“Fire and Flame” for the Fire Ritual
Whenever I experience Sri Kumar doing a fire ritual, I feel a fascinating magnetism spreading throughout the space and uplifting all who participate. I once heard Sri Kumar explain that invoking the presence of the Devas creates this magic appeal which does not manifest otherwise. Yes, that’s the energy of Agni, the foremost of the Devas, the Lord of Fire on the various planes of creation. (Last year I did a blogpost on a case study of the environmental impact of the fire ritual.)
I love the fire ritual but what Sri Kumar does is a complex thing. However, today 14 years ago, at Taurus Full Moon 2000, he gave a short version of the fire ritual, saying “You can do it once a week, once a fortnight, or once a month.” He further explained that it is thought for all and does not take more than seven minutes. He explained some more details and taught us the easy version with a step-by-step introduction of the intonation (MP3).
Sri Kumar and his wife doing the fire ritual in Kandersteg, May 2003
I was “fire and flame” and said to myself, this I will do! The next days I started learning the details. I bought a small vessel and camphor, cut pieces of pine-wood, prepared ghee, and, on 28 May there was the first test run – it worked. So on May Call, 29 May 2000, I did the first “real” fire ritual. And continue to do it regularly till today.
However, there were some difficulties: The burning pine wood made noises and sometimes pieces of the little wooden sticks jumped out of the pot so that we had to be very alert. Later we did it with birch wood which burns quietly. During a later visit to India I also bought a little larger copper vessel, and to avoid a cumbersome cleaning of the vessel I used covering it with aluminium foil.
Our family was living in a 4 room apartment without a chimney or anything like a fire place. Doing fire rituals is not just what an ordinary Swiss family would do, to say the least (on many terraces and balconies you see barbecue devices for that kind of fire rituals), and what about the house administration?
So I decided to do it in my office room with the roller blinds closed. I constructed a canopy with curtain fabrics and an insulation film to catch the soot. This only worked to a certain degree – slowly the soot settled all over the room. I tried to keep it clean but… all 2 years we secretly painted the room.
One day in the last year at that place I got an e-mail from the neighbours living the floor above telling that there were strange clouds of smoke coming up and we should please stop it! Oh, we gave them a big excuse – and aired the room now from the other side of the apartment… When in 2011 we finally moved to another apartment , I had done 4 painting sessions with the office walls – and we got a painter doing it again before handing over the apartment…
Luckily the new apartment had a chimney, and I enjoyed it very much. When we knew we had to leave this place the first months of 2014, a chimney was at the top of my wish-list but we couldn’t find such an apartment – they were too expensive.
When we found the one we are now living in, I saw that it has big flower boxes in front of the balcony and that it was possible to remove the barriers. I did some web search and finally found a potter not far away doing nice earthenware terrace ovens. I gave her a ring and she said that 10 days later she and her friend would be on a craft fair at the Berne cathedral. The oven she brought there was too small but they had a used one, just the right size. They told me that in the morning the police had stopped them doing fire on the market but I could get the oven for half the price of a new one – and in the evening, after the market had closed, they brought it to our home…
Now I enjoy doing the open-air fire ritual early Sunday morning – with sometimes a curious eye from a balcony of a neighbour house. The fire in the little oven is burning well, even when there is wind and rain. Also this morning.