Food For Thought – Symbolism of the Campfire


There is something about a fire that draws us together and sets us up to learn.  I think the safety and security offered by a campfire is so deeply coded inside our cultural collective learning that we all get drawn into the circle at a subconscious and primal level.  Once we are safely inside the circle we know we will be warm, we know we will be fed, and we know we have a degree of protection from threats.

It was probably around the first camp fires that our ancestors started on this journey to master skills.  In these early moments the skills taught and shared were likely hyperfocused on survival, but today many of us have deep learning experiences sitting around a campfire.

For me, the campfire symbolizes what I want to accomplish here at Mastery of Skill.  The symbology of the fire offers us both understanding and warning.

The campfire requires skill.  It takes some degree of skill to make a proper campfire in the first place, and if you can’t manage it yourself you will need someone to help you or show you how to do it. If mishandled, fire can be a devastating force and must be controlled. Your skills can be this way too.  You know the saying “I know just enough to be dangerous,” or for my fellow comic book geeks out there — “with great power, comes great responsibility.”

The campfire brings us together.  Mastering skills can be done alone, but not in a vacuum. At some point you will need a guide or a mentor to help you get started or advance on the path to mastery.

The campfire needs constant upkeep.  You have to work to keep a fire going.  Without fuel the fire goes out, just like with skills.  Without attention and action skill proficiency will degrade over time.  The fire can also get out of control if not properly contained or managed.  Skills can be dangerous if learned incorrectly or used improperly.

The campfire enables us. Just like we depend on the campfire for safety, security and as a tool our skills have a synergy amongst themselves.  The campfire is both an ends to a means and an end unto it itself.  The skills you possess function in the same way.

What are you thoughts?  I would love to hear them.  You can come on over to our closed facebook discussion group to share your thoughts and insights.  Or you can email me directly at


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