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Forums > Social Chat > Personal Superstitions Regarding Fire Performing

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:I was asked by a lovely member of this community asked me if there are any known superstitions regarding the fire community. My thoughts on this are that the art is so young relatively that there hasn't been enough time to develop superstitions. However....

Do you all have any superstitions regarding your spinning or learning or firing up?


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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Puk
SILVER Member since Aug 2002

Puk

Sweet talented nutter
Location: Brisbane Oz

Total posts: 2615
Posted:No i've never heard of superstitions in fire spinning .

But i do have routine's before we light up .

Be it from how we pyhsic up to stretching or just takeing the mood in .


that shrewd and knavish sprite

Called Robin Good Fellow ; are you not he that is frighten of the maidens of the villagery - fairy

I am the merry wander of the night -puk

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Taniwha


member
Location: Aotearoa

Total posts: 138
Posted:Neva let napalm drip into your fuel, its real bad luck. (serious iv seen peeps do it)

Its all just smoke and mirrors

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Mtn. Girl


member
Location: Santa Cruz, California

Total posts: 65
Posted:Yes, I do!

This is something that I've been wanting to ask other spinners as well: Do you care if other people use your poi?

I am *not* a selfish person at all, but I consider my fire to be sacred and my poi blessed. By letting another person use them, it is taking away energy and power. I hope this makes sense. If anyone reads Tarot cards, then it is kinda like the same thing to me... I guess I'm just superstitious in a supernatural sort of way - so I won't get burned and I'll perform really well. It is really hard to have to say NO, but......


The experience of learning is living.

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flid
BRONZE Member since Aug 2002

flid

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Warwickshire

Total posts: 3136
Posted:lol, i get like that with my bowling ball, but thats more because i don't want people putting their sticky fingers in it

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Cyber Sprite, I completely understand. LOL It is an odd thing truly. I will hand over any of my practice tools, but not my show ones, except to someone I really like and trust. I hadn't even thought of it until you mentioned it to tell you the truth.

Having been in theater arts for so long there are a list of superstitions regarding them, and a few that carry over for me no matter what type of show I am doing...
For example:

Never say "MacBeth" when in a show.
Never turn out the ghost light on the stage

Many superstitions have a basis in practical reality that are then exaggerated by something unpractical.
So for fire I find I have mine as well, and with them are a "somewhat" practical justification of them!

I always burn in a new wick 3 times. I know it is safer to burn a new wick in before taking it on stage. New wicks tend to burn differently than those that have been conditioned. Why 3 times? I have no frelling clue.

I put my costume on in a certain oder. Everytime, without fail.
The way I do it keeps me covered but allows for "just-in-cases" with my make-up and hair...except that I always leave my earrings as the last thing I put on (other than shoes). No idea why.

I like to flip a tarot card the day of the show.
If you believe in tarot then it can give some kind of guideline to how the night is going to go so that I can be prepared, but I have never kept track of whether or not they have been correct so I don't know.

I check everything 3 times on my checklist.
Obviously this is to battle the paranoia of leaving something behind. BUT you would think twice is enough right? There is that impractical 3 again.

(I have this theory about the numbers 3 and 4 though so...)
So those are the other ones I could think of. I bet there are more but they are so habitual that I don't know. I just know that I have this sense of "uh-oh" wash over me if I don't do these particular things, or if my show tools are not near me when I am out. We all have them though, I am sure, even if we don't realize it.


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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Spanner
BRONZE Member since Feb 2003

Spanner

remembers when it was all fields round here
Location: in the works... somewhere...

Total posts: 2790
Posted:Some order whoever has said Macbeth out of the room to knock and enter it again without repeating it.

"I thought you are man, but
you are nice woman.

yay,

:R"

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Mtn. Girl


member
Location: Santa Cruz, California

Total posts: 65
Posted:Pele, thanks for the reply 'cause now I don't feel so alone! Glad you can relate in more ways that one!

Pulling a tarot card before a performance! Hum...that can be pretty dangerous...would psych me out if I pulled a crappy card...although, I must admit that they've helped me on many occasions to figure out relationships - usually warns me...but of course, I never listen when it comes to a cute boy


The experience of learning is living.

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arashi


arashi

Pooh-Bah
Location: austin,tx

Total posts: 2363
Posted:i don't let people use my show gear either. mine is more than just tarot superstition, this annoying tripping pesky girl _demanded_ them from me once, and proceeded to _ruin_ my custom made handles, and then ran around for a long time with them on her hands while i walked around looking for her, she barely even spun them! good thing i wasn't doing a show at the time! now, i try to carry a spare pair for those people who walk up to me...

personal superstition... i always meditate for a few right before a show. disaster otherwise.

pop that zit BEFORE you get on the stage. DOH!


-Such a price the gods exact for song: to become what we sing
-Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.
-When the center of the storm does not move, you are in its path.

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Raphael96
SILVER Member since Sep 2002

old hand
Location: New York City

Total posts: 899
Posted:I once played poker with tarot cards...I got a full house and 2 people died!

Raph


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Puk
SILVER Member since Aug 2002

Puk

Sweet talented nutter
Location: Brisbane Oz

Total posts: 2615
Posted:Okay this my secondpost here so i'll have one more after this Lol. I can totally understand about other people twirling your gear . Cause it's personal you know the groves and everything about them . Im the same with my tools don't like leading them out . At all.

[ 04. May 2003, 09:10: Message edited by: Puk . ]


that shrewd and knavish sprite

Called Robin Good Fellow ; are you not he that is frighten of the maidens of the villagery - fairy

I am the merry wander of the night -puk

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:arashi, I have never had someone ruin my gear, but the I appreciate the fear, and that is enough for me. I like to keep my stuff in good working order, and the handles are handmade from deerhide, broken in so they fit my hands just right. I am really emotionally attached to my stuff actually. It is weird. If that gets messed up then I would be royally...ummm...flushed!

Oh, here is another one I have (and I heard Julia Roberts and a few other BIG actors say this as well, after I felt it was true)...that there are only so many good performances of one piece in a person before s/he gets tired of it and the magic is gone. Since you never know when that moment will be, you should never give your all in a full practice lest it be the last good one you have. It is for that reason that I NEVER do a dress rehearsal in full dress, I always leave something off, like a bracelet or something. The one time the director made me put it on, the bracelet I was going to leave off flung across the stage and clocked a cast mate in the head. And the show opening night was BAD! I was never asked to put everything on again after that. The other dancers in the troupe I am do not apprecaite this superstition at all! lol

And the MacBeth thing...in American theaters it is taught that you are supposed to spit and turn around three times. A cast mate on a production I did yelled the name at the top of his lungs. The director made him run around the entire building while the rest of us fell over laughing at him.


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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Arcane


member
Location: Texas

Total posts: 28
Posted:Pele wrote:

quote:superstitions regarding the fire community. My thoughts on this are that the art is so young relatively that there hasn't been enough time to develop superstitions. I'll get to my own 'superstitions' in a moment, but for now:

While the conventional spinning of poi may be young, the act of performing with fire dates back to almost the time when fire was first discovered.
Ancient man thought of fire as a God or mystical being...The act of 'eating' fire was a way for ancient man to claim some type of 'power' over the god that helped them to sustain life....

The eating of fire, fire-walking, and manipulation of fire *usually on sticks* is very, VERY old...That's what first drew me to performing with it....

Sure, conventional fuels, fire-breathing, and spinning poi is relatively 'new', but the elemental act of attempting to control what was at first thought of as a diety, namely Fire, is ancient.

As for my own superstitions, I have a few...I am a convert to Buddhism, so I always chant a mantra (Nom Meyho Range Quo) for a few minutes before a performance...I don't like for anyone to spin my gear (unless I KNOW they know what they are doing), and I have a 'thing' about performing with new wicks *(I don't know why, but I LIKE using old crusty wicks for shows...I'm an idiot, but it works for me)....

As far as any other superstitions I have one that is inviolate...

NO ONE has EVER animated my oldest puppet (a 44 year old Jim Henson original muppet) in the 12 years that I've had him other than me...No one has even had their hand in him...Nada, no one...that's a rule that I will NOT break, bend, or otherwise dawdle with....

Yet another great topic Pele...you're a gem!

Peace

Arcane


...you're going to blow WHAT out of your mouth???????

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PK_
BRONZE Member since Dec 2001

PK_

Lambretta Fanatic


Total posts: 4993
Posted:i dont exist or an i thinking myth?

PK.

"To be an angel, one need not have wings.
In giving love there is an equal grace.
Nor need one seek the aura in the face,
As love unveils the beauty of all things."

*Francois Couperin.

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Psyri
SILVER Member since Apr 2003

Psyri

artisan
Location: Berkshire, UK

Total posts: 1576
Posted:I only have a set of comets... there we gpo... I'm cursed now. lol


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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:quote:Originally posted by Arcane:

While the conventional spinning of poi may be young, the act of performing with fire dates back to almost the time when fire was first discovered.
Ancient man thought of fire as a God or mystical being...The act of 'eating' fire was a way for ancient man to claim some type of 'power' over the god that helped them to sustain life....

The eating of fire, fire-walking, and manipulation of fire *usually on sticks* is very, VERY old...That's what first drew me to performing with it....

Actually Arcane, it wasn't a way for people to have power over it. They ate fire as a way to pay homage and respect to the gods. To be face to face with something so wild was thought to bring you closer to god. It was meant as a display of devotion, especially to gods such as Pele, Hephaestus and those believed to have dominion over fire. The Greek play Antigone actually depicts fire rituals in it.
In Syria, circa 150 bc a man named Eunus claimed that he communicated with the gods by expelling fire from his mouth (whether eating or breathing was never made clear). Chinese Meteors (bowls of fire) were very much in use for a millenia long before performers got to them, as were many tools from many cultures (staves, torches, arrows, etc) and in fact, the concept of performing with fire did not come around until the implementation of the Chinese Circus in the end of the Middle Ages. These performers took the ancient cermonies, and developed new arts to entertain those members high in the Imperial Court. This is the reason why the Chinese Circus has some of the most refined acts to this day (that do not involve animals), and this is also where the concept of familial circus trade came from.
For Western usage Fire did not come into performance play until the very late 1700's as a large form of entertainment, which is when it accompanied the Western Circus created by Astley. This was primarily eating, juggling and torch "dancing" (jumping around with sticks like a wild monkey).
When the circus wave seemed to ebb in the 1800's and give way to the Carnival and Side Show phenomenon then the arts accompanied these touring companies, and were put on stages outside the Human Oddity tents to attract people in to see the "grotesque beasts", but were never actually a main stage act, this is when breathing was more commonly introduced, though it did exsist prior to this.
In the late Victorian Era the thrill of the side shows died away, and eventually the Human Oddity shows became outlawed under the laws protecting people from cruel and unusual punishment and care, giving the whole fire performance culture a break...over which time it has slowly developed into what it is now.

It is from here that alot of superstitions actually do come from..don't leave shoes on make-up desk or top of costume trunk, elephant hair is good luck, etc.... But still there are none specifically regarding fire. Which for such a rich history, I would've thought there would be.
(Sorry for the history lesson, I know it was a bit of a tangent, but once I get going..... )

I love the puppet thing. However, in it's basic theme it comes down again to a "No one but me uses it" thing. Hmmmmm.....

Perhaps this is the first Superstition to develop from this enticing subculture, and I would venture to guess about many performance arts, then?

Thank you all...this is really quite interesting!


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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Psyri
SILVER Member since Apr 2003

Psyri

artisan
Location: Berkshire, UK

Total posts: 1576
Posted:Suppose I'll only let certain people have a go of my comets n not aresholes... lol

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Arcane


member
Location: Texas

Total posts: 28
Posted:Pele wrote:

quote:(Sorry for the history lesson, I know it was a bit of a tangent, but once I get going..... )Pele, please never, EVER, apologize for passing on insightful information....

Gems like you are few and far between, and should shine on!

The only point I would argue would be over the difference between gaining power over fire versus devotion to fire...In ancient Poly Diety (sorry, can't recall the proper term at the moment) cultures, invoking the name of one's God was to gain power over it...The same could be deduced from the taking of fire into one's body (i.e. eating it) as a way of gaining some type of control over what was viewed as a diety....

Minor point, but one worth mentioning.

Touche!

Peace

Arcane

P.S....The superstition about not allowing anyone else to animate the puppet is actually a common thing in the Vent. community...most especially with characters that have been a staple in one's act for as long as Max's has been in mine.


...you're going to blow WHAT out of your mouth???????

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Polytheistic Umm...I didn't mean that they said the name of the god, they ate the fire to pay homage, to s/he who shall remain un-named type thing. I agree that in some cultures they did eat symbols of the divine, to conquer and/or be part of it. Some still do (Communion?).

I know very little about Vent sub-culture so here is a question for you....is it concidered a subdivision of object manipulation? I mean, it takes alot of skill and dexterity to work a puppet I assume, and I could see it being concidered just as alive to a Ventriloquist as fire is to me. Or am I mistaken?

And thank you for the compliments. I am undeserving but let me tell you...flattery will get you everywhere!


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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Arcane


member
Location: Texas

Total posts: 28
Posted:Pele asked:

quote:I know very little about Vent sub-culture so here is a question for you....is it concidered a subdivision of object manipulation? I mean, it takes alot of skill and dexterity to work a puppet I assume, and I could see it being concidered just as alive to a Ventriloquist as fire is to me. Or am I mistaken?You are not mistaken at all...It is considered, in part, as object manipulation...The sync'ing of mouth movement to speach is difficult at best...Then when you throw in the type of puppets that have moving eyes, eyebrows, eyelids, ears, etc, into lifelike motion, all while delivering jokes is at it's heart a feat of manipulation....The best vent's (Ron Lucas, Dan Horn, Buddy Big Mountain, Jeff Dunham, Me (a joke)) make their puppets look so lifelike that it is hard to tell for some...

I've had some pretty amazing moments in the 25 odd years I've been doing it (since age 7)...The most amazing was when Max (the puppet) held a 20 minute conversation with a very nice elderly lady while I held a conversation with a friend...She truly believed that Max was indeed alive.

As far as how Vent's feel about their puppets being alive themselves, I'll answer with one of my opening lines in my act, just before I bring Max out:

"Ladies and Gentleman I'm about to bring out a long time friend of mine, but I must warn you, I am in NO way responsible for ANYTHING he might say...(Pause for laughs)...No, seriously, he is just as alive as you or I and has had to testify in court (produce a subpeona) in a case of mistaken identity..."

Max is his own unique person....Just as the fire that we eat, breath, and spin is alive itself.

And it's a good thing flattery will get me places Pele, cause the jokes haven't lately!

Peace

Arcane


...you're going to blow WHAT out of your mouth???????

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Flynt
SILVER Member since May 2002

Flynt

Intrepid Penguin


Total posts: 5635
Posted:back on topic (not that i would ever accuse Pele of hijacking her own thread )

Theres a group of youngins that wont light both poi from the same flame. It has to be different ends of a staff, if lighting off another person, or different candles...

I honestly wouldnt have a clue why they do this tho! And i have a friend who always names his toys after the first spin, for luck....

Theres a lot of little rituals in ordinary spinning for me. Check my arm protectors, remember to put the lid on the fuel before spinning off... but these are more a safety thing than superstition.


Currently on the right side up of the world.

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Puk
SILVER Member since Aug 2002

Puk

Sweet talented nutter
Location: Brisbane Oz

Total posts: 2615
Posted:Third time mistevious puk smile . Any so we have showed that we all do have little superstitions. About our twirling gear

A. Don't play with our fire gear ( could have your energy instead of ours ).
B. Alway's check your gear three time's !.
C. Alway's twirl full with a full heart! .(that's not hard for me).
D. a Big one with me NEVERSTOP TWIRLING UNTIL THE FLAME HAS GONE OUT |(naturally ) !
E: We pay homeage to the spirt's/ god's if we eat or breath fire . ( sounds like a funky church or something )
F: ALway's have a pet nickname for your fire gear !!!!!

I think i've basicailly covered all base's here ?


that shrewd and knavish sprite

Called Robin Good Fellow ; are you not he that is frighten of the maidens of the villagery - fairy

I am the merry wander of the night -puk

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