Imagine the time before the discovery of fire. Then imagine one day witnessing a strange phenomenon of a bolt of light flashing through the sky, and a tree exploding into bright dancing colours. Scared and curious at the same time our ancestors may over time have approached that tree, and discovered this strange new sensation of extreme heat. Watching the fire engulf the tree, sparks darting off into the sky, flames dancing. Maybe they were mesmerised, what is this strange being. It made them warm, maybe they took a burning branch back to their shelter.
Those events and our ancestors learning to control and use fire changed the course of human evolution.
You could say we are born from fire.
It is thought that it took a very very long time, for our ancestors to learn to make fire, they would have kept the fires burning.. Imagine the fire going out, with no means to light it – what would you do? Go looking for other peoples and beg\borrow\steal their fire. There are many old stories from indigenous cultures of how people\animals would steal fires from others, usually through trickery!
Over time, our ancestors eventually learnt how to coax and welcome fire, maybe through accidentally dropping rocks and seeing sparks, maybe through witnessing natural phenomenon such as trees being violently and vigorously rubbed against each other in high winds and smoke emitting from the friction.
Old stories tell of how fire was taken in by the trees and the only way to coax the fire out was through friction.
Over a long long time, they learnt how to coax the fire out. Can you imagine how that must have felt, and those who could make fire must have been revered, maybe viewed with some suspicion and superstition.
That also then shaped the ongoing evolution of humankind.
You can understand why fire was worshipped.
Today, humankind takes fire for granted, along with everything else! Without fire we would not be where we are today (whether that is a good or bad thing!) I do think humankind as a whole thinks it’s above nature, rather than being a part of nature (anyway that's a whole different subject!)
The main reason I started teaching myself friction fire, wasn’t for bushcraft or survival but to be able to light fires in a sacred and honouring way. To honour the fire, which you could say humankind has stolen for it’s own selfish needs. And you could say that each time I coax the ember, I’m stealing it for my own needs too!
My focus has been quite practical to date (including my videos\posts), but over the last year I’ve become more absorbed in the old stories and sacredness of fire. The welcoming of fire through friction has now become more of a practice for me (like yoga or meditation.) And that is where I wish to try and re-focus myself, rather than just focussing on the skills in a practical way, teaching in a more holistic way drawing on the old stories and indigenous cultures, respecting and honouring fire and the natural environment, and with awareness, and if I do eventually decide to run my own workshop it would be more of a ritual as the welcoming of fire through friction can be seen as a ritual in itself, without even trying or being aware of it!