“past the wit of man to say what dream it was-” or LEAP through that fire for purity.
“In ancient times, the Summer Solstice was a fire-festival of great importance when the burning of balefires ritually strengthened the sun. It was often marked with torchlight processions, by flaming tar barrels or by wheels bound with straw, which were set alight and rolled down steep hillsides. The Norse especially loved lengthy processions and would gather together their animals, families and lighted torches and parade through the countryside to the celebration site.
The use of fires, as well as providing magical aid to the sun, were also used to drive out evil and to bring fertility and prosperity to men, crops and herds. Blazing gorse or furze was carried around cattle to prevent disease and misfortune; while people would dance around the balefires or leap through the flames as a purifying or strengthening rite. The Celts would light balefires all over their lands from sunset the night before Midsummer until sunset the next day. Around these flames the festivities would take place.
In Cornwall up to the mid 18th century the number and appearance of fires seen from any given point was used as a form of divination and used to read the future.”
The significance of fire:
devouring, the heating of what has chilled:
dissecting of what has frozen,
melting away of so many things, once solid, once hard,
the sterilization of what was dirty and impure,
and the birth of the wildest of ideas,
the most rampant, rambunctious, lascivious fertility rites.
On a Midsummer Night, once, there was a dream.
It houses lovers, royalty, fairies, and madmen
who fell fast, and into the night, reveling
chasing, crazed, the thigh, the calf, the mouth of another
heated by some flame inward,
fueled by the most ancient of magics
some lusty ritual, some donkey’s dream,
some truth inspired pageant, pregnant with desire.
We still seem to be here, lost in this sandman riddled land
chasing the summer away as the days shorten
leaping through fires for a quicker way to call our intentions pure
Finding each other in the night,
thick in the forest,
wanting the softer underside of skin,
needing to peel it off and see what lies beneath.
-Amorous rites, bounty in harvest, and a reason to sing,
seeing the Sun high, motionless.