Humans discovered the creation of fires some 420 million years ago, but the invention of Firewalking did not occur until much later. Once it did, the idea stuck like hot tar. It has been in use all over the world for a variety of rituals and celebrations. Here is a glimpse into the history of Firewalking.

It’s Origin & Purpose

The ceremony has quite a widespread history in many parts of the world. Africa, Europe, The Pacific Islands, Polynesia, The Mediterranean, The Caribbean, and South, East, and Central Asia are all origins of Firewalking. These acts of strength, courage, and awakening have been in use for a variety of purposes over the years. Examples include healing, competition, display of faith, initiation, and to allot justice. 

The First Firewalk

The earliest recorded ritual of Firewalking dates all the way back to 1200 BC during the Iron Age, where two Brahmin priests took a Firewalk together as a competition. The competition stated that whoever walked the furthest on the hot coals was the victor and had their accomplishment documented.

The !Kung Bushmen of the Kalahari desert were also connected to Firewalking. The !Kung used it for healing purposes and “igniting their individual energies”, both of which are reasons most people Firewalk today.

The Healing Powers of Fire

Healing ceremonies were one of the main purposes of Firewalking throughout it’s history. During the 17th Century, a Jesuit priest was one of the first people to see a healing Firewalk. The walk was performed by Native Americans in North America. He described the ritual to his superior in a letter. He stated that the sick woman walked through the hot embers bottomless and barefoot. She did not scream or get burned, she criticized the fire, saying she could not feel the heat from it. 

Today’s Flame

Firewalking in the West did not gain much popularity until the 1970s when Scientific American published a “how-to” for the ancient ritual. The late 1980s rolled around and the founder of the International Firewalking Movement began teaching classes to a small number of people including a young Anthony Robbins.

The ancient ritual has spread like wildfire ever since, and now this mind-expanding practice has changed so many lives for the better. Thanks to all of the FIT instructors, this tradition is now the organized ceremony that we know today being taught to the thousands. Firewalking is now utilized by individuals, families, teams, and corporations alike. 

Walking through fire can be done physically and figuratively, and when you complete a Firewalk, you do both at once. Lucky for us, it did not become ancient history, but instead, revolutionized our lives for today, tomorrow, and the next. Conquering fear, building strength, healing wounds, and attaining confidence are obtained through this ancient ceremony. There is a reason it still exists to this very day, and if you haven’t tried it – it’s time you start now!

Firewalking Institute of Research and Education

Looking to join the millions of people who have safely accomplished firewalking?

Firewalking Institute of Research and Education can fully customize your event, from one hour to a full day. We can align our messages and activities to match your unique messaging. Looking for an end of retreat experience? We can do that too. 

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