Monday, October 18, 2010

10 Dragon-fire, Earth Spirit, Somerset

Thursday August 19, 2010:

I walk through the herb garden, brushing aromatic leaves with my legs as I pass. The air is filled with their gentle aromatic softness. I climb up to the ritual ground on top of a hill overlooking the rest of the land. On either side of the path, hawthorn bushes, their haws bright, gleam under the cloudy evening sky. The fire circle, ashen flaked is at my feet.

I’m here to light the community fire for our first ritual of this Feri retreat. I crouch down and place screwed up paper in the centre of the fire circle. I balance twigs, teepee like above them; gradually building up the structure till it is strong enough to take small branches, and then bigger ones.

I roll up a fat spill of paper and light it in one strike of a match and push it in amongst the little structure of twigs and branches. It emits a small satisfying hiss as it licks at the screwed up paper and small kindling laid at the base of the fire. For a moment, I hear nothing else until the first little crackle, jumps into the quiet evening air. Soon the fire is spitting vigorously. It is lit! My first proper camp fire!

The fire begins to whisper and sigh, growling and growing slowly louder as it begins to whoosh and snap.

Gout of smoke hits me squarely in the face. I cough and wipe my eyes, then bend towards the fire, inviting its smoky kiss.

I dredge up all my fire songs. And as I sing to the fire, it grows stronger and stronger. Soon it is ready for our working.

We gather around the fire, holding hands, connecting, as we cast the circle and invoke the gods. Our working this night is about beginnings and, whilst the rain begins gently at first and then more determinedly to fall, we dance a spiral, winding our community love into a cohesive connection with the land, each other and our work during this retreat.

Like a dragon, it snaps and crackles, puffing out its smoky breath. I lean to the flames, feasting with my body upon its warmth, breathing gratefully its Smokey perfume, turning in the smoke to cleanse and purify myself so that all parts of me are reached by the heat and smoke.

I sing

“And we can rise with the fire of freedom,
Truth is the fire that burns our chains
And we can stop the fire of destruction
Healing is the fire running through our veins.”
The rain falls steadily. The fire spits back defiantly. I sit by it; our working finished and waits as it begins to die down. I don’t want to leave it until it slumbers, but I am hungry and the rain is now soaking me to the skin.


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