• The Fire Charmer

The Phoenix Rises

I've always loved fire. Bonfires, lighters, matches and more. I love the smell of a good bbq and midnight bonfires. Watching the coals smolder and turn to ash is healing for me. 

Currently, our state is under "Shelter in Place" and most citizens are at home. This also means events have been cancelled and groups of no more than 10 are not allowed. The venues that I perform at are closed and me, my friends and colleagues are going through a transformation. I'm finally getting a chance to create a resource for people that love fire just as much as I do and start a new fire journey.

How did I start performing with fire? Is the question I get asked most, especially from family - and I have a big family. Well, I was looking through Craigslist and saw a post looking for people who either spin fire or want to learn. Me being me wanted to learn. I answered the ad and we agreed to meet up at her house half way across town. At the time I was a belly dancer, so I brought my candles and my swords. I knew nothing past shamadan and candle dancing. Was I in for a surprise:-)

It was about 30 degrees outside and I did not think about how cold it was. I met Sara, the author of the Ad and her two friends Jason and Noelle that came up from Cincinnati for the gathering. *Names have been changed to protect the innocent. Sara said that a few more people should be coming but we can go ahead and start spinning. I had no clue what we were about to do, but hey I had a sword. 

We went outside and Jason put some liquid into a paint can and put two (poi) rope balls on chains into it, to soak up fuel. Noelle did the same. Sara went a got some music. I got my sword and unsnapped it from the sheath. We were all ready. 

Jason lit his poi on fire and touched Noelle's and her's caught on fire. They began spinning in a circular pattern, synching with the music and then started crossing their arms, twirling and dancing. I was amazed by their grace and fearless movements among the fire. Sara kept checking her email and phone to see if people got lost or couldn't find her place. Eventually, I began dancing with my sword and somehow the three of us synched up. We managed to "spin" for about 30 minutes then it started to snow. Once we stopped moving we realized that it got colder - very cold as a matter of fact. We were all shivering and went inside. 

We started talking and Sara told us about her adventure to Burning Man and how magical it was. She mentioned that she wanted to start a Regional, which is a smaller version of Burning Man outside Black Rock City. We all agreed it was a good idea. As it started to get late and Jason and Noelle had to drive back to Cincinnati we agreed to meet up again to spin. I went home thinking, wow -I have to learn everything about "spinning" fire. I found a little and lot of information. There were articles on poi but not a place to buy them. I kept practicing with my candles but at that point, I didn't have any fire spinning tools.  

A few months later Sara eventually got together the Regional Burn for Ohio. She asked me if I would teach belly dance at the event. I jumped at the chance. I taught Friday and Saturday and danced with a friend's band. 

Saturday night at Regional Burns is centered around burning an effigy. The effigy is usually chosen in advance and teams of people construct and build the structure and a fire team is put together for that night including local Fire Department Personnel. The effigy usually relates to the theme of the event. 

The night had come. I had taught two classes so I was still in belly dance gear. There was a barrier separating the crowd from the effigy. There was a radius for fire performers to circle the effigy. The intro started and the drum core that had 10 drummers, started beating out a primal beat. Jason went out first, then another performer, a few feet back was Noelle. One by one, fire performers came out with poi, stafs and hula hoops. It was beautiful and the dancers were moving as one.

Sara was tracking all the fire safety people and watching with a stern burner momma eye. I was standing at the side watching and Sara hands me two lit torches and says "go". I said "what" she said "Go and do what you do". So, I went. Making my way around the circle, belly dancing and waiving these fire things in my hand, not sure of what I'm doing and then a piece of wood from the arm of the effigy fell! 

What seemed like total chaos started happening, people came from everywhere circling the effigy - yelling, screaming, laughing, chanting and the drums got faster and faster. Noelle tugged at my skirt and laughed and skipped away and disappeared into the circle. Falling pieces of the effigy were pushed to the center by fire tenders and safeties into a big bonfire and the drummers continued to drum. I danced as long as the drummers drummed. It seemed like forever and I danced until I finally couldn't and was literally on my knees falling to the ground. Drummer by drummer came to a stop. I noticed one of my friends drumming and asked why didn't they stop sooner. He said we were waiting for you to stop dancing:-)             

Such a magical night that I will not forget. I want everyone that picks up a fire tool to feel this fire magic. With this blog, I hope the information that you find here will help you on your fire journey. 

Burn Brightly

#firecharmer #firehealing #bonfire