Fire 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.
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.
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