Trickster gods and deathly jesters

The Moncai are the gods of death who exist in both Summer and Winter, embracing the light and the dark at the same time. At Samhuinn Fire Festival, they will explore the mutual forces of the seasons, encouraging us not to fear Winter but to regard it as part of a natural cycle.

Copyright Ken Dunton for Beltane Fire Society. All Rights Reserved. /

They draw from the dualistic nature of fire, which represents the warmth of Summer and the comfort of the hearth in Winter but is also a destructive force all year round. They are slippery creatures inspired in part by the mischievous Shinigami, the gods of death in Japanese folklore who have found their way into contemporary stories through anime film. They are the tricksters, the dark jesters, the makers of mischief bringing death by fire to those who dare to tempt them.

Copyright Ashley Erdman for Beltane Fire Society. All Rights Reserved. /

They realise that nothing is permanent and flit between allegiances, turning from the Summer King to the Winter King when they realise his reign is ending. They trick their former leader and menacingly play with his followers, luring them to the battlefield and seducing all to their downfall.

Copyright Sean Bluestone for Beltane Fire Society. All Rights Reserved. /

They are the fire behind death. They embrace the circle of nature with a sense of tricksy fun, reminding us that the fire need not die with Samhuinn but keeps blazing through the Winter months.

Samhuinn Fire Festival takes place on Wednesday 31st October on Calton Hill from 7pm. Tickets are available from Tickets Scotland.

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