What better way to celebrate #BonfireNight than taking a look at #traditional #fire making. I am delighted to introduce you to Ancient and Sacred Trees member, Sacred Hearth Friction Fire - Ian Walton Larner. He champions fire making as our #ancestors used to do it, using sustainably sourced wood and handmade cordage using traditional materials.
Sacred Hearth Friction Fire is exploring the folk lore, stories, mysticism and sacredness of fire and fire by friction. Sacred Hearth aims to teach #frictionfire techniques with awareness, drawing on #ritual and #story and exploring our connection with fire.
His web site is packed full of information and includes practical techniques of learning the ancient practice of friction fire as well as methods generally associated with ritual welcoming of fire. Over time, the website content will continue to grow to encompass more stories, traditions and folklore associated with the friction fire including ritual & ceremony. He wants to try and move away from the "modern bushcraft" way of teaching and using friction fire and for people to work together (as is common within indigenous cultures.)
During the summer I was privileged to take part in fire workshops run by Ian at the Erti Suli festival. The most amazing thing we did was take part in a big village ceremony with the Fire Churn at its' heart. I don't have any actual images of it in use. We were all (the entire camp) involved in making the fire! There was one long rope wrapped around the central pole and the ends left free. In two teams we each took an end of rope and pulling it between us enabled the pillar to turn and create the burning embers needed for the fire. This is an ancient way of creating fire. (You can find out more about this and a huge amount more from the link at the end.)
Here is a video of a smaller fire churn by Ian that demonstrates how it creates fire.
Ian says "This is my favourite way of welcoming the ancestral fire, especially as part of a communal gathering. It involves the whole community, you can’t do it on your own, you have to work together in harmony. It is glorious. It is based on written records and folklore of the neid fires used in Celtic Europe until mid 19th century as part of fire rituals. With everyone working in harmony, it is a magnificent and playful way to welcome the ancestral fire, to honour grandfather fire."
Finally I leave you with a bonfire image by AST member J Phillip Panton.
It used to be that burning "leaf fall" was once done in orchards, as the smoke caused any insects over wintering in the trees to leave. Any bugs that would potentially do damage to the Spring buds and fruit would fall off as a result of the smoke leaving the trees to fruit and flower in peace.
Next time you look at a fire, think of the wood provided by the trees that keeps you warm and providing light in the dark of the year.
Ian from Sacred Hearth Friction Fire is available for talks and workshops. You can find him in our DirecTree. If you would like to be included (no matter where in the world you are) and write a blog article get in touch.
Happy Bonfire Night everyone! May the light shine on for you all.
PS Jack In the Green ethical gift shop is offering a generous 30% off to all AST members until January. Look out for the code in our newsletters. It is FREE to join us, simply subscribe to the blog! When you purchase from Jack In The Green money goes to Treespect, a charity organisation that campaigns to educate communities, promote and protect trees.