What is a Fire Talk?
A fire talk is a shamanic counseling session. Rooted in the ancient curanderismo traditions of the Americas, these platicas del corazon (discussions of the heart) are deep, open exchanges that support you in discovering your true self and finding your way forward in life. The experience is like having a conversation with a wise old friend, in the spirit of the dialogues between don Juan and his young apprentice Carlos Casteneda, sitting on the veranda or out in a desert canyon around a fire. Together we listen to what is felt but not seen, sensing the quiet but insistent invitations of your heart, identifying the hesitations and barriers to those, and helping you move forward in life-giving new directions with new confidence and power. The fire talk process is outlined in detail in Jeff's book, The Lost Art of Heart Navigation.
- Individual fire talk sessions (1.5-2 hrs.)
- Long-distance fire talks (via internet/Zoom)
- Day-long intensives (with several sessions)
- Multi-day intensives (residential program at guest house)
- Couples' fire talk sessions (in person or online/Zoom)
The issues that people bring to fire talk counseling include all the modern troubles of stress, anxiety, depression, relationships, career transitions, and spiritual struggles like feeling stagnant, lost, or purposeless in life. But the shamanic approach to these is very different, accessing an ancient and deeply soulful path that draws on the innate power of the heart, the support of the Creator, and our spiritual connection with all living things.
Fire talk sessions are a gentle blend of traditional shamanic practices with modern counseling wisdom and may include shamanic journeying, visioning exercises, intensive journaling, dream work, soul retrieval ceremony, and more. Fees are set on a sliding-scale basis to help more individuals benefit from the work.
New in 2019: Jeff has purchased the house next door to his own home for use as a guest house for out-of-town clients. After months of renovating, the 1908 Prairie-style home is now available for overnight stays for a reasonable fee. Contact Jeff for more info!
"This week (of fire talk sessions) has been one of the most life-changing things I've ever experienced." - Tiffany, mother of twins, Florida
Here's a short video describing the fire talk lineage, and Jeff's process:
You can use e-mail to schedule a fire talk or ask a question. Fees and details listed in each section below.
"Thanks, Jeff! When our son Chris (17) shared insights from his fire-talk, Paul and I were both stunned and amazed. We tried not to bust out in tears. It was nothing short of miraculous. Chris was given an incredible gift today. THANK YOU for sharing your gifts with our son. We look forward to future sessions!" -Barbara, Indiana
"One can teach the process, but be assured that no one can ask just the right questions at the right time (did someone say lawyer?), guide the discussion in such a gentle, insightful way, and reflect such intuitive vision as you." –Victoria, financial manager, Michigan.
Individual Fire Talk Session
Fire talks take place in Jeff's backyard Hermitage in South Bend. We start with several minutes of mindful silence, then light the flame of an earthenware lamp for a sage blessing and prayer. Jeff then provides a brief overview of the earth-honoring spiritual traditions, and we begin.
It's a gentle yet purposeful process of getting quickly to the heart of the situation you are facing, helping you clarify a vision for what is most deeply needed in your life, and naming the barriers that stand in the way of following that vision. The relaxed time frame (about 2 hours) allows deep exploration of those needs and barriers. You will leave with a clearer vision for your life, more confidence in a forward-leading path, and specific action steps toward living out and protecting this new path in your daily life.
How many sessions? You decide. Some people find one session is enough to deeply clarify things and move forward. Others return for some additional sessions to work through a more persistent challenge. Still others schedule ongoing sessions because they enjoy the process, need the support and accountability, and because it works.
For more on fire talks and Jeff's practice, see FAQs.
- First session (2 hrs) is a sliding-scale fee from $80.-$115. Meaning, you decide what you can afford to pay within this given range. This allows more people to take advantage of the fire talk experience.
- Additional sessions (1.5 hrs) for a lower a sliding-scale fee from $60.-90.
Contact Jeff to set up your initial fire talk.
“I am impressed that our sessions got right to the heart of the deep issues, and are very Spirit- led. Much more efficient (and much more fun) than traditional counseling!” -Katrina EA, financial advisor
"Talking with Jeff really helps me get through the problems I am dealing with, whether they are emotional or physical, obvious or deeply hidden inside myself. I feel very comfortable there, and walk away feeling much more calm and collected than I did walking in." -Lisa, high school senior.
Long-Distance (phone or Skype) Fire Talks
Fire talk sessions can be conducted long-distance via online Skype/Zoom teleconference or phone when travel to South Bend is not practical. Jeff sends guidelines ahead of time on how to prepare for the session and create the necessary space on both ends of the line (for example securing a quiet room at home, creating a small altar, and arranging with family and pets for no interruptions).
- Fees: First session (2 hrs): a sliding-scale $85.-115
- Additional sessions (1.5 hrs): a sliding-scale fee $65.-95.
"I reached out to schedule a video conference with Jeff after reading his book. From the moment we connected, I felt the space to be safe, secure, and powerful. Jeff's deep listening, reflection, grounded humanity, and non-judgmental compassion created a sense of space that allowed a deep wisdom to emerge. I left feeling much more clear, lighter, and filled with gratitude." -- Michael, Los Angeles, CA
"Thank you to Jeff for his telephone fire talk that held me in a sacred space and allowed to me see that spirit had blessed me with a shamanic "dismemberment" of my life so I could be put back to together, in a stronger more loving way... I discovered a huge opening in my life of freedom to grow my stronger and with more sacred energy. What a gift to see this year differently, with deeper eyes and a grateful heart. Thank you so much Jeff.'" - Annie, New Lenox, IL
Full Day Intensive
Involves several fire talks over the course of the day and/or evening, allowing more time and depth for the work together. Working out of Jeff's backyard Hermitage, we alternate between the fire talk sessions and quiet/solo time for you.
The practices we utilize may include guided shamanic journeys, meeting one's spirit guide or power animal, core journaling exercises, and traditional shamanic ceremonies like soul retrieval. The work is customized to support your particular needs, your vision and life challenges.
Out-of-town clients can stay overnight in our guest house, a classic 1908 foursquare home Jeff has completely renovated. Reasonable nightly fee.
Fees: Fees for the day of fire talks depend on the number and length of sessions provided. The average fee for a two-hour fire talk session is $100. Contact Jeff to inquire today.
"I saw myself from a new perspective with this process. Sitting by the fire, Jeff had me choose objects from a bowl that represented aspects of my journey and struggle, and place those on a table. This was a refreshing way to look at my life in an honest, non-judgmental way and find a practical solution by the end of the session." -Deanna, spiritual director
Fire talk intensives involve several days to a full week of sessions for a deep, retreat-like experience to withdraw fully from the activity of life and explore the guidance of your heart. You may stay in our guest house next door, at a local hotel, or commute from home if you live nearby. Ample time is allowed between sessions for reading, journaling, walks along the river, naps, and contemplation in Jeff's beautiful backyard retreat space.
Fees: Fees for the days/week are negotiated based on the number and length of sessions provided. A recent client from California stayed five days, with two or three 2-hour fire talk sessions per day and escorted side trips to a county park, and the Lake Michigan beach for a closing fire ceremony. Her fees averaged $100. per session and she stayed in our guest house for $45. per night.
Upon booking your travel dates, Jeff will email you an invoice for an advance deposit of 30% to reserve the Hermitage (and guest house if applicable) exclusively for you.
"Thank you for being on my journey with me this week. I came to Indiana without any expectations and am leaving with tools, more awareness, and an openness to my own heart I could not have received on my own. I truly felt your dedication, warmth and compassion during all of our sessions. Your work is very important and I am honored to have been a part of it." -Krista, clothing designer, Portland Oregon
"I spent a three-day weekend at Jeff's backyard Hermitage and had a wonderful time relaxing and reflecting between our fire talk sessions. It was truly refreshing to get away from my regular life to really be with myself and explore my heart uninterrupted. The icing on the cake was conversation with Jeff's kind wife Regina, and playing with his energetic dog Indie!" -Anders J., University of Michigan (senior), Ann Arbor MI
Couples' Fire Talk
A 2-hour Fire Talk session for couples. Not "couple's therapy", but rather an exercise in learning to become a shaman for your partner, helping your partner identify their own life vision and barriers to moving forward. The emphasis is not on placing blame or diagnosing marital problems but supporting two individual souls on unique paths of awakening as best friends and vital partners. This frees up each person to be in partnership with much more free space, like two climbers scaling a difficult mountain, roped together yet with lots of slack between them to allow each the freedom to choose their best course.
Jeff celebrated his 30th anniversary with his wife Regina in 2018, and has learned a lot about what works and what doesn't work in daily relationships, including raising kids, balancing careers, spiritual growth, illness, job changes, financial crises, and traditional couples' counseling. And here's the deal: When you stop focusing on what's wrong with your "climbing partner" and pay closer attention to your own needs and path ahead, great pressure is taken off your partner to meet your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. The partnership is given a rest, allowed to reboot, and you can begin relating together like new souls with fresh vision and energy, like two independent adventurers working closely as a team. In this soulful heart-based approach, intractable problems begin to melt and a surprising new light and path forward typically opens up with little conscious effort.
Fees: first session (2 hours) sliding-scale fee $90.-120. Subsequent sessions (1.5 hours) sliding scale $75-105. Contact Jeff to schedule your first Couples session today.
"We originally sought you out to go to a deeper spiritual level in our marriage. Thank you so much for introducing us to heart centered counseling. Even though we have had only three sessions, the progress has been incredible." -Keith and Katrina (financial and tax advisors)
"Jeff, thanks so much for your time this evening. My husband and I had a great talk tonight; I asked him a lot of the same questions that you asked me. His answers were very insightful. I felt like a shaman 🙂 Much appreciation for your work! I look forward to working with you again! P.s.- I am going to give my mom your card." -Cathy (physical therapist)