The first campfire I remember was as a kid going camping with the local youth group. One day out of the ten day camping trip, all the parents came to visit, and we prepared a little show for them. And in the evening a huge bonfire was lit. Everyone sat around and enjoyed. When all the parents had gone, it was decided it was warm enough around the fire for us all to sleep out there, under the starry sky. The fire was the centre of our circle of beds and kept us warm. I couldn't sleep and watched shooting stars corss the sky.
The central fires at the Druid camps I go to are smaller but technically much better cared for. They cut the turf and filled the area back in with grass the when camp closes. We really need that fire for heat on cool spring evenings. It draws us together as a community and is respected as sacred space. It also heats the water for our tea. Civilisation started when people learned to control and use fire for just that reason. It provides warmth and light and draws people together, while protecting them from outside threats.
In most Western homes these days, real open fires are a luxury. We no longer need them to keep us warm. But the fire in the grate still has the power to draw everyone together. Young and old like staring into the flames while indulging in conversation. When a fire is lit, it still has the potential to become the focal point of the home, its living centre.
Fire and its heat are often used as metaphors for the passion of life. The fire in the belly gives you power to meet the most difficult challenges. Burning desire propels you towards your goal, or into the arms of the one you love. Passion can smoulder quietly for a long time, and then suddenly flare up. Everyone has a certain something that lights their fire. It is one of our life's tasks to find out what that one thing is and to follow it, wherever it may lead.
The fire of inspiriation can be the first spark that lights our passion. Our minds sometimes come across images that carry a lot of energy and seem to want expression. They fill us with enthusiasm and allow us to make a new beginning. If we feed that fire and keep it burning, it will see us through to the end of the project.
The fire of creativity is transformative. It takes pre-existing materials and turns them into something new and fresh. It is the fire of Brighid's forge, were we can become transformed into our true selves. If we follow the light of our creativity, we will become the person we were meant to be.
Your inner fire is your personal power. It is the force that gives you the confidence to go outside your comfort zone. It is the courage to `feel the fear and do it anyway', to use a cliché. Your inner fire is your life spark, the glint in your eye that is unique and yours only.
Elemental fire warms, enthuses and protects, but it can also be destructive. Every summer, forest fires destroy swathes of ancient woodland, and the homes of many animals. Passion that is allowed to rage out of control can be just as destructive. In order for it to be useful in the construction of your life, it must be controlled.
Yet burned plant material makes for very fertile soil, and soon lush vegetation will grow on the scorched spot. Fire can clear space for new growth, but only in a rather traumatic way. The steady fire of the Sun is a more reliable source of fertility on the Earth. The Sun is the camp fire of our solar system, and envelops our planet with warmth and light that help things grow. It is the ultimate creative fire.
The Fire Element is associated with the Southern Quarter of the Wheel, the quarter of midday, Summer and adulthood. In this quarter of the sky, the Sun reaches her highest point. It is the place of activity and production. Every day we get a chance to take our light out into the world and share it with others. We put the best of our energy into our projects and help them mature.
Similarly, Summer is a time of passion and activity. The things we started in Spring are now in full flower and have gained their own mature momentum. In the middle of this season, at Midsummer, Nature celebrates the peak of its power. And we do the same, enjoying the Sun and celebrating Summer with holidays, barbecues, and by just plain having fun.
As adults, we have gainded a better sense of who we are. We can explore the world and contribute to it with much more confidence. Most of us have found the work of our lifetime by now, and accumulate power and responsibility in our chosen field. Yet even adults should never forget to take time for fun and celebration. Otherwise the fire of activity will burn us out.
Fire is associated with intuition and creativity. We receive from it the spark of life. In return, we can offer it the products of our creative fire. Each of us must find our own passion and follow it. Fire is honoured by art and craft. Anything you make to express your own inner light and thereby show your soul honours Fire.
The colours of Fire are the colours of Summer: the Sun's golden rays and the reds and yellows of sunset over the ocean. But also all the colours of lush vegetation and the flowers that clothe Brigantia, Goddess of this Quarter.
On my altar, a tall, thin candle represents Fire. For my magical work I use a beautiful rawhide rattle. It wakes up my slumbering inner fire and directs and focuses its power. It helps me in transformative soul healing work. It is also used in meditation when I need to get in touch with my inner power.
Nuts, seeds, grains, pulses, eggs and meat contain protein, the appropriate food for this quarter. Seeds and eggs are concentrated kernels of life, and represent the very purpose of Nature's cycle. Seeds are where plants store the energy of the Summer sun.
Rattle made by Jane Dagger