Tsa
member
Location: Bowdon, GA, USA
Member Since: 21st Nov 2001
Total posts: 7
Posted:Hello everyone, I would like to officially stop lurking and ask a question based on an experience I had a couple of weekends ago. I was attending a pagan gathering and there were several people spinning fire at the edge of the drum circle. I had a great time, gave myself multiple blisters and sore muscles! However, after the event someone approached me and said they found the fire spinning seperated the energy and had no spiritual focus. My response...Bullshit! This is a large part of my spirituality, but now i'm wondering....has anyone else dealt with something like this? Do other people incorporate the fire and the movement and the energy raised into their spiritual life? Do we disturb others by doing so? Just interested in feedback from the spinning community.ThanksPeaceT'sa

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Peregrine
member
Location: Mystic, Ct. USA
Member Since: 12th Jan 2001
Total posts: 428
Posted:well, 2 solutions to this problem...1. if you were spinning outside of the circle it probably took the attention away from the inside of the circle where things are supposed to be happening. so maybe its better to try to spin in the center (if its big enough)2. offer to teach them how to do it. after a certain amount of fire (over)exposure by spectators, the appeal is more in doing it than watching, IMHO. Pere

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melissa
member
Location: madagascar
Member Since: 1st Jun 2001
Total posts: 156
Posted:i have found that fire at pagan/wiccan/ecclectic spirituality gatherings can heavily increase the energy depending on how it is incorporated into the festivities. for many of the events wicker effigies are created and then burned, ususally to represent the shifting seasons/ sunlight (sun), the reliese of something (fire as a catalystic destroyer/creator,) or as a tool for healing. i'm not sure quite why the person that you spoke of found no spiritual connection with the fire. maybe the person was very fixed on what the ritual "should be" rather than being open to the various expressions of spiritual celebration that other people may have. the only time that i can think that fire would be a no no is during the opening and closing rites (unless fire is part of the ritual.) or when a specific ritual activity is occuring. maybe the person had an issue with you doing fire outside the circle. i guess that in the future (you may have already done this) i would recommend purhaps lighting your torches off of a candle in the center of the circle (or off of the fire elemental point or somewhere else that is a part of the sacred space) and then simply walking (no super swinging yet) around the circumference of the space and expand the inner circle to a larger outer circle space that meets the area that you need to spin. once this larger circle of fire is drawn (symbolically/ritual form) i'd say feel free to spin away and dance (maybe keep moving around the larger circle) and express your fire spirituality in a way that suits you and if you have another person telling you that there's no spirituality in what you're doing well then i'd have to say they're full of shit. maybe use it as an opportunity to ask them why and open up a discussion on why fire may or may not be appropriate for the occation.

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Ade
Are we there yet?
Location: australia
Member Since: 14th Mar 2001
Total posts: 1897
Posted:Tsa,I'd have to agree - it's bulldust. I've spun in many rituals, and I have been used to spin to raise energy, to release energy and to maintain it's cycling. There's many a use for firedancing and unlit twirling in rituals. Aussie Pagans love the use of fire in ritual in a number of forms. best of luck,ade

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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:Hmmmmm....reading through, this is what I am seeing, "I spin all the time in my ceremonies" "The fire is good for my energy raising". However Tsa you said you were at a gathering. At such a gathering there is no place for the personal "I" when trying to do work as a community. The fire is an amazing energy raiser, for one person. For it to work for the entire group then everyone would have to somehow be completely involved, and spectatorship rarely builds energy. We create these bubbles of fire andaround ourseves, which is amazing to watch but it does not extend outward normally. I understand this person's point completely. When it's drums or music or some such thing in circle, everyone can participate by tapping a foot, clapping, singing, dancing. However, fire is too specialized for anything more than a closed circle or an accessory to the ritual. I am not going to get up and just free flow dance when others are doing fire or putting on an inadvertant show, and I am a wretched drummer so who do I blend my energies with? Do I dance and throw off others energy instead of melding it, since I have to be very aware of nt getting too close to the fire. Am I limited to attempting to drum and feeling miserable about it because I can not? What if I want to be part of the fire circle but have not the skill nor the means? Therefore this does completely seperate the energy, especially because you mention the twirling was on the edge of the circle, creting your own circle as if the main one didn't exsist or was not important.In private rituals, circles and ceremonies fire can be phenominal and incredibly spiritual.In large groups and at large gatherings it serves as little more than a distraction and pretty event for others who can not participate. It is not jealousy. It is not a lack of interest. It is that the energy you are creating is for you and while the spectacle is shared, and sometimes the enthusiasm, the energy that effects us so deeply rarely effects onlookers the same way.Remember to us it is a bubble of fire that reaches in and surges through our veins, to those not in the know it is only fire in circles. Not to mention the tonnes of people who are not moved by fire but some other element and you are there overpowering them.For general information, I was born into alternative spirituality. This is what my life has been surrounded with. And up until a year ago when I let my licensure slip I was able to legally marry and bury people in the pagan faith in New York State.BB and MM Tsa------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...http://www.pyromorph.com

Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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SteelWngs
SteelWngs

member
Location: Malden, Massachusetts United S...
Member Since: 8th Aug 2001
Total posts: 169
Posted:*bowing To Pele*All Hail great goddess of fire!Tsa, My only question would be what was the focus of the ritual? I could see both positive and negative of fire spinning at ritual. I have been to many a "fire dance" and I can tell first hand that it can be a bit distracting to try to dance around a fire spinner. Let all face facts we have seen people do dumb stuff to a non moving fire pit forget about colliding into a dancer with fire. I have lost myself on many an occasion dancing around the fire (heat and exhaustion being a factor in both).When it comes to ritual think of it like this, What is the objective and what is the focus.------------------Blessings to all, Peter "In motion, move like a thundering wave. When still, be like a mountain.Rising up, be like a monkey. Land swiftly and lightly like a bird. Be steadylike a rooster on one leg. One's stance is as firm as a pine tree, yetexpresses motion. Spin swiftly and circularly like a wheel. Bend and flexlike a bow. Waft gracefully like a leaf in the wind. Sink like a heavy pieceof metal. Prey like a watchful, gliding eagle. Accelerate like a gusty wind." Wushu Proverb

Blessings to all,
Peter
When you find yourself in the company of a halfling and an ill-tempered Dragon, remember, you do not have to outrun the Dragon ...you just have to outrun the halfling.

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Tsa
member
Location: Bowdon, GA, USA
Member Since: 21st Nov 2001
Total posts: 7
Posted:Thank you!!!!!!The drum circle in question was not specifically a ritual although it was/is sacred space. Pele, I agree completely with everything you said....but is there some way for us fire folks to have our cake and eat it too? The last thing I want to do is create a problem for the drummers or dancers but does that leave me and my kind out in the cold as it seems? I see how we are indeed separate by need for safety if nothing else. We were talking about "opening" our next drum circle with fire spinning as an initial energy raiser and then giving way to the dancers. Maybe that would be more community minded? I am one of the owners of Dragon Hills in West Georgia and since we hold 12 events a year here community is very near and dear to my heart. I am after the impossible task of trying to make everyone happy.....oh well!PeaceT'sa

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Posted:well - I have no idea about the religious aspects of fire twirling, I come from a more meditational perspective...however I must add that connections can be made between twirlers and other fire artists (fingers, staff, bowls etcetc) and between twirlers and drummers...If I'm drumming I try to become attuned to the person twirling, and if possible take turns with them - let them lead the rythm, then lead myself...I'm not a great drummer, but I can tell that if I was better the connection could be stronger...Josh

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Ade
Are we there yet?
Location: australia
Member Since: 14th Mar 2001
Total posts: 1897
Posted:Tsa,Great idea to open your drumming circle with the fire dancing, then giving way to dancing without fire. I've also danced around the edges of a circle, to keep the energy circling, and spiralling, allowing for other activities to be done in the middle of the circle. It keeps the energies together very well.Perhaps also think about the issues to do with the macrocosm/microcosm and your bubble of fire, and the link that you make with the larger circle..... and why you are using fire in the space, what is it contributing, what is it's intent?Fire dancing in ritual/sacred space is very different to 'normal' fire dancing IMHO, and should be approached the same way as one would prepare for ritual and communing with the Gods, if it's being done in sacred space.(BTW - this is written from a Wiccan perspective, there may be other things to consider if you approach it from another tradition's point of view....)

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Meenik
Meenik

enthusiast
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Member Since: 7th Nov 2001
Total posts: 272
Posted:Tsa,I've certainly been annoyed a few times by over-zealous fire spinners, although more dance-floor related than ritual related. I think it's asking a lot when spinners light up in the middle of a dance floor. They're asking everybody else to put aside their own personal experiences to watch... a fire spinner. If the spinner isn't prepared, and doesn't have much to offer, and just wants to be the centre of attention, then they're just being a dance floor bully. So I guess it's all about etiquette. Lots of things can be spiritual in one situation and inappropriate in another. I'm sure Tantric sex can be very spiritual, but that doesn't mean it's OK to do it in the middle of a spiritual ceremony. ;-)And thanks for the post, Tsa. I think it's an important subject. -Nick

"They're interdimensional fractal intelligences. That's why they wear funny shoes."

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Tsa
member
Location: Bowdon, GA, USA
Member Since: 21st Nov 2001
Total posts: 7
Posted:Ok,heres a thought.....Would people come to a "Fire Gathering"? Same basic concept as a pagan gathering but centered on fire spinning in all its many forms. Has this been done? How did it go if anyone has been to something like this? I have been running pagan gatherings for many years and have been spinning for about 2 years so i'm curious....could we get fire people from all over together to just share, hang out and use up lots of fuel! PeaceT'sa

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Cassandra
Cassandra

Froggie ... Ribbit !!!
Location: Back in Paris... for now !
Member Since: 8th Jun 2001
Total posts: 4224
Posted:
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Three words for you : february 2003 Aucklandbig firedancing convention to be organized in NZ... check the "events and gathering" section for more happy information on that.As for local event, I think it is really a wonderful thing. I'd say having the emails of those willing to join you will facilitate the opssible last minute change of plan. Not a very spiritual infomation, but could be usefull, no ? good luck on that one !
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And thanks for the thread, it was quite interesting to read what everyone thinks of that subject.
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shine onCassandra[This message has been edited by cassandra (edited 22 November 2001).]


"I want brown bread... no, that is diesel oil..."
"So I was raised in Europe, where History comes from ..."
"NON !!! La Plume de mon oncle n est pas Bingibangibungi !!!"

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Bendy
member
Location: Adelaide, SA, Australia
Member Since: 29th Aug 2001
Total posts: 750
Posted:ooh oooh *grunts*fyyyy-afyyyyyyy-ah*grunt* fi..afi-refire!!oooooI'm not religious. Meditation is something I rarely do, and when I do it is just to unwind and it is very non-active.To explain the start of this post - I feel fire is animalistic, raw and primitive.That is what I get out of it anyways - love fire.------------------Take thy beak from out my heart,and take thy form from off my door!

Courage is the man who can stop after only one peanut

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Jangla
member
Location: Oxford, UK
Member Since: 28th Aug 2001
Total posts: 155
Posted:Well, while everyone is giving their two cents, I would like to throw mine in too.Haven't been doing fire long (about a month) but reading through the thread made me realise things only my subconcious knew before.I, presonally find something very spiritual about fire; whenever there is too much negative energy and stress in and around me, my subconcious craves fire. I think it's something to do with taking a chaotic (yet beautiful) thing and channeling it into a type of uniformity...hmmm...that didn't sound right. I guess it's more like a need to realise that both the chaotic and scerene can (and indeed do) exist in the one entity at the same time; without one there cannot be the other.Maybe some people just don't realise that and see the fire twirler as a distraction from their own focus (something that Pele covered eloquently - there should be no "I").Well, I think that's all I can put into words at the moment. Maybe I'll expand on this post a little more once I get home and get "herbal".------------------"The tincture of night began to suffuse the soup of the afternoon. He considered the sentence, and found it good. He liked 'tincture' particularly. Tincture. Tincture. It was a distinguished word, and pleasantly countered by the flatness of 'soup'. The soup of the afternoon. Yes. In which may be found the croutons of teatime."

---------------------With a bit of luck, his life was ruined; always thinking that just behind some narrow door, in his favourite bars, men in red woolen suits are getting incredible kicks from things he'll never know.

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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:Tsa, I think creating a circle with fire dancing is a wonderful idea, just make sure the other elements are well represented as well. You don't want to tick the wind off while you are playing with fire!!!!!What about as a creative way to call fire quarter? Go for drastic and creative for all quarters (I am all for creativity and fun in circle...after all we are celebrating!).Yes, fire gatherings do work and are much fun. What you could do to appease everyone is have the fire Sabbats with fire spinning, and encourage and help everyone to think of a creative use of fire in ceremony..not just spinners. Try fire sculptures in sacred shapes. Have everyone make a torch and carry that in circle instead of candles, light your poi or staves off of these so everyone is involved somehow. For the Water Sabbats do the same type of stuff, have pool parties or circle with the sprinkler showering upon you. We have had our ceremony in a river and we spent the day splashing and river hiking and swimming, collecting shells and watching the water wildlife. Try to play water glasses, water balloon fights, we have played many water games at Lughnasa that were sooo much fun.Wind Sabbats are harder because of being intangible, still you can do much with fans (including fan dancing or the fans you plug in that go around), feathers, kites, bubbles, fog machines, wind socks and comet poi.Earth Sabbats, have a planting day, a play in the dirt, dig and see what you find, squish mud between your toes celebration.All of these can be soooooo magical and spiritual and overwhelming. It is all about incorporation, creativity, fun and passion.I think that there is a time for rituals to be serious but not the Sabbats. I think these are a time for reconnecting, for celebrating and appreciating, however I am of the Akashic faith which is strong in balance...so I fully believe rather than celebrating one element, we have to give each their turn, and therefore those people who feel more connected to the other elements instead of fire (I know, hard to believe they exsist
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) will also feel included.I applaud your efforts Tsa to bring light and love to the community.Hope this helps.BB------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...http://www.pyromorph.com


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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poiwonder
member
Location: Washington District of Columbi...
Member Since: 5th Nov 2001
Total posts: 21
Posted:pele,I totally agree with you. I observe on a daily basis people who are connected with thier respective elements. I beleive that all share an equal importance spiritually, but that each person is influenced by his or her preferred element more than the others. I believe that for me, fire symbolizes my whole person. My attitude with life, the way I gather information, make desisions, present myself to others etc. chaotic and powerfull, bright flashy and at the same time beautiful controlled and dependent on fuel (metaphorically speaking). Not to say that i only like fire, all four elements are incredibly powerful and beautiful at the same time. I am drawn to fire like kayakers are drawn to water, like hangliders are to air and like rock climbers are to earth. We all need all elements to live. I suppose you could also ask the question, are our spirits in fact connected to these preferred elements more than others, or is it something that is nurtured in us? Anyway, my two cents.

Hey chicky chick, check slick Nik flick sick tricks with glow sticks and lit wicks real quick!...;) (IM:cmsnr grdn)

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Charly
member
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Member Since: 25th Jan 2001
Total posts: 68
Posted:well, everyone who has responded to this topic has said pretty much what's on my mind about fire dancing and ritual.here in Seattle, the local Reclaiming group of pagans frequently invite me to invoke Fire in their rituals... I usually choose to use a more focused tool like fire fingers for this, rather than something sort of wild and chaotic like chains. for one ritual with this group, I lit my fire fingers two at a time, with spoken invocations to accompany it... something along the lines of:With one... the rising SunWith two... passion of love that is newWith three...crossroads illuminate meWith four... opens a mystical doorWith five... flames come aliveIt was a very effective way to raise energy as the element was invoked... But I also agree that fire spinning is somewhat isolating for the rest of the group, they can't really join in. And, depending upon which portion of the ritual it takes place, it can either add to the energy or detract from it. Like any ritual activity, being conscious and respectful of the flow and focus of each section is a good idea in order to avoid offending anyone or distracting from the central purpose of the rite.MM, MP, and BB...!~*Charly*~www.cabiri.orgwww.anunnaki.orgwww.maenads.org[This message has been edited by Charly (edited 24 November 2001).]

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