This evening, I continued with my hand drill practice and for the life of me I couldn't get an ember. I tried everything, and I haven't been able to get an ember for over a week. The result was a blister and my drill being thrown across the garden.
It made me think and made me remember. Creating fire isn't easy. We have made it easy over thousands of years, and now generating heat is too easy! We take it for granted. We push a button or flick a switch and we have instant heat (central heating, cooker etc.)
Lets remember that it took our ancestors thousands of years to develop techniques to create a fire, and the knowledge was passed on from generation to generation. There was a time when creating fire was seen to be magical. Those who could start fires were revered. And also remember fire was here long before human kind....
Fire was worshipped. Most cultures worshipped fire gods and goddesses, and gave offerings. For example: The Navajo fire god is Black God. He is the inventor of the fire drill and was the first being to discover the means by which to generate fire. Brigit is the Celtic goddess of fire (and water.) Fire was also a key part of ceremony and ritual. During Beltaine (the May Celtic festival), all fires and candles are extinguished and a bonfire is lit, using friction fire as it is deemed a more sacred way, and all other fires are then lit from this sacred fire.
There are also many old folk tales, myths and legends about how people discovered fire.
In the early days, people carried the embers with them, as they did not know how to create fire. And when they did learn how to create fire, it was only done when necessary and offerings would be made. Fires were kept lit whenever possible.
So learning to create fire should not necessarily be easy. It should be challenging. It should not be taken for granted. The majority of us do not possess the skills or knowledge, it has to be re-learnt.
So the next time, I attempt to create an ember I shall try to remember this. It has become a task. 6 weeks even months of learning the hand drill is not long in the scheme of things. It is a mere blink of the eye!
Awareness is needed, and even praise. For it is a magical moment. Creating an ember from rubbing two pieces of wood together is alchemy!
So the next time, I attempt to create fire whichever way I do it, I shall attempt to do it with more awareness. In today's world we want everything now, this minute! It wasn't always like that!
For those chasing the next ember, take a moment, take a pause, have a thought for our ancestors. And maybe, give thanks to the sun, for that tiny spark of possibility!