The Magick of Large Fire Circles

This is something I wrote up back in 2001, during some intense on-line discussion of the nature of the fire circle at FSG. An edited version appeared in the program guide for several years. If you'd like to borrow it for your event, please feel free so long as attribution is maintained.

The Magick of Large Fire Circles
by Tom Swiss

Fire. Drumming. Dancing. All are older than history, older than modern Homo sapiens. Putting them together is probably one of our oldest magickal activities.

You may have held fire circles in your own coven, circle, or grove. However, the large circles held at gatherings -- bringing together scores, even hundreds, of people of many different paths and traditions -- require a bit of extra thought and consideration for everything to go smoothly. Please consider the following guidelines for participating in large fire
circles.

The Fire Circle Triangle: Physically, fire requires a triangle of elements -- oxygen, fuel, and heat -- to burn. Fire circles also rely on three elements: fire tenders, drummers, and dancers.

Fire tenders start the fire and keep it fed, and are responsible for fire safety. They often have to maneuver through the circle carrying heavy bits of wood. Give them the right of way and much love, for without them the circle is cold.

Drummers (and chanters, and other makers of joyful noise) take the heat and light of the fire and turn it into sound that reaches our hearts. Do not block them from the fire's warmth, and give them space and much love, for without them the circle is silent.

Dancers take the energy of the fire and the drums and transmute it into motion that moves our spirits. Do not crowd them into the fire, or block their path around it. Give them space in which to move and much love, for without them the circle is still.

Fire and flesh don't mix: You may have done rituals that involved leaping over fire. THIS FIRE IS NOT SIZED FOR SUCH LEAPING. Don't do it. Leave a safe distance around the fire at all times. Keep your spirit in the fire, but your flesh out of it.

Respect the space, and those people in it: Please do not throw trash in the fire. (Small offerings to the fire, however - a sprinkle of herbs, a small paper with a prayer written on it, and so on - are generally ok.)

It shouldn't have to be said, but it does: don't leave your trash around the fire. If you carry it down to the fire, either carry it back with you or put it in a trash can. Your Mother thanks you.

Respect other people's way of respecting the space. Gatherings are a time of diversity; you might do thing differently in fire circles held by your group, but festival circles belongs to no one tradition.

You may dance. You may drum. You may chant. You may do whatever magick you are moved to do. You may watch. You may socialize. You may party.

For all acts of love and pleasure are Her rituals; and Gatherings are a time of unity and sharing. Therefore let us come together around the fire in love and trust and celebration. Blessed Be!

(May be reproduced free forever.)

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