The need-fire

A need-fire is a ritually produced fire that reverses illness, blight and malady afflicting a village.

An interesting precondition to an efficacious need-fire is that all other fires in the region must be extinguished. Only in a state of darkness can a need-fire be struck.

We must begin in darkness, writer. If we lack darkness we must create it. Only then can your words have the power of a need-fire for yourself and others.

If you want to strike your own need-fire this is the historical process as described by the well-read J G Frazer in The Golden Bough.

Two poles were driven into the ground about a foot and a half from each other. Each pole had in the side facing the other a socket into which a smooth cross-piece or roller was fitted. The sockets were stuffed with linen, and two ends of the roller were rammed tightly into the sockets. To make it more flammable the roller was often coated with tar. The rope was then wound round the roller, and the free ends at both sides were gripped by two or more persons, who by pulling the rope to and fro caused the roller to revolve rapidly, till through the friction the linen in the sockets took fire. The sparks were immediately caught in tow or oakum and waved about in a circle until they burst into a bright glow, when straw was applied to it, and the blazing straw used to kindle the fuel that had been stacked to make the bonfire.

(Drive your cattle or horses through the smoke of a properly lit need-fire, or, walk yourself through the smoke and put a little ash on your face to cleanse and protect from whatever misfortune is afoot.)

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