Burning Woman: things I learned from a firewalk

At the beginning of June,  while the rest of the UK were marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, I was in a special bubble with 400+ other women at the Burning Woman Festival in Derbyshire, trusting that the ‘burning’ referred to burning from within: a woman’s power and passion — how to build it, engage it and not be destroyed by it…

…And not burning our feet during the firewalk that many of us took part in on Saturday night!

It was a festival of firsts for me.

On Friday I ran one of the first workshops – ‘Raise Your Vibration and Manifest a Life You Love’. It was my first time facilitating a workshop at a festival and my content was new, too. 

I had no idea what to expect; I didn’t know how many women would be there to participate as the gates had only been open for a couple of hours, or how deep people might be willing or able to go in just the 90 minutes I had available, or what they’d get out of it.

The workshop was about raising your vibration and connecting with your soul frequency so that you naturally magnetise the opportunities that are meant for your soul’s authentic success without having to use force and pushing to make things happen. 

I’d been practising this energy work for quite a few weeks and it had opened all sorts of doors to me, and I attracted the opportunity to facilitate at the festival exactly in this magical way.

Here’s what happened…

Literally, just as I was telling a business friend that I thought it would be really fun to connect more in-person with like-minded people by facilitating workshops at wellness festivals – another friend put a message in a group saying she had a spare space in a large tent that she’d already hired at Burning Woman, and did anyone want it? 

Of course, I said yes! When I mentioned my idea to her about getting a spot facilitating, she said “I know the organiser, do you want me to connect you?”

The next thing I knew, emails were being exchanged with the organiser. I’d quickly put together a new talk outline that she said was just right for the festival, but unfortunately all the teaching slots had gone, however, she could put me down for next year and the online festival in November. She also asked if I’d like to be on a short list in case another teacher pulled out.

I got the intuitive hit then that I was going to be facilitating at this one.

A week later she emailed to say that a slot had become available and would I like it?

And that’s how I got my first gig!

Apparently there were lots of other people on the short list as the spots had been well over-subscribed, but she remembered me. Clearly it was my right next step and I’d attracted it effortlessly!

However, it was still a big stretch for me into the unknown and I was nervous, but excited. In the end it was really fun, the women were amazing, and I’m so glad I did it!

Burning Woman

 The decision to stretch myself was made all the sweeter when one of the women who been at the workshop came up to me later in the weekend and told me that my story had inspired her to change her life, get brave, face her fears and go travelling, even though she was afraid of flying.

Another woman emailed me after to say “I found your workshop, your bravery and focus truly inspiring… it was one of my highlights of the weekend!”

I was so touched! This is why I do what I do. You never know what seeds you plant in others that take root and grow into something wonderful when you’re willing to stretch yourself, show up and share your words and your story!

One of the tools I shared with the workshop participants is an energy cleanse meditation that helps clear your energy field of any unhelpful energies that you might have picked up from others or that are ready to be released. It helps to bring you more into your soul frequency by reducing lower, denser frequencies and raising your vibration.

If you’d like to download it for yourself, and receive other resources and inspiration from time to time, you can do so by  completing the form below. Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Night of the firewalk: Things I learned from breaking an arrow with my throat and walking across hot coals.

On Saturday night we prepared for a firewalk ceremony, but before that, I volunteered to do another mindset challenge – an arrow break. 

The point of the arrow sits in the soft vulnerable hollow at the base of your throat above your collar bones and the other end rests against a wooden board that the facilitator holds. 

The idea is that you bring a clear intention of what you’d like to manifest in your life, and the arrow represents the space between you and the manifestation of your intention.

You focus on the successful accomplishment of what you want to experience in your life, call in your Higher Self support… then walk towards the board trusting that you will break the arrow… rather than puncture your windpipe as a result of this impromptu tracheotomy and be rushed off to hospital in a mess of blood and panic!

I’d heard of this activity before but never seen it done. I was the second woman to jump up and get to the stage to volunteer for this. As the woman in front of me got herself ready to do it I felt a  wave of anxiety rush through me – what if I failed in front of everyone? But I was so focused that the thought had no power and the feeling dissipated quickly.

When it was my turn I stood there and focused, took a breath and stepped forwards trusting that thousands had survived this before me. 

It seemed to take nothing to break the arrow because I had the belief that it was possible.

That’s a metaphor I need to remember!

Shortly after, we did the firewalk.


Firewalk at Burning Woman

Walking over burning coals was not something I’d ever wanted to go out of my way to do, but because it was a key part of the festival activities for everyone who wanted to have a go, I signed up early on and went for it.

The build-up to it wasn’t at all what I’d expected. I’d heard that Tony Robbins took a whole day to psyche everyone up to walk the coals at his events, so I imagined that a whole lot of fear would come up. But instead, the vibe in the crowd was light, fun and happy, and I felt clear, focused and a complete absence of fear or doubt.

While it was a great experience, especially to share it with friends, the odd thing was that I felt a bit underwhelmed after completing my firewalk and arrow-break… It was too easy!

Years earlier I’d done a similar mindset activity where I’d had to karate-chop a 12mm thick solid roof tile. That activity had made such an impact on me because it was all about focusing through the obstacle to the other side. I tried and tried to break that damn tile, but for the longest time, I couldn’t get past the fact that this was a solid piece of concrete that hurt when you hit it!

It didn’t stop me trying to break it with my hand, though, and after a while my hand and wrist were black and blue!

I am nothing if not persistent!

It wasn’t until everyone started leaving to go for a lunch break that my focus was no longer on the obstacle at hand (literally), and my hand went straight through the tile like a hot knife through butter!

I was over the moon! 

I still have that tile.

But now, when I compare the two experiences it’s uncomfortable to realise that I gave less value to the thing that was easy to achieve and much more to the one that involved hard work, effort and suffering.

I wonder how many of us hold the hard work we put in before a breakthrough like a badge of honour or a rite of passage? I know I did.

It’s very annoying to see that pattern still showing up – Work to do there, then! 

But it’s a gift to receive such a big, clear message that:

  • We can accomplish previously unbelievable things simply by being clear and focused on the outcome and committing to the journey.
  • We don’t need fear to accompany us for something to be meaningful and valuable – it can simply be fun and easy.
  • And once you set off, don’t stop, dawdle or doubt yourself or you might get burnt!

So, lots of ahas for me!

Have you ever done a firewalk or something similar? What were your biggest takeaways? Let me know in the comments below.

And if you’d like help to make yourself more attractive to the good stuff that the universe has lined up for you, but you feel like you’re getting in your own way, download the meditation below. Or if you’re ready for more personal, bespoke support, feel free to get in touch with me at connect@cathyballard.com.



Much love,

Cathy x
Dividing line

Cathy portraitCathy Ballard – Transformational energy coach, mentor and healer for women who want to live more authentically, more magically, more abundantly and from a higher energetic state of being that helps them create a life they love on their own terms aligned with their highest purpose.

Cathy has facilitated spirituality and mindset workshops, groups, programmes, women’s circles and worked 121 in NZ, Australia, UK since 1998.

She teaches her clients to develop and trust their connection to Source, master their spiritual power and reclaim their worth and value, creating more joy, satisfaction and abundance as a natural by-product of authentic alignment.

Email: connect@cathyballard.com

Or say hi on Instagram


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