Malidoma's Pen:
2017 Fire Year


Welcome to the Fire Year. Those who understand the character of each of the elements in the cosmological wheel: Water, Earth, Mineral, and Nature, know that Fire kindles and sustains an animating and pervasive energy in all that lives. It is in the water that runs, it is in the trees, the rocks, the earth, and in ourselves. It is the mediator between worlds since it is very close to the purest form of energy. Any connection with ancestors, spirits and the Other World is mediated by fire. A complete understanding of fire requires a serious relationship with death, and the dead. Because fire burns, those who relate to fire are often tense and must be clear about their intention in working with the fire. The tension referred to here is like a charge of energy about to burst. Those who carry such fire energy are being prepared for energetic action that reflects, and is the result of, a touch from the Other World.

     Fire is the rising force that makes us do, see, feel, love, and hate. Fire has great power, both outside of us and within us. On the outside, visible fire drives us to perform our respective duties, to fulfill our life purpose.

     But a fire burns also within us. The fire within connects us to our real family---the people we are always drawn to when we see them---and causes them to recognize us.  This fire originates in the Other World and connects us always to the ancestors.  Through the fire within we can converse with those we left behind in the Other World by being born here.  The inner fire is a rope that connects us to the world we abandoned when we were born into a human body.  To the indigenous, that world is our real home.  This does not mean that this world is not real.  It is a place we pass through.

     The way to move to a productive understanding of and relationship with fire is through ritual, where fire is experienced not as a combustive fire, but as a warm, comforting, and loving fire connecting us to the ancestors in the Other World.  At the core of the fire ritual is the indigenous belief that each person is born with a purpose, and that this purpose was presented to the council of the ancestors in the Spirit World for approval prior to each person's journey to Earth.  We come into the world in order to bring to completion that very plan which, as we are born into this side of reality, became our reason for human life.  In order to fulfill our purpose, we need the driving force of fire, just as a vehicle needs fuel to reach its destination.

     Two things here are at work.  We must remember what we came here to do, and we must have a community that knows and remembers our purpose and supports it fully.  We do not want a community that tells us what it thinks we should do, but a community that unconditionally provides for us in a manner that allows us to accept our responsibilities and realize the life of our purpose.

     From an indigenous point of view, every time a situation pushes us to move faster than is appropriate, every time our heart beats more quickly than normal, every time we get excited for one reason or another, we become situated in the fiery origin, that chaotic place at the time of the beginning of the world.  To be ill is therefore to be en route toward that origin; it implies heat, activity, friction, and struggle.  It also calls attention to the fact that the encounter between fire and water that resulted in the creation of the earth and life is not to be taken for granted.  The kind of balance required for the maintenance of peace and reconciliation is so tenuous that we are constantly thrown back toward tense and chaotic fiery states.  Many circumstances of our lives can send us toward the chaotic fire, such as death, accident, shocks to our life that we connect with.  It is the indigenous understanding that we attract these circumstances in order to push us forward to a deeper transformation.  The indigenous does not believe in coincidences or in accidents.

Thus is the shamanistic, spiritual and liturgical relationship with fire that we must labor to incorporate in our daily living for the sake of continuity in our world. This is an invitation to reflect on the various ways and manners in which we as humans have alienated ourselves from fire.  For indeed, what can surpass that which  warms us to our ancestors and to each other?   Ashe.
~Malidoma Somé

What is the Medicine of the Fire?

 Fire is the original element of origin, the one that was present at the beginning.  Its primal nature is combusti on, warmth, vision, and feeling.  Its position in the wheel is the south, the underworld, and its color is red.   
     It is the state to which everything eventually returns, the state of the ancestors coming from the underworld below us.  Fire
opens the doorway to the Spirit World and allows our psyche to commune with other life present, past, and future.  Fire  is like a connecting rod, an open channel.  In fact, fire is our psyche, the spirit part of us that knows what has always been.  It is our ability to act, emote, and intuit.
- The Healing Wisdom of Africa

It is reconciling oneself with the past---or, as the Dagara would say, with the ancestors---that brings the inner fire into alignment.  The work of grieving is an important part of reconciling with the past, and for that reason I suggest water rituals precede fire rituals in the West.  The work of building relationships in community also contributes to the taming of fire, for in order to have healthy relationships, one must have made peace with the past.  One must also tame the inner fire simply in order to live in community, for close relationships breed friction that would rage out of control if the friends or partners had not done a great deal of work with their psyches. ~The Healing Wisdom of Africa

2017 Upcoming Events

Malidoma Folded Arms

Contact: for more information

Upcoming Opportunities for a 
Private Divination with Elder Malidoma
Divination Spread

Experiencing a personal divination with Elder Malidoma is a beautiful, empowering and healing manifestation of Spirit.  It is an opportunity to hear direction from the realm of the Ancestors and to connect, more deeply, with what you know "in your bones".  

Elder Malidoma utilizes cowry shell divination for his sessions.  You will be asked to spread a pile of shells, bones, stones, and other implements on a special "divination cloth".  This spread is what Malidoma will read and interpret to bring a message about your life and purpose for being on the planet at this time.  The message will also be about finding balance with the Elemental Spirits of Earth, Water, Fire, Nature and Mineral.

Upcoming Private Divinations
Unless otherwise indicated, please contact for additional details~ or to  Schedule your Private Divination

Orlando, Florida
January 21, 22, & 23

Bay Area, California
March 21, 22 &23

Albany, New York
March 30, 31 & April 1

Minneapolis, MN
April 7, 8 & 9

Seattle, WA
April 21, 22 & 23
with a Public Talk~ Thursday, April 20th 7pm-9pm

Asheville, NC
May 8 & 9
Philadelphia, PA
May 20 & 21
with a Public Talk~ Friday, May 19th 7pm-9m

Ontario, Canada
June 29, 30 & July 1

Upcoming Programs with Elder Malidoma

Movies and Meaning Festival 
 with Malidoma Somé & Alice Walker
Albequerque, New Mexico
April 27-30

5-Day Intensive: Community Grief Ritual

Ontario, Canada
July 2-6, 2017

For Details
about this powerful community ritual please

5-Day Intensive: Annual Community Grief Ritual

Orlando, Florida
November 1-5, 2017

For Details
about this powerful community ritual please  | 407-574-5350 |