No, I’m not suggesting anyone embarks on a bout of fire-starting. Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night as it is often called, is traditionally a celebration of preventing acts of arson, not encouraging them.
Pyromancy is the ancient magical art of divination by fire. It is one of the earliest forms of divination, probably practised soon after fire was first discovered by man. One can imagine ancient shamans staring into the burning embers of the fires that warmed our Neolithic ancestors, foretelling a good hunt or how well the tribe would fare through the winter to come.
In Classical Greece, virgins at the Temple of Athena in Athens used pyromancy and it is likely that followers of Hephaestus, the Greek god of fire, or Vulcan, his Roman equivalent, did too. In Renaissance times pyromancy was a “forbidden art” along with necromancy, geomancy, aeromancy, hydromancy, chiromancy and spatulamancy.
The most basic form of pyromancy involves staring into a fire or flame to watch for patterns and shapes that form. The magical art is in interpreting what these mean. In modern homes without real fireplaces it is usually easier and safer to scry into a candle flame, but Bonfire Night provides a great opportunity to have a go at pyromancy with a proper fire outdoors under the stars.
There are several variations on pyromancy, including:
Here are some things to look for:
If you do try a little pyromancy on Bonfire Night or at any other time, obviously pay attention to safety. Do not start fires too close to anything flammable that you don’t want to burn down, and do not leave naked flames unattended.
Links and previous related posts
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/11/bonfire-night-and-black-magic.html http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2012/09/pagan-eye-fire-breather.html http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/02/fire-walking-facing-ones-fears.html http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/08/god-of-week-vulcan.html
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