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Fire Tribe Hawaii

2012 Spring Equinox Camp Out

Leeward Oahu
March 16-18, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions

Overview and General Questions
What is a Fire Tribe Gathering?
Isn't this just a big drum circle?
Fire Tribe... is it all about fire spinning?
I have to work — can I just come to part of the Gathering?
What is all this stuff about "alchemy" anyway?
Is the Fire Tribe Gathering one of those Pagan gatherings?
What's the difference between the Fire Tribe Gathering and Burning Man?
Can I bring my children?
Are there books I can read to find out more about this kind of event?

Registration
I already registered for the Gathering. Where is my information packet?
Can I register for everything now and pay part now and part later?
Do I have to purchase the Meal Plan?
How many people usually attend a Fire Tribe Gathering?
What age do you have to be to attend by yourself or with friends?
I would like to be a merchant at the Gathering. How can I do this?
How is it that the Fire Tribe Gathering is so inexpensive?
Is there a way I can do work trade for the registration fee?
How can I become an Early Village Builder?

During the Gathering
What do you mean by "the Fire Circle?"
Do I have to stay up all night? Every night?
Do I have to attend an on-site Orientation?
What are "Playshops?"
What are Service Groups, and do I have to participate?
What are the camping facilities (such as showers, toilets, and terrain) like?

Music, Chants and Instruments

Is this a structured process, guided by facilitators — or can I share my favorite songs, rhythms or dances?
I play a frame drum and I'm often drowned out by djembes and dunduns — will there be opportunities to play and be heard?
Should I bring my guitar (flute, accordion, saxophone, etc.)?
Is there a CD or songbook available, so I can learn some of the chants before the Gathering?

Logistics
Why are there such firmly defined arrival times?
How can I arrange a ride to the Gathering site?
How can I best prepare for the Gathering?
Are alcoholic beverages allowed at the Gathering?
Is nudity allowed?
I would like to have a special ritual (hand-fasting, wedding, rite of passage) at the next Fire Tribe Gathering. Is that okay? Who should I contact?
What can I expect at a Gathering like this?
How can I find out the answer to a question not covered in the FAQ page?

Overview and General Questions

What are Fire Tribe Hawaii's Gatherings?

We converge around the sacred fire with the intent to manifest our prayers and dreams through artful play. Our fire circle is a unique world within which we engage each other in the myriad passionate ways humans express life. We share in song and chant, trance and ecstatic dance, drumming and other sacred sounds, adorning our bodies and creating community artwork. Your personal offerings of prayer, poetry and ritual theatre are invited and encouraged. Together we create a mindful space for transformation, within which we commune with each other, nature, and all that is holy in life.

Isn't this just a big drum circle?

Although drumming certainly plays an important role, it is only one of many elements that come together in a balanced way to create the energetic environment. Our circles also have very strong — and often unaccompanied — chant, song and spoken-word expressions, which also serve to "fuel the fire" throughout the night. The musicians at Fire Tribe Hawaii's Gatherings are tuned in, and endeavor to respond with appropriate accompaniment for whatever might be happening in the Circle.

Fire Tribe... is it all about fire spinning?

Fire spinners are welcome at Fire Tribe Hawaii's Gatherings — another beautiful example of spirit in action! We have a special area set aside for poi, staff, finger and other fire work. Evening fire spinning performances may be offered in a designated safe space. All fire spinners are expected to check in with our Fire Service Team leader for a safety review, and to stick to scheduled times and places for spinning before lighting up on site.

I have to work — can I just come to part of the Gathering?

The energetic container that we create as a community is strongest when we build and maintain it together. For this reason — and to avoid extra work for our volunteers — the Fire Tribe Gathering does not offer single day registration. Information on arrival and departure days and times can be found on the Overview Page.

What is all this stuff about "alchemy" anyway?

Alchemy is the art and science of transmuting lead into gold. In many alchemical traditions, the element of fire is used to accelerate transformation. In the Fire Tribe community we often use alchemy as a metaphor to help describe the processes many people experience as they engage with themselves, each other and spirit throughout the night, as well as over the course of the weekend. Because Alchemy describes psychological processes in symbolic terms, we have found it a useful bridge for people with diverse backgrounds and beliefs. More detailed information on alchemy as it relates to the Gathering is available in the article Fire Circle Alchemy.

Are the Fire Tribe Hawaii's Gatherings Pagan gatherings?

The Fire Tribe Gathering is a multi-denominational celebration of spirit — and spiritedness. People of all spiritual and religious paths are encouraged to attend — and atheists too! Fire Tribe Haawii's Gatherings provide a place where we explore the magic which many paths share on the deepest levels, and we are evolving a new mythology that encompasses us all!

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What's the difference between the Fire Tribe Gathering and Burning Man?

Although both festivals encourage creative expression and happen in the great outdoors, the similarities really end there. Burning Man is a huge festival, with more then thirty thousand people in attendance. Fire Tribe Hawaii's Gatherings are much smaller, with a maximum of 150 people, including children. At Burning Man, there are hundreds of different kinds of art installations, which aren't really connected to each other, and there is no time when the entire group gets together. At the Fire Tribe Hawaii's Gatherings, we share a common experience of music making, dancing, singing and making magic during the all-night fire circles, and we have the opportunity to re-connect as individuals within the group, each morning at sunrise. The activities during the day support the work and play that happens during the night. This sense of everyone being "on the same page" is one of the biggest differences between the festivals. Also, at Burning Man, there is a strong "party" atmosphere, with alcohol and drugs being very prevalent. Fire Tribe Hawaii's Gatherings take place at an alcohol and drug-free venuet, which leads to a higher, cleaner vibration in the energy signature, and dramatically reduces the chaos and violence factors. Burning Man's main focus is on "radical self-expression" and "radical survival skills" and happens in the middle of the Nevada desert. The Fire Tribe Hawaii's Gatherings focus is on celebration, creativity, and spirituality, and it happens at a beautiful camp in Hawaii.

Can I bring my children?

Yes, the Fire Tribe Hawaii's Gatherings are family friendly events.

Are there books I can read to find out more about this kind of event?

There are few events of this kind, fewer books on gatherings and festivals — and no books (so far!) about Fire Tribe Hawaii's Gatherings. This Web site includes a variety of reference articles and reviews, a reading list, and links to other similar festivals and gatherings.

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Registration

I already registered for the Gathering. Where is my information packet?

Fire Tribe Hawaii's Gathering Information Packet is only available online. It includes most of the information you need to arrive at the site prepared to enjoy the Gathering. Just prior to the Gathering, paid registrants will receive an email with important information, such as the gate combination and driving directions.

Can I register for everything now and pay part now and part later?

Fire Tribe Hawaii offers an early registration discount to encourage people to register and pay early.

Do I have to purchase the Meal Plan?

The meal plan is completely optional. The food is fresh, wholesome "summer camp" fare! Participants who have been to a Fire Tribe Gathering before usually choose the meal plan, as there are SO many amazing things to do that it's tough to find time to do your own cooking.

How many people usually attend a Fire Tribe Gathering?

The number of attendees has ranged from about 85 to about 110 in the past. Registration will be taken for up to 150 people.

What age do you have to be to attend by yourself or with friends?

Fire Tribe Hawaii Gathering attendees must be 18 years old, or accompanied by a parent or guardian.

I would like to be a merchant at the Gathering. How can I do this?

The Merchants Page is a clear and succinct page on our Web site that covers this question.

How is it that Fire Tribe Hawaii's Gatherings are so inexpensive?

Fire Tribe Hawaii has no paid staff. Instead, community members and participants contribute an incredible amount of time, energy, and talent to making this Gathering happen. An amazing core group of Artists, Organizers and Village Builders make the Fire Tribe Gatherings a priority in their yearly schedules. We share a personal passion to create community-building opportunities for people interested in drum, dance, song, personal transformation and magic.

Is there a way I can do work trade for the registration fee?

We don't offer a work-trade program, as we seek to create a community where the load is shared by all. A limited number of financial aid packages are offered for each Gathering. We are seeking dedicated Early Village Builders who want to enjoy an extra day of co-creating community by arriving a day early to help with setup. If you have any questions about coming early to prepare the foundations of the festival, please email us at firetribeinfo@yahoo.com or call Tara at 808-864-1701 for more information.

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During the Gathering

What do you mean by "the Fire Circle?"

A large area defined by a ring of torches and prayer flags, within which we co-create a night to dawn spontaneous ceremony of music, dance, song and ritual theatre — ever moving around a sacred fire. View an example Fire Circle and Orbits Map in our Written Orientation page.

Do I have to stay up all night? Every night?

Although we certainly encourage you to taste the unique experiences that result from immersing yourself in the all-night energy, no one is required to do anything. Some people join us for the first few hours of the circle, and then sleep. Others sleep in the early evening, and join the dance in the early hours of morning. Sleep whenever you like (remember your alarm clock!). Bringing earplugs and an eye cover can make it easier to sleep when you want to. It's totally up to you — and we encourage you to join us in stretching your beliefs about what is possible!

Do I have to attend an on-site Orientation?

The venue requires a brief safety orientation, which you'll get when you check in with your Service Team leader on the day you arrive. You can also read a written Orientation to the Fire Circle.

What are "Playshops"?

Think "workshop" — just a whole lot more playful (and a lot less "workful"). Anyone can present playshops at Fire Tribe Hawaii's Gatherings in any number of . Mthat offer learning and exploration opportunities across the very broad spectrum of the musical, magical, visual and healing arts embraced by the community.

What are "Service Groups" and do I have to participate?

Fire Tribe Gatherings are deeply participatory, as they are co-created from the commitments and contributions of service each of us makes. It takes the whole community to assemble sacred and functional spaces, and to return the site to its original state before we depart. All participants are expected to do their fair share of cleaning on the last day. When you register, you'll be asked to join a Service Group.

For more information, or to see a list of possible contributions, visit the Village Building page.

What are the camping facilities (such as showers, toilets, and terrain) like?

The Gathering takes place at a rustic camp in the mountains. There is a dining hall, a large meeting room, a gazebo, restrooms with flush toilets, and hot water showers. The water is potable. The terrain is hilly or mountainous forest with dirt roads, hiking trails and numerous scenic overlooks.

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Music, Chants and Instruments

Is this a structured process, guided by facilitators — or can I share my favorite songs, rhythms or dances?

The magic of our fires is deeply rooted in the spontaneous nature of how each circle unfolds. Your songs, rhythms and dances are certainly welcome! Our entire Gathering is a safe container full of people willing to witness, embrace and participate with your offerings. The only pre-planned elements are the nightly fire lighting rituals and the solar salutation ceremony at dawn.

I play a frame drum and I'm often drowned out by djembes and dunduns — will there be opportunities to play and be heard?

There is an incredible variety of drumming styles at Fire Tribe Hawaii'sGatherings, and we work hard to create a community wide mindset of sensitivity that values and encourages softer instruments and voices.

Should I bring my guitar (flute, accordion, saxophone, etc.)?

Instruments of all kinds are welcome! Musicians who play melody-based instruments are encouraged to jam and share songs throughout the day. Instrumentation at the fire circle is predominantly focused on percussive and ambient sound offerings, though a careful, patient, and crafty melody player will sometimes find a few delicious moments of exploration at the fire circle. The key to this kind of participation is sensitivity to the flow of energy and rhythm that is already present.

Is there a CD or songbook available, so I can learn some of the chants before the Gathering?

Sound samples (in MP3 format) and the lyrics for nearly 100 chants may be accessed online by joining the Fire Tribe Chants eGroup. There are also links to other websites which offer lyrics and MP3s of chants popular in our circles on the Related Links page.

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Logistics

Why are there such firmly defined arrival times?

We have learned that part of building a safe and sacred container for community and creativity is getting everyone on site, and on the same page as early as possible. The arrival cut-off times also allow the volunteers who handle the check-in process to step away from mundane concerns, and to enter undistracted into the magical realms of deep relationship and inventiveness we come for in the first place!

How can I arrange a ride to the Gathering site?

The Gathering site is a fair distance up the mountain from the Honolulu airport. The Information Packet includes recommendations for commercial shuttle services. To arrange ride sharing with other community members, we recommend you join the Fire Tribe Discussion Egroup and network with other attendees to find a ride, share a rental car, or share a shuttle ride.

How can I best prepare for the Gathering?

Many seasoned Fire Tribe Gathering celebrants begin shifting their sleeping/waking schedule in the days leading up to the Gathering. You are encouraged to arrive rested! In addition to making it easy on yourself by getting on the optional meal plan, you might consider bringing energy foods and drinks to supplement your diet. Drink LOTS of water. If possible, arrange your schedule to have a day off between the Gathering and returning to work. Be sure to carefully read our Web site, especially the Information Packet — there is lots of useful information there!

Are alcoholic beverages allowed at the Gathering?

The Gathering venue is an alcohol and drug-free venue.

Is nudity allowed?

Nudity is allowed during the day in a designated area on site, and in the Fire Circles each night. Clothing is required at all times in the rest of the camp.

I would like to have a special ritual (hand-fasting, wedding, rite of passage) at the next Gathering. Is that okay? Who should I contact?

The occasional special ritual you may have heard about or attended at a previous Fire Tribe Hawii's Gathering most likely would have been organized by long-term members of our community. There are some constraints about when and where such special occasions may be held (for example, there are none held during the Early Village Builder day, when all of our attention needs to be focused on setting up). For more information, please contact firetribeinfo@yahoo.com with details about your request.

What can I expect at a Gathering like this?

An incredible experience, truly like no other! You might enjoy reading reviews of previous Fire Tribe Hawaii Gatherings written by attendees on our Reviews page.

How can I find out the answer to a question not covered in the FAQ page?

Send us email!

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