please do checkout this very interesting interview by my friend Rune @nordic.animism with Professor of “Fire” Stephen J Pyne. I came across Pyne’s books a few years ago and have a few of his books and was fascinated about the way he talks about fire and the history of fire and the age of fire (the pyrocene) he approaches fire from a more scholarly/scientific angle rather than my more esoteric angle - so I find some of his writing a bit heavy going and tend to flick through to pick up key bits of info BUT backs up some of my own views and research and there is no one who has documented fire like Pyne - and I’ll adopt Pyne’s phrase of being a pyroromantic
And thanks to Rune for mentioning me a few times 😍
As I like to say “we are forged from fire” - without Fire we wouldn't be here! I shall most likely do a post or even YouTube ramble on the pyrocene (a term dubbed by Stephen J Pyne) at some point from my angle on it - fire has become mechanised ; industrialised and internalised and hidden from view but we are still very much dependent on it. I like Pyne’s analogy that we are cooking (everything) on fire including the planet.
I respect and honour fire through my own practice and approach - and for me my own sacred approach to fire is very important - we can not continue to cook the planet - and to change that our connection to fire must change on a deeper level is what I believe - tho I know I shall never get many - any!? (I know I do have a few😀) - followers in my approach 😀 🔥🙏 (I can’t see me ever becoming a fire cult - one may dream 🤣)
Fire is in our DNA. We are forged from fire🔥🙏respect it; honour it; without it we wouldn’t be here - it is tied into the very fabric of life
#samhain #halloween2023 #halloween
when I need a fire either when camping or as part of a ritual or an event then a fire will be coaxed and I will draw on my knowledge and experience to ensure fire is welcomed through rubbing sticks and tended with awareness (not rushed and doesn’t matter how long it takes unless of course one is needed in an emergency ) . Outside (includes within large covered spaces/roundhouses etc) I will always rub sticks to welcome fire with sets I have prepared . Preparation is all part of my practice.
I’m not doing as many practical posts at the moment but passing on the knowledge and skills I pick up along the way is also important to me so I will still continue to share practical tips too - and lots on my website and a fire plough tutorial on YouTube.
In the past I did mostly practical posts but now I want to share more about the sacred aspect of my approach as that is the underlying reason I rub sticks and underlying in my approach when I guide people to rub sticks.and it’s just as important for me to pass on my approach, philosophy and share folklore & stories
I don’t mandate any way of conducting fire rituals. I do not follow any particular belief but my own path.I endeavour not to appropriate from other cultures. my focus now is welcoming fire in ritual for use in uk My practice has evolved from 9 years of rubbing sticks and being involved in sacred practice over 20 years and my research into neid fire
I guide people in how to welcome fire by rubbing sticks and pass on knowledge and skills so they can use in thier own practice and pass on to others.
With Neid Fire I guide people in materials needed. I share the history, folklore and myths surrounding Neid Fire and that it was used for hundreds of years in ritual in UK before being wiped out in the 19th c. Use of Friction fire was then mainly absent (in uk) for over a hundred years until bushcraft/survival movement.
I am trying to address the absence of Neid fire and welcoming of fire in a sacred way in the UK to pass on to others.
I share what is important for me and pass on the knowledge I have gained so people can dream into and weave in what is important to them.
Ritual can be influenced by time of year / beliefs / spiritual path / the land/ nature/ local customs/folklore / a theme / a crisis etc etc that can all be weaved in . Traditionally Neid Fire was for use in time of need and auspicious events.
I can work with people to make the Neid Fire apparatus and use it in communal ritual so they can perform thier own rituals and pass on the tradition themselves.
Thankfully I know this practice is still alive within Eastern Europe/Slavs /Baltics/Russia - it is Western Europe where it seems to have been buried in the ashes (mostly - I know I am not the only one out there and know of a few times it’s been used in last 10 years just not widely known )
“Apprentice of fire”.
I recently saw someone use that phrase and it really struck a chord with me.
As well as a welcomer of fire or is that a fire welcomer
I will always be an apprentice of fire
Or one could say a disciple of fire.
I shall never be a master of fire.
It’s like “fire keeper” - are we the keeper of fire or is fire the keeper of us 🙏
I welcome and tend the ancestral fire
I love exploring the language of fire - language is important to me and my use of it evolves as I continuously explore my connection with fire. No doubt I shall dream into more phrases for welcoming and tending the sacred flame 😀🙏
I coax the embryonic ancestral fire out of hiding from the wood
I welcome the ancestral fire through breath
I’m always learning
Connecting and honouring
And passing on to others
Without fire we wouldn’t be here.
We are forged from fire.
Wood choices for sacred fire… I don’t mandate any particular wood - what is important for me personally is:
1-it’s native to where I am
2- preferably it’s sourced local to where I am welcoming fire (if at all possible)
3-it’s been collected from fallen/dead standing wood or it’s overly abundant and has been harvested sustainably
My preferred wood for bow drill in ritual is English Oak which has been collected from wind fallen branches. Hazel is my favourite tree and loves having fire coaxed from her and commonly sheds branches. For sacred/ritual practice I collect my wood in advance and season
There are lots of combinations for bow drill and it can be a personal choice.I also make my own cordage usually from nettles
With Neid Fire I am working on a larger scale and so I am reliant on what I can find which has naturally fallen - I have Hazel and Ash spindles and Hazel and Poplar hearth logs and Holly for the bearing log. I kept/keep scouring the woods to find suitable fallen branches/trees.And for Neid Fire you need to collect in advance and season
Traditionally Oak was used for Neid fire but it is very difficult to find suitable fallen oak and I would NEVER cut a live Oak for my own purposes and I DO NOT advocate cutting live Oak.
For the fire wood - for me it is importent that it is native, local (if poss) and collected from fallen wood and is a good burning wood and is dry - I commonly use hazel and/or birch first (fast burning) then ash or seasoned oak. Again I collect in advance and
season. (These woods are all native and local to me)
The sourcing, collecting and preparing the wood is a huge part of my friction fire practice which I endeavour to do with awareness and respect and gratitude -for neid fire it can take several months
I’m blessed in that I live next to woods with Hazel, Oak, Elder, Ash, Hawthorn, Elm, Poplar, Willow, Tilia, Ivy, Clematis
Sacred Fire has been central to many cultures
A commonality is that fire deities were often female (Hestia, Vesta, Brigit etc) and the sacred fires tended by women and they would rekindle the fire using friction fire on a cyclic pattern.
Within the community it would be women who tended the hearth fires.
(note-the pic is only pic I could find of women doing a fire ritual – lighting Olympic torch via solar)
The emergence of Christianity saw the end of these traditions and as we know many many women (and yes men too – but mostly women) were brutally persecuted and the old ways mostly eradicated.
Largely unknown is the Neid Fire friction fire ritual that was once widespread throughout Europe –The Church saw it as heathen and so was abolished.
The last records of Neid Fire in Scotland was 1840s. There is a lack of info in Eire.
Wiped from the ancestral memory.
Friction fire in a sacred way was a part of our cultural heritage and is very different to bushcraft/survival friction fire.
The modern bushcraft/survival movement started in the 60s/70s has become a huge global industry.
Largely it has been male dominated but that is now fortunately changing.
Friction fire has become popular through bushcraft/survival movements and it is a very good thing otherwise we would have lost the skills (tho fortunately indigenous peoples continue to use friction fire)
In recent times - fire starting (inc friction fire) has been seen to be more male dominated and at times macho
There has been a mis-conception that it is more suited to “men”🤬
Let’s remember who tended our sacred hearths
I have taught many women and it’s fantastic to see more women using and teaching friction fire.
Traditionally fire by friction has been a communal practice and not about proving how fast/quick you can coax an ember on your own.
We’ve lost our heritage of ritual fire.
What is missing is teaching friction fire in sacred/holistic way - I am trying to address that and encourage people to learn and use and pass on the knowledge and skills to others
I feel we need to throw off the burdens of the past; reclaim our cultural heritage and reconnect to nature, the land, ourselves, each other and be kind 🙏