My Prayerful Life: Fire

Naoko Yogi Takiguchi
3 min readApr 27, 2020


The other morning as I meditated outside I received an inspiration to hold a fire ceremony. The feeling was getting stronger by the time I got up. As I walked in the garden, fallen branches from the ash tree snapped and crunched beneath my feet. I happened to look down to see a magpie feather right on my path. This was a sign.

Fire was lit just before the sundown at around 8.30pm. The ash branches were so nice and dry, the fire burnt bright and strong.

I read out loud all the wishes and dedications I received from my friends, which I had written down on a piece of paper. Once I’d done that I folded in a bit of dried cedar and put it into the fire, so the smoke from the herb would carry those prayers up to the Great Spirit. That’s what I’ve been taught.

In the twilight, just as my eyes were adjusting to the night vision, I saw a frog leap out from a little bush near me. I was pretty sure it was a common frog. I spoke to it as I normally do with any creature, however, I quickly realised it wasn’t an ordinary frog. It was a purposeful frog, who hopped straight to the fire and stared at it for a very long time.

I would invite my readers to decipher their own meaning out of it. These things work like that.

It was a beautiful fire that burnt down to just a tiny bit of ash, which I scatted over the raised beds the next morning. It gave me well over two hours by the fire to give thanks, celebrate, and meditate.

This experience took me back to my roots. Fire and I go back a long way. I grew up seeing a photograph of a ‘fire dragon’ rising from a bonfire at a Buddhist mysticism ceremony. Besides attending ceremonies myself where monks’ and nuns’ robes were getting burnt from the fallen ashes, as a child I had swallowed charred paper talismans, and my skin had been burnt in a ceremonious way. I also have a heart-shaped burn on the sole of my foot that comes up every time I take a bath, from a firewalk when I graduated as a firewalking instructor.

Everything has a meaning in my world and having grown up in a household where ceremonies were regular occurrences is no exception. For my world, ceremonies are so, so important. Mother Earth is eagerly waiting to send her ambassadors to breathe her wishes into the ceremonies. I will meet her half way. I will always listen when the wind brings me the inspiration. That’s my pledge.