It’s summertime, which means plenty of us are celebrating ritual outdoors. Inevitably, each year a few cautionary tales trickle out about people who had a gigantic OOPSIE involving a ritual fire, so I wanted to take a few moments to talk about something that should be basic common sense.
Ritual fire safety is super important, because few things can bring a ceremony screeching to a halt faster than someone sustaining a burn injury. In no particular order, here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re cavorting around the ritual fire.
If you’re doing some sort of fire indoors, such as a candle or a tabletop brazier:
- Make sure candles are sitting on a sturdy and fireproof surface. A plate or bowl of sand or soilis good for this. A sturdy altar reduces the chance of knocking your candle over and setting your whole living room on fire.
- Be sure to tuck your sleeves up – if you have long flowy sleeves on your ritual robe, it’s easy to catch them in an open flame. Roll or pin them so they’re out of the way. If you have long hair, tie it up or pull it back so it’s not at risk.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
- Make sure robes are made of natural material – if you do end up on fire, it’s less likely to fuse to your skin when it burns.
If you have a big bonfire or even a small outdoor fire pit for ritual:
- Make sure your fire is built in a location that is away from anything that might be a hazard, and a safe distance from houses or trees.
- Appoint a Fire Keeper to be the only person who adds wood or anything else to the ritual fire.
- Keep buckets of sand nearby so you can extinguish the blaze effectively. Shovels and water come in handy too.
- Don’t allow anyone to throw anything into the fire that might explode, spark, or cause toxic fumes. Make sure you only burn dry, seasoned wood – no treated lumber, garbage, plastic, or furniture!
- Establish a perimeter so that no one accidentally stumbles into the fire. Be sure that kids are properly supervised around a fire.