Watchers of the Sacred Fire

The Watchers of the Sacred Fire are a new group.

We will tend the Bonfire with a slightly novel approach, so here’s a little about our fun and serene celebration at the Beltane Fire Festival this year, which has a little for everyone.

Beltane, in Celtic, literally means “Sacred Fire”. All our Beltane fire comes from one spark: the Neid Fire, lit at dusk on the festival night. The longest-burning single fire on the hill is lit by the May Queen from flames descended from the Neid fire spark.

This fire is called the Bonfire; it is our main focus.

We’d like to keep the fire, so if you have an old-fashioned pilot light that you would like to be re-lit from the Beltane flame, please get in touch.

If you want to leave some words on paper, or anything else in the fire, please do! It’ll burn very close to lots of people, so please make offerings from things that burn naturally without toxic fumes – no plastic – and let us know if it’s not very small as there is only so much space. The bonfire is not hot enough to bake ceramics but if you plan to get anything back from the fire then you also need to tell us or it’ll be cleaned away by the morning.

If you want a low commitment group in the run-up to Beltane, we have only 6 meetings and a weekend. If you want to give more time then we’d love your company on wood collection trips and some other plans around Edinburgh.

If you like to make gorgeous things, we’ll decorate Bonfire Point to create a beautiful space. If you like costuming, we’ll make bright garbs warm enough to get us through the night. If you like performing, we will be greeting the procession as the May Queen arrives to light our fire. If you like our wonderful community, we see everything we are doing as on behalf of the community at large.

In recent years, the community has left the bonfire to burn down attended only by a small security team. This year, the Watchers are delighted to keep the fire and hold a tranquil vigil through the night; an extension of the community onto the hill, so it can burn down at its natural rate. We believe this shows more respect for the community, the bonfire, and the hill while also meeting the low noise requirements of the local residents, to whom we are grateful for letting us share this beautiful, historic and spiritual space.

Sadly, it’s not easy to join the vigil without joining the group, as we can only have a very limited number of people on the hill. So if you’d rather go to the vigil than the club, now is the best time to talk to us.

Come along to our first meeting atop Carlton Hill on Monday 3rd March to find out more about our exciting workshops and other plans in the run-up to Beltane. Please wrap up warm!

Robert & Nicky, Watchers of the Sacred Fire, watchers@beltane.org

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