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A bonfire to keep winter at bay

A bonfire to keep winter at bay

Before it burns out
It will have roared first and mixed sparks with stars,
And sweeping round it with a flaming sword,
Made the dim trees stand back in wider circle

—Robert Frost


There’s something about mid-January that makes me want to dance around a bonfire.

The chill in the air—so delightfully nippy just a few months ago—has grown vampire teeth that leach the life right out of me. Corpses of fallen trees, splintered beneath the weight of the last ice storm, litter the roads. Death is everywhere.

Game of Thrones winter
Game of Thrones via Wikia

We’ve crossed the solstice threshold, and daylight is expanding its reach again. But it’s as if the energy required to reverse its decline has sapped the sun of all its power. It shines weakly, if at all.

Dancing ’round the bonfire is an act of sympathetic magic. The sun might waver, but by lighting a bonfire we capture a tiny piece of it and feed it fuel to make it grow. As we circumambulate, we also feed it energy from our bodies as if blowing on newly sparked tinder to start a blaze. Would the sun continue to wax toward summer if we didn’t? Of course. Probably. Maybe. There’s no proof either way. But sending power to the sun also fans the flames within. That’s where the real magic happens.

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