Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pagan Blog Project-B is for Balefire

A bale fire is simply a fire (small or large) that is lit for a magical purpose. The word “bale” is said to mean boon or extra.

Bale fires have been used over the centuries as part of celebrations or r
Beltane Fire 2010
ites. Some examples of how these fires were used are:

*Driving Cattle or other animals through two bale fires for purification and fertility rites. This ensured that the animals would remain healthy and be able to reproduce.

*Dancing around the fire for fertility rites such as can be found at Beltane celebrations. Even today, many people still dance around the bale fire. Not only is it fun, but it is a way to add magical energies to your personal rites.

*Jumping smaller fires, as in a cauldron, for purification and fertility rites. As seen in the movie, The Wicker Man, young woman jump the fire to ensure they will be fertile.

*Burning of fire wheels (Ostara) and rolling them down a
Inside the Samhain balefire.
hill into a lake or pond. This represented the energy of the sun into the land and the idea of creation.

*Burning of effigies (in ritual). For example a wicker man. Again for fertility of the land and a plentiful harvest.

*Burning of the Catherine Wheel, which was a large wagon wheel, covered in tar, lit and rolled downhill. My research showed this was done during the season of Lammas/Lughnasadh to represent the god in decline. It was done as a way to add strength or power to the waning sun. Once it burned down, the ashes were taken into the home as a protection amulet.

In my own Cajun culture, the bale fire is an important symbol. On Christmas Eve, bale fires/bonfires are lit for
Samhain fire 2011
miles and miles along the levees of Louisiana. These fires light the way for Santa.

Bale fires have become an important magical tool for my local coven. If it is at all possible, we always have some sort of fire as part of our celebrations. I have to admit that I am a fire junkie, I just love fire or flame photos. Attached to this blog are pictures taken from various celebrations with my coven. There is one that shows the “spirit of the god” as we like to call it. I promise this picture has not been altered in any way. Can you see the “spirit of the god”?

May your fires always be magical.

Annette aka Autumn
Beltane 2010, Spirit of the God

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