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A spark-ling interview with the originator of the modern firewalking movement, Peggy Dylan
by Ariel Frager

Ariel Frager: What exactly is a firewalk?
Peggy Dylan: Firewalking has been practiced since before recorded history in various cultures all around this little planet. From Fiji, Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka, India, Japan, Bali, Europe, and Africa. On the North American continent, the Zuni and Cherokee tribes are reported to still have ancient fire societies. Firewalking is a continuum of human experience. It has been practiced as an affirmation of our connection to divinity. It has been practiced in ritual as a celebration. It has been practiced to allow healers to touch on the power that gave them the healing capacities. In all cultures, it is used as an affirmation of physical, spiritual and emotional well-being, and we find the same in our firewalk.

AF: Why would someone want to walk on fire?
PD: People receive different benefits. For some people it is an experience of self-empowerment, for others it is awe-inspiring. Still others have experienced spiritual and emotional healings. It is impossible to participate in something as powerful as the firewalk and not be deeply touched. By standing in front of a coal bed that has burned for hours, and choosing to walk or not, you are making the choice to embrace an aspect of yourself that very seldom gets looked at in our culture. The part of us that knows things our minds consider impossible can be achieved. It’s been called faith, trust, and belief. Once someone has tapped this knowledge of achieving the impossible, they apply this belief to every part of their life.

AF: Tell us a little about your personal experience with the firewalk?
PD: I had an experience of enlightenment when I was a kid. I had worked with teachers from India as a teenager. My whole life I have been exploring what it means to be a spirit in form. When I firewalked for the first time, my foot coming down on the red hot coals was indelibly imprinted on my mind, because it shattered my previously held beliefs about reality. It made me realize that my capacities and achievement were limited by my previously held concepts.

AF: Can you talk about how you interweave spirituality and your teaching?
PD: I wouldn’t say I interweave spirituality; it is the base of everything I do. As far as I am concerned, firewalking is a spiritual practice. My challenge has been making this practice applicable to everyone’s life - how to extract the essence of the firewalk and apply these newly learned, extraordinary capacities that firewalking teaches, to everyday life.

AF: What is the Fire Initiation Training?
PD: The fire initiation training is a week-long exploration of our capacities as human beings. The training is based in our spiritual natures. We use the firewalk and other rituals of empowerment as the foundation of this exploration.

AF: What benefits would someone receive from attending the Fire Initiation Training that they couldn’t get from a one evening firewalk?
PD: The difference is the same as snacking on hors d’oeuvres and sitting down and eating a full meal. In the firewalk you will be uplifted and astonished, whereas in the Fire Initiation Training you learn how to apply these experiences and actually change your life.

AF: Can you describe how the firewalk and the Fire Initiation Training have positively affected people who have participated?
PD: If you think of an oil lamp that has a globe on it, and the glass chimney has been partially blackened from use, the light shining through to the world will be clouded. The light of the soul is similar. The glass chimneys of our spirit collect dirt and soot, preventing our brightness from shining through. The light of the soul is not diminished but the way it is cast upon the world has changed. In the Fire Initiation Training, the glass globe is cleaned so that the individual’s brightness can shine through and be fully experienced.

Peggy Dylan is considered the mother of the modern firewalking movement and has pioneered motivational and leadership trainings since 1976, presenting her unique and heart-felt message through the metaphor of the firewalk. Peggy will be presenting a one-evening workshop that is open to the public on Friday March 23, 2001 in Sandy, Oregon. She will continue with the Fire Initiation Training, presented by Wings of Fire Seminars on March 24-31. If you are interested in one of these programs contact Wings of Fire at (503) 224-3868 or, or at View Peggy Dylan’s web site at

Ariel Frager is the co-director of Wings of Fire Seminars and is pleased to bring the Fire Initiation Training to the Northwest.