Summer Solstice – a standing still of the sun on the longest day. In that magical moment of stillness, before the sun starts its journey back towards the Winter Solstice, the possibilities presented by the Universe are unlimited. This Summer Solstice 2012, Aberdeen Voice’s Nicola McNally and Rob Scott joined Be Free at Haddo House to celebrate with a Firewalk ceremony.
Gathering before dusk, the Be Free team – Graeme Pyper and Clare Rochford, with their ‘3 stripes’ Fire-keepers Dougie Bogie and Arron Pyper – made all their preparations for the event.
Working away to the sounds of shamanic drums on an eclectic soundtrack in Haddo’s grounds on this longest day of the year, the fire was soon glowing as wood smoke and laughter filled the air.
“The path for the Firewalk is aligned with the setting Solstice sun, to the West of Haddo House. The new path is prepared over the existing Firewalk path here. Each piece of wood is set in place by hand by the Fire-keeper as a mark of respect to those walking the fire. Silver birch wood, symbolising new beginnings, is used to line the path.”
Once the preliminary work was done to set up the fire path and participants had placed their personal offerings into the flames to burn, the Firewalkers were led into Haddo House to assemble for the workshop part of the evening with Graeme.
As Be Free’s founder, Graeme Pyper has an ardent interest in Extreme Human Potential and the relationship between mind and body. He has experience in a wide range of ancient Eastern techniques which have been virtually unknown in the Western world and he combines these Eastern techniques with Western psychological approaches.
As a workshop leader, Graeme is inspiring and relaxed and uses his sense of humour to good effect. The group of firewalkers at Haddo were inspired to share their wishes and motivations for completing their Firewalk.
There was a mixture of men and women – Aberdonians, Australians, Americans – some experienced and some new to Firewalking. One returning Firewalker, the beautiful and brave Dee, was aiming to complete the walk; she had started Chemotherapy treatment that very day and her determination to succeed was obvious.
Another group member, Emma, was walking to commemorate the 5th anniversary of her grandfather’s death and she carried his wristwatch.
One by one, to the sounds of wild applause and respect from the others, they walked barefoot through the fire.
Others in the group were walking for charitable causes and personal reasons.
The emotion and motivation of the firewalkers was so strong, encouraged by Graeme to approach their Firewalk with courage and excitement.
As the sun set, Fire-keepers Dougie and Arron had the Firewalk path all prepared and the group were led out into the dark night towards the glowing embers of the candlelit path west of the main House. They assembled in a circle. One by one, to the sounds of wild applause and respect from the others, they walked barefoot through the fire.
Singly, in pairs, or in groups they went across the burning path and were met with a huge hug from Graeme waiting at the other side as they completed their spiritual or personal quest.
The Summer Solstice has had spiritual significance for thousands of years as humans have been amazed by the great power of the sun. On this year’s Summer Solstice, June 21st at 00:09, this Firewalk provided a celebration which continued with music and stories around the fire until the sun reappeared on the horizon at Haddo House.
Clare Rochford of Be Free told Aberdeen Voice:
“Be Free’s mission is to take people beyond what they thought possible and free them from what inhibits them.”
In their closing ceremony this Solstice, where the participants earned their stripes, this mission statement seemed like the perfect description of what we all experienced that night – yes, the two Aberdeen Voice team members walked across the Solstice Fire for AV that night!
To find out more about Be Free’s Firewalking events, contact Graeme Pyper on 07971 927765 or email Graeme.firstname.lastname@example.org