Bonfire for Beltane!

Although bonfires tend to be popular in all ancient pagan practices, Beltane is the time of year when it seems the most fitting!  There are many ways to incorporate a Bonfire into your ritual – and it doesn’t even have to be large.  Sure, if you have the space and a nice fire pit, a big Beltane fire is idea – but if not, there are other ways to still bring the feel of a Bonfire into your celebration!

Portable Bonfires

These can be great if you have no permanent fire pit in your backyard or if you want to be able to travel with your fire pit.  They can range in price from under $20 all the way up to over $300 – so there is an option to fit any budget.  You can purchase these at any home improvement store or even make your own! This blog tells you step by step how to make one out of a flower pot!: Create a Fire pit out of Flower Pot!

Please remember that no matter what you decide to do, be safe! Here are some fire tips from a former firefighter to help you have a fun and safe experience: Fire pit safety tips

Indoor Cauldron Fire

If your only option is to be indoors, you can still have the fire experience with an indoor cauldron fire!  You will need the following items

  • Cast-Iron Cauldron – mine is quite small, about 4″ in diameter
  • Epsom Salts – easy to find at the supermarket or pharmacy
  • Rubbing Alcohol – 70% isopropyl (safer) or 90% isopropyl (hotter)
  • Fire-Proof surface, preferably not heat conductive
  • Long Wooden Matches

It is best to use a cast-iron cauldron, since one won’t be too hard to get and it can withstand the heat. Don’t use aluminum, since it sometimes melts or can even catch on fire. Never make an indoor fire in a cauldron that is painted, since burning or even very hot paint will produce dangerous fumes.

Use half (by volume, not weight) alcohol and epsom salts.  Always put the cauldron on a fireproof surface (such as a hearth, other tile surface, metal, etc.) and make sure that the only nearby objects are reasonably heat-resistant. Taper candles, if placed too close, will bend or even melt. Votives in glass holders work better.

Always keep a bucket of water nearby in case things somehow get out of hand. A big box of baking soda also works well. Let the cauldron burn out by itself (how long this takes depends on the size of the cauldron and how much fuel you have put into it), wait till it is cool, and then soak the inside in water to loosen the grayish mass of salts that’s been fused together by the fire. After letting it soak overnight it’s not too hard to clean.

If it’s necessary to put the cauldron out suddenly, covering it with a fireproof lid is the easiest and least-messy method, but be careful not to burn yourself while putting the lid on. One of those big leather work gloves might be good to keep around.

Now that you have a fire, what can you do?

Once you have your fire pit – there are many different ways to incorporate this into your ritual!

  • – Use herbs – you can burn any herbs in your fire pit.  If you are using an indoor fire pit be sure to only burn a very small amount at a time so that you don’t have an out of control fire.
  • – Burn small pieces of Parchment: You can write messages or spells on parchment and burn those as part of your ritual.
  • – Fires can symbolize messages moving up to the universe to to deity – they can also symbolize the cleansing or banishing of bad things and bad energies.
  • – Fires can make the start a new phase in life – can be used at the start of a project, symbolizing burning down the old to pave the way for the new.

 

What are the Nine Sacred Woods?

The nine sacred woods – or nine sacred woods of the bonfire are part of a traditional Celtic ceremony.  They represented the first nine tress in the Celtic calendar and are generally listed in the long version of the Wiccan Rede by Doreen Valiente.  Over the years, this has been changed to a Nine Sacred Herbs incense, which you can make yourself or purchase from us here: Nine Sacred Woods Incense.  This blend is a nice way to add a Celtic touch to any bonfire celebration!

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