Agnihotra Gives Protection during Australian Bush Fires

Jessica Cowley-Martin
Valley de Caparra, Phoenix, NSW, Australia
February 2020

I thought it might be helpful to tell my story and give others some understanding and hope when realizing the incredible protective field that can be created by the practice of Agnihotra.
I think it was sometime in September of 2019 that I felt an urgent kind of gut feeling that I should start practicing Agnihotra again.

I had not been practicing for some years. I had been through some very difficult times and I remembered the practice of Agnihotra always brought me a wonderful calmness, connection to the Earth and to the rhythms of nature. I felt peace and healing of myself and the land when practicing. I also felt that it could help my gardens and nature around me deal with the terrible drought we had been enduring for so long. Our usually fast flowing bubbling creek had dried up to a few holes where water life struggled to survive and trees where dying. It was a good feeling to be practicing again.
I noticed the grass somehow seemed to stay greener than other places and my garden was appreciating the ash and creating a haven for many creatures.

   Coming into November the weather was really heating up and fires were looming in the rugged mountain country behind where I live, unable to be contained. A huge fire front had developed and was creeping closer to our little valley. Days of smoke and wondering how close the fire actually was. Then the day came when the fire revealed itself, roaring with huge flames through the drought-stricken bush. An intense night followed as I watched the fire burning through neighbor’s properties and devouring forest on the hills opposite me. I probably should have fled then but I was somehow waiting for fire trucks or help or some indication it was time. The next morning it was too late to leave. Fire trucks could not get in or out and power and phone lines were soon cut off by the fire.

Devastated forest 3 months after the bush fire.

Agnihotra was performed in the yard. Home and veggie garden untouched by the bush fire that consumed properties all around.

   The morning came in hot and brought strong wind. Helicopters bringing water to try and quell the fire had to turn back as conditions became too dangerous. By late morning the fire started coming from many directions. Spot fires were starting way ahead of the main front and it was all happening with great speed. An eerie orange /red light and suffocating smoke surrounded me. I saw my neighbor’s house engulfed by flames. I bundled the dogs into the car with a few belongings I had prepared and headed down the driveway to the road. Ash and live cinders were flying everywhere. Realizing I had left my escape way too late I pulled into a neighbor’s driveway and drove up to their house. Their property had been burnt around the day before although many things were lighting up again with the wind.  I am so grateful to these wonderful people. They welcomed me and my dogs inside. They had 3 children and lots more dogs and two other neighbors were sheltering there as well. They were amazing, constantly running outside in the heat and smoke to put out fires that were lighting up around the house yard and sheds. I watched as a tornado of fire roared down the dry creek bed. It was terrifying. I had no idea as to whether my house would still be standing. The smoke was so thick I could not see the other side of the valley. I had grave fears for my much-loved cows and chickens and thought of how I would have to search for them and what condition I would find them in after the fire had passed.
   After three dreadful hours of waiting the main front of the fire seemed to have passed. A fire truck was coming down the road and then headed up the track to my house. I gave them about 15 min. and then headed up, catching them on their way back down again. They informed me, to their and my total amazement that my house (an old 1940’s weatherboard cottage) was not touched by the fire. The fire had burnt up to about 1 metre from the house on one side and my rainforest gardens were burnt severely out the front, but when I walked around the back of the house there was my Agnihotra pyramid sitting on the earth in its usual place with ash from the night before. Beyond were my gardens and veggie garden, mulch unburnt and chickens were alive and well. Rooster flapping his wings and crowing. Even an old shed covered with a thick matting of needles from the She Oaks nearby did not catch alight. Tears of relief and disbelief ran down my face. One of the exhausted fire fighters kept quizzing me as he could not believe that no one had been here protecting the house. They had been fighting so hard to save homes for others up the road with just one truck. 12 homes in our small community were lost in Caparra that day and 18 homes in nearby Bobin.
  I did lose 3 water tanks that melted in the heat and my electricity meter on a pole near the shed burnt down. All the fences on this 300-acre property were destroyed. Even electricity poles in an open field burnt to the ground. The native forest that takes up more than half of this property was severely burnt like nothing I have ever seen before here.
I brought my dogs back home and spent that night putting out fires burning in logs, posts, trees etc. near to the house. I was grateful for help from a friend who dropped over with his fire-fighting gear in between putting out fires for others as well as at his own place.

Photo above: regrowth 3 months after fire. The trees on the right about a meter from the house were clearly burnt. Cows, chickens, bees all unharmed.

Bee hive remained untouched and bees alive and well in burnt out paddock.
The fire went around the wooden hive.

   It was at about 1 am that night I heard a frightened moo that seemed to be coming from out in the hills that were glowing with thousands of orange and red lights like some kind of strange city. So much was still burning. My heart skipped a beat …the cows, were they all still alive? At first light the next morning I saw them. The four cows and little calf standing on the hillside amongst the fallen and smoldering trees. I called them but they were too afraid to come so I walked over and they followed me back to the house. They looked to be unburnt, just blackened by soot and ash.
Another miracle was the beehive down near the creek. Amazingly untouched by the fire yet burnt severely all around. Bee’s all ok. And then the shed amidst the burnt forest which housed my crystal singing bowls and a generator (which later came in handy) remained untouched by the fire.

    I feel such gratitude. I am sure the healing and protective energy of Agnihotra has had a role in keeping me, my home and animals safe during this devastating fire. I feel like it created a protective energy around the space where I practice. A place of calm and higher vibration where no harm can come. Beyond the chaos into a different realm.
     My place here in the Caparra valley is called Phoenix. I feel now is a time of renewal for me and this land here. The fire has brought our little community so much closer together and now, after flooding rains the creek is running freely, the paddocks are emerald green and the forest though struggling is doing its best to return anew.
Much love to you Lee and Frits for introducing me to Agnihotra many years ago.

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