Bonfires are associated with Beltane. They are said to cleanse the land and make seeds grow faster. Cattle were driven between two such fires to protect them from illness and disease for the season. Lovers would also jump over fires to seal their commitment to each other.
So what fun things can we do around a fire? Some of these work well using candles; some need firepits; others need nothing more than your imagination. (Please be responsible when doing anything with fire—have a jug of water close by, use a safe fire pit, clear away dead leaves from around the pit, etc.)
When I am at a fire pit, sooner or later you will find me staring into the fire. It is inevitable. What am I doing? Falling asleep? Being antisocial? Waiting for the perfect marshmallow roasting conditions? Or am I looking into the depths of the Universe’s Soul? Well, it depends on the day, but most of the time I am fire gazing (some would call it ‘scrying’). For me, this is the art of seeking communication with my deity, guides, spirits, or my own subconscious. (You may call it whatever resonates with you, and/or call to whomever you wish.) Sometimes I stare with an intention or question in mind, but mostly I am checking in to see if the Universe wants to talk to me. I receive messages in several ways using different senses. I will see images in the embers or shapes and color in the flame. I will tune into patterns of movement in the smoke above me. A scent will waft past that reminds me of something. The crackling will sing to me. Sometimes I imagine that I am small and dance with the flame. Other times I find I am so relaxed and open that random thoughts will occur which make perfect sense.
In my experience, this is a gentle exercise that needs little preparation or recovery time. As a matter of fact, I generally feel like my soul battery has been recharged and I am outwardly mellow. You might prefer a little ceremony before you begin and some grounding afterwards, and that is all OK too! As for interpreting the message you receive, I suggest that you are the best person to figure that out because you know best what the images, thoughts, sounds, etc. mean to you.
FIRE STORM VISUALIZATION
Most of my cleansing visualizations are gentle and soothing. But there are times when that shit just ain’t gonna cut it! I am pissed and I need big guns and I need them NOW! Hence my Fire Storm visualization. I often do this when I am walking because I need to get the extra energy out of my system, but it is OK to do this while being still.
With the plethora of superhero imagery these glorious days, it is easy to adapt the ‘Flame On!’ technique. Visualize yourself catching fire, flames burning brilliantly, and yet no harm comes to you. Think Human Torch or Phoenix. I start with “igniting” my hands and feeling the “flame” in my palms. It is cool to the touch and it is easy to produce. I can play with it, allowing it to dance in my hand, or I can call upon the force of it and allow it to cover my hands in flame. This flame creeps up my arms to my shoulders. From there it simultaneously envelopes my head and body. The flame clears out all the things that no longer are useful to me. It burns away all the rubbish thoughts circling my head—all the negative energy I have absorbed from interactions with the world. The flame searches the crevices of my body, seeking out old sensations and patterns that need to leave now. Nothing can hide; all is consumed. The flame burns until the anger and negativity are gone. And then it burns clean! It is refreshing fire, filling me with passion, hope, ideas, creativity, energy to do whatever is now important to me. I bask in the flame, feeling renewed. Like the aftermath of a forest fire, the ground of my Self, my Soul is now fertile for new things. When I have completed the transformation, I allow the flame to release from my body and send the excess energy into the earth so that I become grounded. I often feel energized and calm after I do this visualization (and, to be honest, a little kick-ass).
HUBBA HUBBA, IGNITE THAT PASSION!
I am sure you can think of ways to start this kind of fire, or keep it fueled. There are others in our group more qualified than I to speak on such matters. I mostly just wanted to write this heading because it made me giggle!
WANDS TAROT SPREAD
I came up with this spread to honor the Wands Suit in the Tarot deck. Wands are associated with…you guessed it, fire! The image to guide this spread is a hand holding a wand. There are 7 cards in the spread:
1. Hand: Where are you in this moment?
2. Intent: Where do you want to go? What result do you want?
3. Wand: What tools do you have (or need) to help?
4. Word: What needs to be said?
5. Gesture: What needs to be done?
6. Magic: How will the transformation come about?
7. Sparks: What will be the outcome?
I have tested this out on a few questions I have about my life these days and have found it to be effective. If you give it a shot, let me know how it worked for you.
So, for about 30 years I have been reading about pine cones you can make that produce colored flame when they are burned. “How perfect for Beltane Craft Time!” thought I. On the Interwebs, I did my research and found a couple of DIY recipes you can make with regular household items. Sweet! These recipes call for different substances in water, such as Epsom salt to produce a red flame, and borax to burn blue. Ooooooh! None had proportions of water to powdery goodness, so I winged it. Using my Science Super Power (I got the highest grade in my 9th grade Biology class, I know I am the Shiz Niz, and I totes got this!), I deduced SCIENTIFICALLY that if I kept adding chemical to water until it could dissolve no more, I would create a super-saturated solution that would give maximum color effect to my burning pine cones. Brittany came over, and we played Potions Class and created several red Solo cup soaking solutions. Yes, it was a blast: “Boil, Boil”, and all that jazz! We (sort of) measured water and powder and created several solutions: Epsom salt (red flame), table salt (yellow), alcohol (blue), and then we got creative and tried sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and witch hazel. They soaked overnight and then dried for two and a half days on an old window screen outside in the fresh air. I labeled them with masking tape and Sharpie and then found a local fire to burn them in. I threw in the first pine cone and waited with bated breath for it to burst dramatically into colorful flame.
I waited a long time.
A LOOOOOONG time.
The pine cone finally caught fire… sort of. But nothing really happened. With any of them. Whomp whomp.
The moral of this story has something to do with laughing at one’s self and enjoying the process, even when it is a Pinterest-fail. Have no fear, Dear Reader, I WILL try again! And when I prevail with my Crafty Craftiness, I will let you know all the deets.