An article from the Shamanic Voice
My Path of Fire
Fire has manifested in my life in many beautiful ways. As an Artist I walk the fiery path of inspiration; the fire to create, the divine spark of the elusive muse, the passion of flow, the pride of a finished piece and the frustrated fire of a ‘block’. When these frustrations appear I chew ferociously on my long suffering HB pencil until I recognise what I already know to be true, all art is phoenix –like. Through the charcoal ashes I see that nothing is lost, something beautiful always remains, and so the creative spark ignites all over again.
On a slight side note, something I feel to be true about the creative muse is that She /He /It is a fire that flows through us, we are not it, nor do not own it, and this I find a relief! Perhaps the madness of some artists stems from the pressure of believing that they are the fire, not merely an awesome conduit for it. Anyway…
My second experience of fire is as a Witch and Priestess casting a circle. I honour and love all the elements, but I always end up in the south calling in the Salamanders and fire spirits. Maybe it’s my red hair, my natural connection to this element, or perhaps because the radiator in our temple room was in the south and I like to be warm! You can’t even fool me when drumming; I seem to gravitate to the East of the Medicine Wheel.
As a tarot reader, there is fire in connection to the tarot, the guides, or whatever you work with. This fire is alike to the Ace of Wands, a burning moment of knowing, the faith to open your mouth and speak the flash of insight you have been gifted with.
The third fiery initiation I recall came quite out of the blue at a Pagan Camp in Belgium a few years ago. I was taught fire breathing by a lovely, yet exceptionally health and safety unaware, or unbothered gentleman. We started learning the technique of expelling the lighter fluid with water first, and I was terrible at it. Everyone was spraying water from their mouths like true pros, while I was merely dribbling it. The teacher decided to send me off to the woods to practice without anyone watching. Cue my ‘spitting’ in the woods montage. I returned to try with the real stuff, and all my new and old friends were looking at me slightly pityingly. But my body was obviously just waiting for paraffin and flame, because as soon as I began working with fire everything changed. The flame shot out of my mouth like dragon fire, and just as I was gaping in amazement, the wind changed and blew it back into my face, singeing my eye brows; a blessing and a warning in one.
On the last day of the camp I took part in my first sacred fire ritual, using my new found skill of breathing fire, and my new found tongue in cheek nickname of Laura ‘the Dragon’ Daligan. It was a powerful focus to the ritual, a funneling of fire energy into the night sky; the fire of the earth reaching out to the distant star fire of the heavens.
I fell in love with rush of fire that week, the adrenaline of its proximity and the inspiration it enlivened, even the lingering scent of paraffin began to grow on me.
And from fire came dance, the flickering flame which inspires movement of the body to shake off the old and awaken the spirit within; the child’s spirit, the woman’s spirit and the warrior’s spirit. I always thought I was too clumsy to dance, and that my body just wouldn’t ‘get it’. So learning to dance and being patient with myself has been exactly what I needed. Belly dance called to me, as it has done to countless others; the water to my fire, the grace to my perceived clumsiness.
It wasn’t long before I started working with fire and dance combined, and this is where my passions fuse. The art of crafting choreography and costume, the deities and fire spirits invoked and also the relationship you build with an element so powerful, edgy and transformative.
Personally, fire makes me feel alive – über alive. It flows through my blood and fills me with energy; I am perhaps more at ease with myself when holding a flame, than I am at most other points in life. Limitations melt away, the roaring energy transfixes and by its very nature compels you to live completely in the moment.
Passionate warrior deities are called to the flame, ancestors draw near, answers are given (usually in a very direct and immediate way!). By vast night sky, deep earth and warm flame we feel a breath away from those who have gone before.
The first and last thing fire will teach us is respect. Through fire’s heat and intensity we face some primal fears, and the adrenalin will pump and flow. But as fire transforms it can facilitate our own personal transformation. As life changed so dramatically for our ancestors when they first discovered fire, living close to the flame can excite our own inner muse.
For me there is young fire, warm fire and wise fire. Wielding fire we feel brave, wild and beautiful. Resting under the hot summer sun we feel relaxed, sensual and joyful, and as we gather around a camp fire under the blanket sky we feel comforted, ancient and deeply connected.
My path of fire burns on, reminding me to feel, to love, to be brave and not to be contained by that which no longer serves me, however difficult that lesson may be. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with fire, and I hope that the next time you stare into a flame you will feel the warm spark of the divine awaken something beautiful within.
An article for the Shamanic Voice - Laura Daligan 2014