Ellie’s first Samhuinn Fire Festival was in 2014. She was in Cearcall Ur Nadir (Circle of Nature) and her character was Kalma, representing Winter earth…
My inspiration to take part stemmed from my first Beltane as an audience member back in 2012. It was my first year of uni and living in Edinburgh. Me and a few friends went to watch the festival and the night was just magical! The drums, the dancing, the hippies! I was in my element and I thought that night that the only thing that could make the entire experience better was that if I was a part of it.
I really wanted to join BFS but at the time I was way too shy and nervous to sign up. It wasn’t until September 2014 that I came back from the Summer holidays after the worst 3rd year of uni, suffering from mild depression, and thought I really need something to cheer my life up. So I bit the bullet and signed up for the only group still open at the time for Samhuinn which was Circle of Nature. It was meant to be as I couldn’t have met a nicer bunch of people. Everyone (especially my Group Organisers) was so welcoming and friendly and I just felt so at home!
I don’t really have one single stand out memory from my first Samhuinn. It’s more like a collection of amazing memories. Going to the first practice meeting at Blackford Hill in the evening and meeting Pauline (who was also new to BFS and it was her first practice meeting too) on the way there. I remember seeing the couple of dreadlocks in her hair and asking her, “Are you here for the Samhuinn meeting?”…”Yes! Are you?”…”Yes, me too!”.
Playing with fire toys in the dark that evening was a magical first Samhuinn experience and it just got better. The weekend away stood out for me as we joined The Wild Hunt at Tyninghame for an amazing weekend of camping in such a beautiful place whilst meeting more amazing people! The night of the festival itself, of course, stood out for me and I think the bit that stood out the most was walking towards our starting point as I was aware of the audience members all around talking to each other about the strange people in cloaks walking up the street. The amount of people on the street ready to watch was a little overwhelming, however I strangely didn’t feel nervous. As soon as our cloaks came off I slipped into a different world and the rest of the night was an indescribable experience. I loved every minute of it!
I am hoping to take part again this year in another performance group and I am most looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new – as well as painting myself up and making/wearing an awesome costume of course!
One more thing to add is that I can honestly say that joining BFS has been one of the best things I’ve done in my life so far, as it has helped my get through a very hard time and I’ve met people who I feel will be lifelong friends. But the beauty is that this is only the beginning – I plan on sticking around for a lot longer! I’m already planning on finding a job that means I can still do festivals. I have been bitten by the Beltane bug!
Photo of Ellie at Samhuinn 2014 by Michelle Linnane