An Atheist Visits The Sacred Fire

I am an atheist. I do not believe in god or mythical beings, nor do I believe in organized religion. I think of myself as a physical and intellectual being and not as a spiritual one.

So what does "sacred" mean to me. That is a good question for I do not usually think of things in that manner. But if I was to think of anything as "sacred" it would be the land, and in particular, land in it's natural state.

I love being in the forest, and while many safety experts recommend against it, I love being in the forest alone. I always tell people that they should not be afraid of being alone in the bush because you are never alone in the bush. But I do not fear the animals in the bush for I mean them no harm.

So for me it was important to visit the Sacred Fire to pay my respects to the forest and the land that we all want to protect and it was a particular honour to be smudged by Algonquin Medicine Man Ron “Big Bear” Goddard.

The Sacred Fire represents the prayers and hopes of many peoples. Indeed, as far as all involved know, this is the first time that non-aboriginals have been given the responsibility, and honour of tending a Sacred Fire. This is indeed a very important milestone in the development of the Canadian multicultural mosaic. And it represents what the land means to all of us.

Not that there is not some "culture clash". The media have expressed an interest in Sundays Day of Prayer for the Land, and want to know when the protest is and when the leaders will be speaking. But to the Algonquin this is not a protest and it is not a day for the leaders but a day for the people. This, of course makes it much more significant, but not so good for "sound bytes"

Indeed recent reports indicate that people all across Canada and across the world will be taking some time Sunday to participate in the Day of Prayer for the Land.

I invite all of you who do not quite understand what this is all about or the significance of it to spend some time in the forest and to spend some time sitting by the Sacred Fire.

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