2020 Sacred Grove Retreat Center Dance
General Info Letter
Sacred Grove Retreat Center
Gold Hill, NC
October 30-November 1, 2019
The Fire Dance is a 3 day Ceremonial Medicine Dance. This Dance will ignite the passion and creativity within you to live your life fully as intended by Spirit. This dance is about stepping into life fully and completely. It will burn away the thing inside that blocks you and holds you back. The energy of this Fire Dance is incredibly powerful! We dance with 5 fires within a Medicine Wheel. The Spirit Keepers of the Directions are Dancing too! Spirit is Dancing in the Fire. It is tangible.
Whether you are called to be a Fire Dancer or to serve the Dance as part of the Support crew, your life will be forever changed. This Dance will open your heart in a new way and create connections to Spirit and Community. I thank you for considering being a part of this Ceremony.
- Once you decide whether you will Dance or serve on the Crew, additional details will be sent to you via email for your preparation for Ceremony.
- There will be a Sweat Lodge on Thursday evening for those who choose to arrive early
- Dancers and Crew should arrive on Friday by noon; there is much work and preparation to be done in Community.
- All meals will be prepared and served for the Crew from Friday lunch thru Sunday lunch.
- Crew camping is available on the grounds.
- Crew rooms are limited and available by reservation
- Dancers will sleep in the Dance Arbor (bring what you need for personal comfort)
- Everyone present will participate as Crew or Dancer (no spectators in Ceremony)
Dancer Donations are on a sliding scale between …………………………$425-$575
*it is up to the Dancer to know where they are in their prosperity for a donation
Crew Donations (Friday-Sunday during Dance)………………………………………..….$40 (Includes meals Friday lunch to Sunday feast)
Bed reservation (Friday-Sunday during Dance)………………………….…..……..$40 Per person/per night
Camping on the land (Friday-Sunday during Dance)………………………….$10 Per person/per night
- Fire Keepers – Hold the energy of the Directional Fires and the container of the Arbor
- Drummers – Drum from the heart and keep the rhythm that “carries” the Dancers
- Dance Guardians – Guardians of the Dance who work quietly to ensure all needs of the Dance are met
- Kitchen Angels – Hold the Heart of the Dance and nourish and nurture the Crew
- Fire Mother – Holds the feminine space inside the Arbor and works directly with the Dancers as they process and Dance
- Fire Father – Holds the masculine space inside the Arbor and works directly with the Dancers as they process and Dance
- Elders – The Wisdom Keepers of the Dance and council to the Chief
- Chief – Leader and Keeper of the Vision, Dance, Dancers and Crew
“It is time. Time to let the spark within our hearts grow and spread into a fire. Time to dance through that fire and let it burn away everything that does not serve us. Forged in heart-fire we re-emerge into the world and step fully into ourselves, ready to share the warmth and lead the way. Let’s DANCE!” … Trai Hill
Support Crew Information
Sacred Grove Retreat Center
Gold Hill, NC
October 30-November 1, 2019
Support Crew Information
Fire Dance Support Crew Details
Saying yes to serve the Fire Dance is a commitment. This is a calling, like any Spiritual work that we do. Spirit calls and we answer! There is power in saying yes!
There are no passive roles on the Support Crew, while some are more physical than others, all require a certain level of stamina. Most often the Chief will ask that you serve in a particular role, but it is still important to let the Chief know if you feel especially called to one position more than another.
“What I have learned as Chief is that it is not up to me to place people in the positions of service. It is always up to Spirit. As we approach the time for the Dance I will sit with Spirit and allow the guidance to come through. My hope is that the people who feel called to crew will not hold any attachment to what position they serve in. I think the bigger picture is that we all serve the Dance and Mother Earth in whatever way Spirit asks. Much Gratitude!” … Robbie Otter Woman Standing
- FireKeepers – Hold the energy of the Directional Fires and the container of the Arbor. Each Fire Keeper will connect in and carry the energy of their directional Fire. The East is the Cleansing Fire, the South is the Soothing Fire, The West is the Call to Action Fire, the North is the Guardian Fire and the Spirit Fire is inside the Arbor. I encourage the FireKeepers to bring and use whatever personal Medicine Tools you feel called to use. You will be moving and Dancing and encouraging your Fires. Drumming is a wonderful way to connect with the Fire, but it is important to be mindful that you are not Drumming for the Dancers, but for your Fire. The connection to your Fire will be incredibly powerful and you may be asked to “Dance” that energy into the Arbor from time to time. Look to the Chief for that request. The Fires are connected to the Shrines and hold the container of the Arbor energetically. Each Fire has a specific herb to be offered for connection and prayer. These herbs will be available to the Dancers for their offering to the Fires. The East is Sage, South is Cornmeal, West is Cedar, North is Tobacco and the Spirit Fire is Sweetgrass. These herbs will be provided for the Dance.A video message to FireKeepers –https://vimeo.com/314309248/2d18c05695
- Drummers – Drum from the heart and keep the rhythm that “carries” the Dancers. Each drummer will have their own individual beat that may shift and change throughout the Dance. I encourage the Drummers to FEEL the energy and play from your heart. The Drum Chief is crucial to keeping the energy of the Drum contained in a way that serves the Dancers. There will be rattles, drums and other percussion instruments. I encourage all the Drummers to bring your personal Drum if you have one. There will be many Drums available to play. The Dancers rely on your energy and your love and compassion to move them through their Dance.A video message to Drummers – https://vimeo.com/314601460/df4c80d4f8
- Dance Guardians – Guardians of the Dance who work quietly to ensure all needs of the Dance are met. In the Dance, the Dance Guardian team will ensure that all the supplies are in order and ready. You may carry wood for the Fire Keepers and repair the Arbor. In addition to assisting with the logistics of the dance, Dance Guardians will also be asked to support the energy container of the arbor as a whole and provide support to the dancers when needed. You escort the Dancers when outside of the arbor for a break. You keep watch in shifts during the night so the Dancers are never alone and the Dancers feel safe and cared for. You are the quite presence that keeps everything moving. Most importantly, when a Dancer goes into that place of surrender to Spirit and may collapse into Grace, the Dance Guardians will gently and lovingly carry that Dancer back to their space in the Arbor. The Alpha Dance Guardian is the head of the Dance Guardian team and will hold the energy of the crew outside the Arbor.A video message to Dance Guardian- https://vimeo.com/314598568/b4cc310973
- Kitchen Angels – Hold the Heart of the Dance and nourish and nurture the Crew. The Kitchen Arch Angel will handle the planning of all meals from Friday lunch through Sunday lunch and guide the kitchen crew in caring for the rest of the Crew. We find that all the energy from the Dance Arbor moves through the Kitchen during a Dance. This means that the Kitchen Crew not only needs to be able to prepare meals, but also deal with the energy that moves through in a good way. You will be holding the Heart of the Dancers while you nourish the Crew. Sometimes the crew may have cravings for food that they don’t usually eat……this is because a Dancer is craving some special food. We say the Crew actually eats for the Dancers who are fasting so the love put into the preparation of the food has a direct effect on the crew as well as the Dancers.A video message to Kitchen
Angels – https://vimeo.com/314308339/df0b46c8cc
- Fire Mother – Holds the feminine space inside the Arbor and works directly with the Dancers as they process and Dance. The Fire mothers will be inside the Arbor whenever the Dancers are moving. You will hold the container from the inside and connect energetically with each Dancer. As Dancers begin to process their emotions and clear out old experiences, you will help them and love them through the process. As a Fire Mother, you will be working directly with the Dancers and physically moving the energy of the Dancer as needed. You will need to use a Feather Fan when working with the Dancers. It is important that you are also available during the breaks if a Dancer needs attention. Sometimes the processing will happen when the Dancer stops moving. As a Fire Mother you are directly connected with each Dancer to serve their highest good in whatever way possible.A video message to Fire Mothers and Fathers – https://vimeo.com/314600523/4d343e1a6a
- Fire Father – Holds the masculine space inside the Arbor and works directly with the Dancers as they process and Dance. The Sun Fathers will be inside the Arbor whenever the Dancers are moving. You will hold the container from the inside and connect in energetically with each Dancer. As Dancers begin to process their emotions and clear out old experiences, you will help them and love them through the process. As a Sun Father, you will be working directly with the Dancers and physically moving the energy of the Dancer as needed. You will need to use a Feather Fan when working with the Dancers. It is important that you are also available during the breaks if a Dancer needs attention. Sometimes the processing will happen when the Dancer stops moving. As a Sun Father you are directly connected with each Dancer to serve their highest good in whatever way possible.A video message to Fire Mothers and Fathers – https://vimeo.com/314600523/4d343e1a6a
- Elders – The Wisdom Keepers of the Dance and council to the Chief. As an Elder, you hold the wisdom and experience that few others in Ceremony have earned. It is important that you read the energy, not only of the Dancers but also the Crew in order to advise the Chief. You may be asked to work with a specific Dancer as the Chief needs. The position of the Elder is an honored position and not to be taken lightly. The wisdom and experience that you carry is crucial to the energy of the Dance and how the Chief may make decisions. You will only be asked to move into the Arbor on rare occasions while the Dancers are Dancing, but may be asked to work with a Dancer who is resting. The Elders highest service is as the Council to the Chief.A video message to Elders – https://vimeo.com/314601460/df4c80d4f8
- Chief – Leader and Keeper of the Vision, Dance, Dancers, and Crew. As the Chief, I will make decisions for all aspects of the Dance in order to allow the Dancers to receive the highest and best for their individual Spirit work. It is the role of the Chief to hold the container of the Dance is a sacred and honored way. All who are called to the Dance put themselves in the care of the Chief. It is up to the Chief to hold to the Vision of the Fire Dance and make sure that all is well. This happens with the help of the entire crew as we all work in Community. Creating the space for a Sacred Medicine Dance is not an easy task and never to be taken lightly. It is a true honor and I am humbled to have been asked by Spirit to bring the Fire Dance to the People.
- Dance Coordinator – While this is an administrative role, it is only a part of the work of the Coordinator. Coordinator will, of course, be intimately involved with making sure the details of the Dance are given to the Crew and the Dancers. Works with the Chief to make sure the supplies are on hand and ready for the Ceremony. Will be communicating with the Dancers, Crew and Chief in order to keep everyone up to date. Coordinates all of these aspects of the Ceremony, and holds the space for all involved. Becomes connected and energetically a part of the Dance well before it begins. Serves as advisor and council to the Chief and leaders in other positions. This is not always an easy task as you are dealing with the emotions and issues that may come up as we get closer to the Dance. It is important to stay well grounded and focused on the Dance as a whole.
- Supply Coordinator – Works closely with the Dance Coordinator, Crew Leaders and Chief to ensure that all needed supplies are present and in order. This will involve working within a budget and placing orders or shopping for botanicals, tarps, first aid supplies, and other needed items for the entirety of the Dance. This means focusing on the needs of the Dancers as well as the crew to ensure that all supplies are accounted for and purchased. Although very task oriented, this is also a very energetically connected position. The Dancer and Crew welfare must be kept in mind first and foremost when considering what will be needed for Ceremony, comfort and any situation that may arise.
A few logistical notes:
- We will offer a Community Ceremony on Thursday the 29 th to those who would like to join. This is not part of the Fire Dance Ceremony but a gift from the Chief to the community. If you would like to join the Ceremony please arrive by 5:00pm on Thursday, October 29th, otherwise, please arrive for the Fire Dance no later than 10:00 am on Friday, October 25th.
- You will be able to camp on the grounds in designated areas or reserve a bed in one of the guest houses. The beds are limited and on a first reserved basis.
- Plan on arriving Friday by 10:00 am and remaining on the dance grounds until Sunday late afternoon. All meals are provided from lunch Friday through the Feast on Sunday.
- Bring an item for the Giveaway Ceremony after the Dance. This is an item that has had some importance to you but is time to give to another person.
- Bring all items needed for personal comfort and weather conditions – we dance rain or shine.
Crew donation for meals is $40.00, (meal donations cover the duration of the Dance from Friday to Sunday).
Lodging $40.00 per person per night for reserving a bed, (during the Dance) please bring your sleeping bag, pillow and towel.
Camping $ 10.00 per person per night, (During the Dance)
Please make donations by October 16, 2020
If you would like to make payments you can go to www.otterdance.com and pay through the paypal link. Or you can send a check to 434 Camp Rotary Rd., Gastonia, NC 28052– checks need to be made out to Otterdance.
Much gratitude to you for your courage and determination to be in Service to the Fire Dance! A Medicine Dance is not a simple thing to do. Spirit requires much of us who say YES! I am honored to have you present at the Fire Dance Arbor.
It is not always easy to be on the outside of the Dance Arbor holding the sacred space for others to do the work. Each support position is vital to the Ceremony from the Dance Guardian to the Kitchen Angels to the Chief.
Serving the Fire Dance will change your life. It will change the planet. You are a powerful FORCE!
Fire Dancer Preparation
Sacred Grove Retreat Center
Gold Hill, NC
October 30-November 1, 2020
Fire Dancer Preparation Letter
Dearest Fire Dancer,
Much gratitude to you for your courage and determination to move into your most passionate and creative life! A Medicine Dance is not a simple thing to do. Spirit requires much of us who say YES! I am honored to have you in the Fire Dance Arbor.
It is important that you prepare yourself mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually for the Dance. Now that you have committed to the Ceremony focus your thoughts on the sacredness of the Dance. Remember that you are stepping into a sacred state of being.
There may be emotions that start to come up for you before the Dance, this is normal. Your Higher Self is already in the Dance Space and preparing your body to release the things that no longer serve you. Allow the emotions to come and know that this will pass and the Dance will burn away anything that is blocking you emotionally.
This is a fasting dance. This means you will be fasting from food and water for the duration of this ceremony. The idea of fasting for a few days may bring up some fears. Be assured that this form of fasting has been carried out for many centuries by thousands of Dancers and Visionaries. I myself have done this many times. You will be held in a sacred space and Dancing with Spirit; you are safe! To make this process somewhat easer is it suggested that you begin preparing your body the week before the dance. By removing toxins from your body during this time, it will make the fasting easier. We suggest that you taper off of sugar and caffeine and be sure to hydrate yourself during the days leading up to the dance.
Your spiritual preparations have already begun……you said YES! Just remember that you are entering into the safest space, The Dance Arbor, and that you are held in the arms of the beloved. All who are present to support the Dance also support the Dancer for the Sacred work being done.
The Fire Dance has a Sacred Fire in each of the 4 cardinal directions and a 5th Fire in the arbor, the Spirit Fire. Each Fire holds its own energy and intention.
East Fire – The Cleansing Fire, South Fire – The Soothing Fire, West Fire – The Call to Action Fire, North Fire – The Guardian Fire
As you dance around the arbor you will build the energy and create vortex with the other Dancers. Once this energy is built up and ready to be released out to the Universe, I will ask the Fire Keepers to create a Bridge within the Arbor to cross from the old paradigm to the new paradigm you have created. As the Chief, I will help you light your torch from the Spirit Fire and carry your flame across the Bridge. Once the Bridge is crossed, the energy vortex that has been building is released and spirals upward and out to the Universe. This is a most beautiful moment in the Dance!
A few logistical notes:
- We will offer a Community Ceremony on Thursday, October 29th to those who would like to join. This is not part of the Fire Dance Ceremony but a gift from the Chief to the community. If you would like to join the Ceremony please arrive by 5:00pm on Thursday October 29th, otherwise, please arrive for the Fire Dance no later than10:00am on Friday October 25th.
- As a Sacred Dancer, your body is your tribute to Spirit! Your clothes (regalia) should reflect your commitment to the Dance and what you may be working through. Be creative! When I Danced, I painted my face, tied cloth in my hair and chose colors and clothes that honored the energy of the Fire.Prayer Ties and Regalia – https://vimeo.com/314305604/6cc0dbe816
- All Dancers will wear a skirt or sarong (including men). This is tradition and an honoring of the Dancer as Sacred.Ceremonial Skirts – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fClIJoIjuGU
- You will be sleeping in the Dance Arbor, please bring what you need for your comfort, a sleeping mat or pad , pillow, sleeping bag, a tarp for ground cover, etc. Please try to keep items to a minimum so we can accommodate space for all the Dancers. DUE TO LIMITED SPACE IN THE ARBOR, A SLEEPING MAT/AIR MATTRESS CAN BE NO LARGER THAN TWIN SIZED.
- Plan on arriving Friday by noon and staying until Sunday late afternoon. Lunch Friday is provided as well as the Feast on Sunday.
- Please bring 2 white flat sheets for donation (twin or full are best)
- Please bring 2 white hand towels for donation
- Bring 1 yard of RED fabric (cotton), cotton twine and lose tobacco – these items are for your prayer ties. (See above video message and attached instructions)
- Dancer Donation is on a sliding scale between $425-$575. It is up to you to decide where you are in your energy exchange and your prosperity. You can begin to make payments now or you can pay in full by October 16, 2020. If you would like to make payments you can go to www.otterdance.com and pay through the paypal link. Or you can send a check to 434 Camp Rotary Rd, Gastonia, NC 28052 – checks need to be made out to Otterdance.
- Bring an item for the Giveaway Ceremony after the Dance. This is an item that has had some importance to you but is time to give to another person. (See attached information)
Please know that there is an entire crew to support you, your Dance and your needs. If you forget something, or need something we will be there to make sure you are taken care of.
Thank you again for saying YES! What you do in the Fire Dance will change your life. It will change the planet. You are a powerful FIRE DANCER!
Much Love and Gratitude!
Robbie, Otter Woman Standing
Fire Dance Chief
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
Dearest Fire Dancer,
I had a Dancer ask me recently about making prayer ties. This is a Native American practice of intentional prayer and meditation. I believe that making Prayer Ties prior to your Dance will help you to focus on the Dance and your individual healing and releasing work.
You can work on Prayer Ties a little each day or sit quietly and do them all at once. There is no set number for you to make prior to the Dance, but please if you can, make a few. Some Dancers make thousands before a Ceremony such as this, others may make only seven. It is up to you as the Dancer to know your prayers and the work you will be doing in the Arbor.
Usually the fabric is cotton and the string is a natural fiber as well. We say the prayers in accordance with the energies of the seven sacred directions.
East – Yellow – Cleansing, new beginnings, ideas and clarity of thought, your mental body, transformation, the Butterfly is the Spirit Guardian of the East
South – Red – Soothing, childhood, emotional body, trust and unconditional love, relationships, connection to Mother Earth, the Turtle is the Spirit Guardian of the South
West – Black – Call to action, manifestation, physical healing and the physical body, placement, the Bear is the Spirit Guardian of the West
North – White – Guardian and protector, ancestors, Spiritual body, elders, the Eagle is the Spirit Guardian of the North
Up Above – Blue – Connection to the Star Nation, Father Sky, and the cosmos
Down Below – Green – Mother Earth, Animal Guides, creation
Within – Purple – Connection to the Spirit within, higher self, soul, your unique being
Creator, Great Spirit is in all Directions and colors, ever present
As you make your Prayer Ties, please be mindful that you will be bringing these prayers and intentions into the Dance Arbor with you. Put your prayer into each tie, and when you are finished please smudge each tie. It is easiest to keep a little sage or (imphepo in South Africa) burning while you are working on your ties. If you find that you have many Prayer Ties to make, you may want to wrap them around a stick of some sort to keep them from being tangled.
I have also asked that you bring red fabric and string to the Dance so you can work on additional Prayer Ties when you are resting in the Dance Arbor. Please have these precut so you will not have to worry with scissors in the Arbor (you may feel a little altered).
Click here for a PDF created by one of the Dance Elders here that shows the details of how to tie the prayers.
I am holding you all in my heart as I tie my Prayers for the Dance as well. I will be praying for each of you and setting my own intentions for the Dance. We are all connected by the Fires! Loving you all for your bravery and strength!
The Give-Away Ceremony
(from Robbie, Otter Woman Standing – Visionary of the Fire Dance)
One of the most important ceremonies in Native American teachings is the Give-Away, or Potlatch, Ceremony. In this ritual, giving away of useful or loved possessions is a form of sharing with others. It is also a sign that the giver is willing to make a sacrifice and surrender a gift to another person without attachment or regret. The Native understanding of sacrifice originally meant “to make sacred”. To make any act or any gift sacred, one has to complete that action with a joyful heart and a humble attitude. Giving is only one step of the process and allows the giver to look within so that he or she may examine the growth potential associated with the Give-Away.
In Native Tradition, no one is ever abandoned, orphaned, or left without food, dwellings, or help. The understanding among Native people is that when one shares all that one has, in order that the People may live, honor and abundance is brought to the giver. Indians have extended families that adopt many relatives and care for one another. Those who are blessed with possessions and food have always shared with those who are lacking. The Medicine Wheel may turn tomorrow and the ones who are in need today, may be blessed with abundance that they may share.
The purpose of the Give-Away is sharing. The lessons connected to this ceremony teach the people how to release possessions and to let go the ideas of importance connected with those belongings. The more prized the possession and the greater the sense of ownership, the more potent the lesson. The Give-Away Ceremony is never used to get rid of belongings that are no longer functional or badly in need of repair. Some gifts of the Give-Away may be made especially for the occasion. To give cast-off items is a disgrace to the giver and shows a lack of respect for the receiver.
If one cannot give without strings attached, there is no true release and the sacredness of giving without expectations has been destroyed. Among the Tribes of Native America, if everyone was not taken care of, the People lost face. There was never any justification for some to live in luxury while others of the same tribe starved.
The teachings of the Give-Away are basic to Native understanding. Many other lessons are learned each time one has the opportunity to share and is faced with personal feelings that arise when a decision to Give-Away is made. As we free ourselves from the need to give with strings attached or the regret that sometimes follows, we are able to release our spirits and allow them to soar beyond the limited understanding of our former Selves.
Click here to sign your waiver.
Click here to sign your waiver.