Full Moon and (a different) Fire Ceremony

fire artistFire ceremony is powerful! As ancient as our human existence, it was a part of many ancient rituals and customs, such as rights of passage, and central to many celebrations bringing people together in a circle. Fire ceremony was, and still is today, an essential part of many shamanic traditions around the world.

Shamanic fire ceremony typically takes place around the full moon (and sometimes new moon) when  the veils between the worlds are the thinnest and lunar energy at its peak. Shamanic fire ceremonies are used for releasing what no longer serves us, for purifying the body, spirit, heart and mind, and for re-balancing and re-connecting . Fire allows for rapid transformation. Mastering fire is an important shamanic skill that takes much time and practice.

While beach vacationing in Thailand, I was astonished by how much the element of fire is present with the Thai island people, and tourists alike. From fire dancers to fire spinners, fire jugglers and fire eaters, young Thai men, and sometimes women, seem to master their art impeccably.

Fire lanterns and candle light are still very much used for celebration of some of Thai Buddhist holidays and festivals (such as Loi Krathong and the Yi Peng – view a beautiful picture here). And fire lanterns are readily made available to tourists for good wishes.

beach fire

There is something very magical about fire and sunsets in this part of the world.

While I was there, on February 14, the local people celebrated Magha Puja, an important Buddhist holy day held on the full moon day of the third lunar month, February. For Thai people this is a merit-making day, consisting of preparing and offering food to monks, and remembering Buddha’s basic principles to not do any bad deeds and to cleanse the mind of impurities. In the evening, there were candle light processions taking place around temples.

On the actual night of the full moon, February 15, another celebration took place. The (infamous) Full Moon party taking place on Koh Phangan. Now, for those of you who are not familiar, this is a full moon celebration of a totally another kind. It is held in Thailand but most of those who participate are visitors. From all over the world. And of all ages. But mostly in their early twenties. 10’000-15’000 of them at minimum 🙂 .  Making it one of the biggest parties in the world. Happening in the most stunning setting, the beautiful Haad Rin beach. But more than the stunning scenery, the party is notoriously known for heavy drinking, wild dancing and sex on the beach.

welcome to thailand

Curiously though, the wildest party on Earth takes place around the element of fire! The start of the party is announced by lighting the words ‘Welcome to Thailand’ on fire. More than the loud music from the beach bars, the party crowds actually center around Thai fire artists. Certainly some of the best (looking 🙂 )  in the world. Their fire art is soooo fascinating that one gets easily lost in space and time (without necessarily having consumed any drugs or alcohol…). Fire is captivating! But the biggest attraction by far is the fire rope. Skipping the fire rope seems to be some kind of unspoken right of passage. That mainly young (and often drunk) men dare to try. And a few young women. That sadly many fail at… Ending with fire marks and even fire burns. Such is the modern society that has no knowledge, understanding or relationship to fire. But only the ancestral fascination. And that’s something we have to change.

“When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.” – Shunryu Suzuki

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28 thoughts on “Full Moon and (a different) Fire Ceremony

  1. There is something mysterious and powerful about fire. I know as a kid, I was totally fascinated by the flame. One of my favorite chores of all time was building the fire and then lighting it when it came time…and then I would spend the next half hour just watching the flames.

    I love this post.

    • Building your own fire! That’s the essential experience to having a relationship with fire! This is why you understand it and many people don’t. They don’t have your experience… It’s sad… Fire is so essential to our existence. And utterly beautiful. xox

      • So true, fire is at the heart of what created the universe, and in our world allowed humans to explore the globe. It is beautiful and also demands our deepest respect, which is why we need to understand fire…

  2. As a fire sign, I am particularly drawn to fire ceremonies, fireworks, etc. Love the photo of the fire dancer who appears to be in the midst of a shower of fire! p.s. I am finally back online after my recent move!

    • Hi Bev, great to hear from you! Very often at the end of their fire show, Thai fire dancers spin fire balls that create ‘the shower of fire’ effect as you
      called it. It’s really beautiful and impressive to see.
      Hope your move went well and that you are happy in your new home! I’ve got some catchin up to do as well… xoxd.

  3. amazing post. fire keeps coming up in my life lately so loving the synchronicity here. you paint a beautiful picture of thailand, and the power/magic of fire. i am dreaming of these places, within and without. lots of love. aleya

  4. There is always something magical about Fire… Whether it be the flame of a candle or the burning embers from a wood fire.. How exciting it must be though to join with like minded souls in a fire ceremony.. Something I would love to attend but never have… Although there is nothing I love better than sitting out with my wood burner on a starry night listening to the night sounds as I watch the flames crackle..
    My daughter was lucky enough on her trip to Peru some years ago to walk the coals .. Something I know she is proud to have done along with some other amazing things upon your Spiritual journeys.. 🙂
    Loved your photos and so enjoyed reading your post 🙂 xx Hugs Sue xx

    • Thanks for sharing your and you daughter’s experiences with fire. One of my favorite memories from my shamanic training is my last ‘trainee’ fire ceremony in Joshua Tree, when I had to stomp the fire out with my feet, being cheered by loud drum beats and singing by fellow shamans. They say that when you are friends with fire you do not get fire burns. And when you master fire, you can feed on its light and power without any harm. 🙂 xox

  5. I’ve been to the full moon fire festival in the caribbean and this lead me to take a look at your post. It’s interesting that it is practiced in so many cultures. Just watching a fire in action can be so intoxicating and we love sharing a fire with friends at our cabin. It definitely is a gathering around the circle.

    • When researching about the fire art in Thailand, I discovered that the art of fire dancing and worship originally spread from India. But it is Maori and Hawaiians that are given the credit for the origins of the modern fire arts.
      I personally relate fire ceremonies and gathering around circle to many pagan religions, as well as Africa, and also Native Indians.
      Just like you said, it is practiced all over the world 🙂 As ancient as humans…
      Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment, much appreciated! xox

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