am Mary Standing Otter. I am from Michigan in the USA and I am honored to join this Fire Family as Chief.
I have trained and practiced The Medicine Way for 30 years in Healing and Ceremony. I am a Sacred Medicine Pipe Carrier and a Purification (Sweat) Lodge Chief. I have learned from the healing lineages of the Americas, South Africa, West Africa, and Europe.
I was first introduced to Robbie and The Fire Dance in South Africa, where we were both teaching at the same venue. I was invited to sit as a Wisdom Keeper for the Dance. Though Robbie and I came from different lineages, and the Fire Dance was different than other Dances I have been a part of, the power of this Dance was evident. I quickly learned that the Fire Dance was a place where we transcend our differences with ease. It is a Dance for everyone.
The Fire Dance comes from such an ancient and primal place that it unites us all as human beings walking a Path of Healing. I experience this Dance as a place where our hearts can catch fire and light us up from the inside.
The dancing, the fires, the drums, the earth, the stars, the sun and moon and rain all call us home to our most simple Self; the Self that knows the power and peace of true surrender.
This is a place out of time where you can let go of all distraction. Your connection to the elements can be rekindled and fed. You may even remember who you truly are.
The warmth and light of the Fires, the beat of the drums and the solidity of our mother the earth all work together to take us out of our busy minds and remind our spirit of its natural desire and ability to cleanse, to fly and to be free.
I have taken part in many Dances in different countries. I look forward to many more. I am honored to be helping this Dance travel around the world and extending this global community. If you hear the Call of the Fire Dance, I invite you to join us. You are welcome here.
With Love and Many Bright Blessings,
Mary Standing Otter