Tame To Save: Turning Innocent Fire Dancing Into Religious Ritual

Fire dancing is a lively example of the childish—childish as a term of affection, not as one of derogation—creative capacities that are usually suppressed and repressed in our modern culture. If one mentioned people dancing around a fire with scant clothing and hypnotic drum beats, what would probably pop into your head is something akin to this:

Common commentary would be that this dancing is somehow related to a specific religion (which it may very well have been in the first, but no westernized modern interpretation could do it any justice) and is occasioned by spiritual other worldly concerns. However, what wouldn’t be admitted, or even conceived of, is that the fire dancing may have—in its original conception—been completely related to living in this world, and enhancing the time that these humans were having when they lived here. This thus turns us to consider the childish immediacy of experience that isn’t naturally concerned with death and an afterlife as an end in its own right, an often overlooked point. If nothing good and lucidly enjoyable came in this world, why should a people even create after-life as a concept? What out of this world could have originated the notion of a perfect and beautiful afterlife if there wasn’t something good and perfect occasioning this world from which to conceive of it? Perhaps what follows from this is a situation where specific geographic locales with an especially austere environment, breed atheists who flourish there because the idea of anything good or perfect is so alien to the entirety of their experience. Their cold living space has so colorblinded them to sketching a blueprint for an afterworld, for how could they never having had any exposure to the blues?

There must have been some original sacredness to this world (that I don’t think is beyond redemption) that could have allowed the original childish enchantment durable to be fully embodied by the full grown adults likewise—I think here specifically of Columbus’s description of the Arawak Caribbean Natives. The originary non-religious necessity of fire-dancing that I am positing is also given support as a default as by the question: could humans have even wanted to conceive of an extension beyond death in a state of lived sacredness? This is my thinking at present, which may regress or evolve to argue with myself if you, dear reader, don’t beat me to it.

Jumping back into our own time, the fire dance could only survive modernized adult ridicule if it was to be ensconced in ritual. The ritual aspect protects the pure creative joy of fire dancing that was the immediate enhancement of experience, by both a vital warmth and the visual dance of the flame, an intensely differentiating allure taking place at the very most complex mereol level of our day—the chemical. In possibly a beta iteration, what I’m saying is that these ancient people who wanted to protect the childish vitality of their world and their very existence, put a ritualistic air around such an act as dancing around a fire. Possibly what they thought in so doing was that this was the best way to weather the siege of increasing seriousness as humans “aged” out of innocence into civilized rigidity.


I have a great need of haste as the ideas for posts pile up and the demands of the civilized worlds draw me away from this blog, not to mention dilettantism in our complicated world spreads one very thin. So, to that end—and you may see the connection as I do to the rest of the above post—I will dump, rather uneloquently, as is not my wont, a Tonka meme that speaks to modern adults embodying the negative connotation of childish (and maybe you’ll catch my vibe that I fucking hate shiny misused trucks):

Tonka Propaganda Worked On Me

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