Kenny Klein: Tales Of The Rambling Wren.
Follow Kenny from the levees of New Orleans to the whirling chaos that is the Pagan festival circuit and beyond. Musings, rants, and just plain Pagan talk.
Ever see a bonfire rise a hundred feet into the night? Lit by the full moon, a thousand people dancing around it? It is, I assure you, a spectacular sight.
As I do each year, I performed and presented workshops at the two festivals held at the Brushwood Folklore Center in Sherman, New York; Sirius Rising, and Summerfest (whose name will be changed next year).
One of the features of each festival that draws people back each year is the fire dancing, fire spinning and drumming. On the final evening of each festival, there is a huge bonfire, and a thousand or more people dance to drums and digeridoos as the flames light the field.
This year my band FishBird played the Saturday night concert of Sirius Rising (the first of the two festivals), which meant we led the audience down the paths to the bonfire. It was a great honor.
Leading the audience to the bonfire. The tall guy in black is my drummer, Alex. Photo by Lauren DeVoe.
The fire is lit in a well thought-out ritual, accompanied by fire spinning and dancing. Here the ritual leaders prepare to light the enormous wooden structure, the size of a two-story house:
Photos above and below by Lauren DeVoe. Hey, that rhymed!
Fire dancing. As the flames rise, the thousand or more attendees begin to circle the enormous fire. There is much hooplah. Below, my dear friend Phoenix Teagarden: people celebrate in many ways. Masking and costumes are common and in this case, adorable:
The experience of the bonfire is just a tiny taste of the festival experience: the sense of community and of belonging is something that has drawn me to Pagan festivals my whole life. The friends I make at Brushwood and other festivals, and the sense of family that I feel, is difficult to describe, but amazing to have. This is why I write so often about the festival experience, and why I encourage Pagans who have not attended Pagan festivals to do so.
I'll write more about the entire festival soon. For now, here's a video of my band FishBird playing our concert at the Sirius Rising festival:
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