A Good Bonfire

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Day Of The Dead

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Samhain History

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Memories of Bonfire Night

A Good Bonfire


Samhain –the original Halloween, is a fire festival. Feasts were held and bonfires lit across the country to warm friendly spirits and ward off evil ones. The word 'bonfire' was originally 'bone fire' from the custom of burning the bones of slaughtered cattle at this time. For the Celts, cattle were the primary currency. At Samhain it was traditional to take stock and decide which animals would be used for meat. With the fire ablaze, all other fires were extinguished and each family lit its hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the village together. These fires were believed to keep the homes free from evil spirits. Often two fires were lit side by side. People walked (and livestock was driven) between them for purification. Stones, marked with names were thrown into the fire, to be retrieved in the morning. Their condition foretold the person's fortune in the coming year. Folks ran around the hedges of house and farm with burning brands while village leaders marked parish boundaries with a circle of light. The ashes were scattered on the fields to protect them and improve the soil. Today, bonfires are lit in the UK at this time for Guy Fawkes Day, (Nov. 5th which marks a 17th century attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament).

I don’t know about you, but I find elemental things. earth air, fire and water absolutely fascinating! Take fire for instance – it’s warm and wonderful, beautiful and purifying, but dangerous and potentially deadly. Still, I can’t resist the temptation to watch a good old fashioned, primitive outdoor bonfire. There’s something very cleansing about it – you can symbolically cast all your old negative outdated ideas onto the fire and watch them go up in smoke as you are freed forever from their grasp. Yes, I love a bonfire. . .

There’s an art to making a bonfire. Sometimes it will burn and sometimes it will not. We must try to pick the right weather whenever possible – of course this isn’t easy for set dates such as Sanhain. A day with light wind is best so that the flames go straight up through the middle and are not swept to one side, leaving unburned material on the other. Spend some time on preparation, cutting large materials into shorter lengths, so that it doesn’t become entangled in a burning mass.

At the heart of the fire place a good starter-straw, oily paper or the like - things that will burn well. As for Old baled straw slightly loosened flares at first and then, glows red for a long time. Any flammable material that burns for a while will do, but preferably not petrol. Top with half-dried weeds and bits of turf, and around that, stack pieces of dry wood placed upright and leaning like a tepee. Then put on hedge trimmings and thorn branches. The lightest and driest material is placed on this as it begins to flame and the greener stuff banked around it as it gets hotter. When it really gets going and there is no danger of it hoing out, it can be gradually banked up with turf and soil-laden weeds that will probably smoulder for days.

At the risk of sounding obvious, unless you no longer need your eye- brows and hair, go NOT stand near a smouldering fire and pour petrol upon it. Make sure your fire is in an open space not to be within 30yds of the windward side of thatch,

© Copyright 2009 Sylvia Richards www.yourspiritualhaven.comAll rights reserved.

About the Author: Sylvia Richards is a well known natural psychic who can provide you with a psychic reading using Tarot cards by email. To know more about Sylvia and how to book an email reading, please visit www.yourspiritualhaven.com/fortuneteller

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