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A Firefly Tale Part II

Fireflies have unborn stars in their tails.   This is from the previous post.  I told about a native American firefly legend I learned from Jamie Sams book.   When my young friend, Casey, died, it touched me deeply.  I was happy to have known him and to have given him some encouragement before he left us.   My own sons were not much older than he was at that time, so his death made me appreciate the days with my own boys so much more.

We never stop and think, when we are raising our children, that each day is a gem, to be treasured.  We always think that we will have them with us until our old age and that they will be present to mourn our passing.   The truth, that they can be taken from us at any time, is too frightening to think about.

That truth came crashing into my world on Mother’s Day 1997.  My 17 year old son was missing……..missing for 8 days before they finally found his body.   I can’t begin to tell you the horror of those 8 days, the grief, the despair.   And here is another truth.   Homicide is an ugly word.  Murder is a scary word.   People don’t want to talk about it when it gets too close.  It’s like a disease and no one wants to take a chance that it might be contagious.   People don’t know what to say and so they say nothing.    I was so alone, so very alone in the middle of my whole grieving community.   I won’t go on and on about this.

I went to see a wise man, an old Indian friend and he had some comfort for me and helped me deal with my anger issues but I still could not function.   I lost my job.   I cried all the time.   I was a mess.  I was so caught up in grief and anger I forgot my teachings.  I was lost.

Three months before Ben was killed, I had paid $90 dollars to attend a fire walk in July.  I had thought that walking on hot coals would be a very empowering experience at that time and wanted to do it for my own personal enrichment.   I had promised to transport my friend, Sam, who didn’t drive herself.    When Sam called me in early July to see if I was still attending, I didn’t know what to say.   I thought about it and called her back and told her I would go.   I didn’t want to lose my money.  I thought it might do me good to get out of the house.   I didn’t think I was emotionally capable of completing the seminar and walking.

Now, let me explain how this works.   You don’t just go to a firewalk, build a big bonfire and go rushing through  the flames.

A firewalk takes a whole day of preparation. First, we all gathered together, shared some light refreshments and met a few of the people we were going to be walking with.    There were 8 of us who were going to walk.  Some people had brought their family with them.  They were just going to observe.   The hostess was a lady whose husband and two sons were present.  She had firewalked before but her family was just going to observe.

Then everyone gathered in the living room and the man and woman who were going to lead us through the seminar spoke about firewalking, its history, what we might expect and reasons for doing a firewalk.   I am going to call this man and woman Paul and Patty.  Patty asked us to go round our circle and explain why we were there.   Everyone had different reasons for walking, personal issues, illness, etc.  When it was my turn, I broke down.   I said I had no idea why I was there.   I told about Ben and said that I didn’t know what I was doing from one day to the next.   I didn’t even think I could do this thing.   Well, let me tell you, hats off to Paul and Patty.   I’m sure this was the first time a homicide survivor with such raw emotional wounds had joined thier group.  My story had upset the whole mood of the room for sure.   They remained calm and professional and what they did tell me was that people come away from a firewalk empowered whether they walk or not.   Just participating in the ceremony was an uplifting experience by itself.

That took the pressure off me.  I relaxed a little, got embarassed because I had cried but didn’t feel so separated from the group.   When we took a break, the hostess, who I will call Gerry, took me aside and told me that she could relate to my feelings.   Her daughter, at age 18 had been shot to death by a jealous boyfriend.   Her whole family took me under their wings and we talked a lot at every break, about our children, our feelings, our heartbreak.  Truly, the Goddess had led me to this place.

I won’t go into every detail about the day’s seminar.   If you ever want to firewalk, you will find out for yourself.   But we did meditations, asked questions, and learned a little chant we would do when it was time to walk.   At every break, Gerry and her husband and sons were there for me, revisiting their own pain to help me with mine.  When we built the fire, it raged.  Each of us had to write something we wanted to give to the fire, that we wanted the fire to take away from us.   I wrote down “hatred and rage”.   I tossed it into those towering flames.  After that we went inside, watched a film about firewalking, asked our final questions and waited for the flames to die down.  As we did, I felt a sort of peace descend over me.   I really didn’t need to walk.  I had found a measure of solace and was content to simply watch the others complete their walk.

When it was time, Paul went outside and raked the hot coals.   They glowed so fiery red in the night.  It was beautiful.   We went, single file, outside into the cool night.  Each of us had a drum or a rattle.  We were to chant until we felt moved to walk through the fire or keep chanting until everyone was done.   I stood in the circle and shook my rattle, chanting and feeling the damp grass on my bare feet.   I watched the first man walk through the coals…..he got so joyful, he did a little dance halfway through the pathway.   My heart filled up with joy for him.   I forgot my own sadness.    A lady went a few minutes later and I was glad for her, glad that she found the courage she had come for.   No one went for a few more seconds.  We kept chanting.

Then, you know that feeling you get when someone comes up silently behind you?   Your shoulder muscles tense, your neck stiffens?   I felt like someone was standing behind me.   I looked around the circle………who could it be?   Everyone was in the circle.  I counted them.

Suddenly, I felt a hand push my shoulder and I heard my son’s voice, Ben’s voice, plain as day and he said “Go ON, Mom”.   And I went.   I just strolled through those coals and felt no fire, no pain, just power all through my body.

When I got to the other side, I sat right down on the dewy grass and cried, tears of joy!   I looked up into the night sky and HUNDREDS of fireflies were circling around me!    I felt as though both Casey and Ben were there to witness my walk and celebrate my accomplishment.  I turned around and EVERYONE, even the people who had no intention of walking, had followed me through that fire!   We all hugged and cried together and the power in that group that summer night was amazing.   Even now, years later, I can feel that power whenever I think of that walk.

I learned many things that night.   I also got a clear message that death is not the END.   My son’s love was so strong that he reached out to me from the Other Side and his VOICE!   Just to hear that voice one more time!   What a powerful expression of love.    His message was clear.   He didn’t mean for me to just walk through that fire.   He meant it for real!  GO ON, Mom…………go on without me and do what you have to do.   And I have.   Sometimes, I miss him terribly.   I never got to meet the kind of man he would have become.   I never held his children in my arms.   I never danced at his wedding.   But I did feel his love and I can still call that up.   And every time I see a firefly, I still hear his message.   GO ON!

When I woke up the next morning, it was like the night before had been a dream.   I had a tiny niggle of doubt creep in.   Had those coals really been hot or had it just been what my mind expected?    Everyone was still sleeping.   I went to the gray ashes of the firepit and stuck my hands into them.   The ashes were still hot!   It was really real!

Now, when I am faced with an “impossible” situation, I have only to remind myself:   I have walked through fire.   I can do anything!



July 14, 2012 - Posted by | folklore, metaphysical, New Age | , , , , , , ,


  1. Miss Lee, I am truly speechless. Both of these posts, the firewalking and the fireflies, are powerful beyond measure. They speak to the richness of truth in your soul, the willingness of the spirit to overcome adversity, the interconnectedness to every thing in the Universe and a deep and abiding spiritual belief. Thank you so much for sharing both of these stories! We never know the impact that we have on another life. Your son sounds like he was a wonderful young man so full of promise. It is a tragedy that will never go away but I am so thankful that you are taking his advice to GO ON. That is truly the only thing you can do. I love the firefly story and the bracelet. It truly is good medicine. Thank you for sharing these stories. Enjoy the day. Erin


    Comment by Erin Prais-Hintz | July 15, 2012 | Reply

  2. Erin, your words mean a lot to me. I have such respect for you as an artist and as a person. Thank you for taking the time to read these posts. I share these stories with many people, often people who are grieving so hard for someone they lost. I try to help them find the faith to believe that that person is not totally lost. I am proud to share how much fireflies mean to me.


    Comment by stregajewellry | July 16, 2012 | Reply

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so happy for you that you went to the firewalk … you have such a beautiful soul and your recounting of your pain moved me to tears. May fireflies surround you every day. *hugs*


    Comment by dragonfae | July 21, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks for taking the time to read this story. It’s one I love to share and am pleased that someone else was moved by this.


      Comment by stregajewellry | July 21, 2012 | Reply

  4. What a heart- and soul-wrenching experience for you to have known the tragic murder of your son. But, what a beautiful and soul-warming experience to have had him come and visit you when you needed encouragement to walk forward ….and the amazing fire-flys …it must have felt truly magical. May you always feel his presence by your side, as much as you feel it in your heart xxx


    Comment by samantha jenkins | October 13, 2012 | Reply

  5. Thank you Lee for sharing such a beautiful from the soul heartfelt story that reinforces my belief that our soul family are always close by . Your courage and truth inspires me and your beautiful boy’s light shines through your words


    Comment by Mary Joyce Life and Relationship Coach | November 8, 2012 | Reply

    • There is a poem I read over and over when Ben was killed.

      He has taken his light and is gone now
      Into a room I cannot find
      But I know he has been here
      By all of the lights he has left behind.

      And truly, all of the lights………the wonderful people who read his story and the fireflies….truly, he left many to light my journey into the Stillness.


      Comment by stregajewellry | November 8, 2012 | Reply

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