The Watchers of the Sacred Fire are collecting fuel for the Beltane bonfire

Our bonfire is lit every year by the May Queen, at roughly midnight, when May Day begins at the start of summer. In Celtic times, livestock was driven close to the fire to drive out disease, so it’s important that our bonfire be a source of much heat and smoke.

We make sure the space on the hill is thoroughly cleaned both before and after the festival so that we not leaving any mark on the hill itself.

Many different types of wood go into the bonfire. Sadly, we don’t have time to wait around while the fire is kindled; the bonfire uses the same sacred fire that is lit from a single spark at the start of the Beltane festivities.

So Dani of the Beltane Bees has been gathering up some old pallets, which will form the main structure of the fire. Pallets aren’t very traditional, but they’re exactly what we need: a big structure to form the fire around, full of holes for airflow so that the fire can inflame quickly and dramatically. These pictures show Tigger the van with a full tummy of pallets.

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All the wood for the bonfire comes from the community at large, and this year we have more solid wood that we’ve had for many festivals. This year, we’re honoured to be allowed to have a small group of people staying with the fire in a quiet vigil to show our respects for the hill, the local neighbours and the community at large, so we want to keep the fire that little bit larger than usual.

These pictures show our current wood pile, and while it may look like we have a lot, this will soon disappear in the flames. We still need both green wood and solid wood to burn on the night.

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SONY DSC

If you’re around Edinburgh and you’d like to donate some old planks, cut-off branches or your old Christmas tree that we know you still have it around (we won’t judge you!), then please email watchers@beltane.org. We can collect!

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