~The Burning Man Festival~
One ritual that has a main focus of FIRE is the Burning
Man Festival; a week-long festival that is known about internationally. It's held annually the week before Labor
Day on the beach of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada; 120 miles north of Reno, NV. The culmination of the event is the burning
of a large wooden sculpture of a man on Saturday night, the 6th night of the event. Below is a link that can explain more
about this ritual.
~THE MAGIC OF THE
FIRE CIRCLE RITUAL~
Jeff Magnus McBride and Abigail Spinner McBride
the dawn of time, human beings have gathered around the fire to make music, to dance, and to weave magic in the fire light.
In the past fifteen years, there has been a resurgence in our Western culture for this type of ritual, a reawakening of the
shamanic spirit. What is happening during the course of an all-night fire? After observing the ritual process for a number
of years, and comparing stories and experiences with others, we have found that the alchemical model is a useful tool for
understanding the all-night sacred fire circle ritual.
fire circles and drum circles range from very informal social gatherings to all-night intentional magical workings, here we
will focus on the style of intentionally created magical drum and dance fire circles that have been evolving for the past
fifteen years on the East Coast, which have now found their way across the country (to FIREDANCE). One of the main differences
in our rituals is the "container" which we create. In the alchemical tradition a container or vessel is often hermetically
sealed to outside influences. At our fire circles the participants enter the vessel with the intention of doing their magical
fire circle ritual is different, but there are some elements common to all. In alchemy, the Magnum Opus, or "great work,"
is the creation of the "philosopher's stone," which has many magical qualities. This philosopher's stone has the amazing power
to turn all that it touches into gold, or to spiritualize matter. Basically, as we see it, we're using a pattern that we know
works to change and grow more fully into our souls. We are turning lead into gold, on many different levels.
see the primary goal of staying up all night, drumming, dancing and singing at a fire circle as an alchemical process. Each
one of us is involved, on some level, in the great work. We accelerate the processes of personal growth by accelerating the
fire of Nature, which transforms the lead of our lives into the gold of Spirit. One of the basic ideas behind many alchemical
traditions is that of transmuting or purifying one thing from a "lower" form into a "higher" form. When we consider the history
of Alchemy, we find many different traditions.
Some rituals were observed by the entire populace, as part of the sacred fire
festivals of Samhain and Beltane. During the celebration of Samhain (Nov.
1.), the Celtic New Year and the beginning of the long, dark half of the year, the entire village would extinguish their hearth
fires and ceremonially relight them from the King's fire. This fire was ritually lit by the King's chief Druid.
|The Pagan fire festival of Beltane was, in contrast to Samhain,
a celebration of spring - of fertility, new life, and the awakening of the earth after the long hard winter. Young people
sleep outside all night, make love, and return home the next day with flowers in their hair. Another well known element of
the Beltane festival,
was the dance of the May pole. The Maypole, symbolic of the world tree, is
circled by two rows of dancers spiraling and weaving in and out, each holding the end of a ribbon tied to the top of the pole.
The weaving ribbons represent the turning of the earth's axis, the turning of the seasons, and the turning wheel of the universe.