Different types of ritual bonfires in shamanic practices

The bonfire for the Upper World is built in the form of a 'shelter,' with a semblance of a table placed in the center where offerings for the spirits will be placed. The food is never placed on the ground. This type of bonfire is only lit during the period of open Heaven’s Gates, with its entrance facing east. Bright and gratitude rituals can be performed on such fire, and one can seek knowledge and skills from the spirits. Purification is not carried out on such a bonfire.

The bonfire for the Middle World is built in a 'grid' style, with the upper tier of the grid serving as a table. The entrance to the bonfire faces east, and rituals with this bonfire are only conducted during the period of open Heaven’s Gates, as the spirits of the area sleep during the period of closed Heaven’s Gates. Help and protection can be sought, and purification and the opening of the white road can be performed with this bonfire.

The ancestral bonfire is built in a 'grid' style with a cone made of vertically standing logs. Such a bonfire can be lit at any time of the year, and any food desired by the ancestral spirits can be used. Typically, lots of food is used, and the ancestral spirits table should be overflowing with abundance. The entrance of the fire is strictly located to the east. Through such a bonfire, one can work with the lineage, perform purification, and open the white road.
These bonfires are sufficient to gain a basic understanding of shamanism and absorb the essence of these practices. However, rituals without initiation may bring some discomfort in life, as the actions of an uninitiated person will be closely observed by the spirits, and the corresponding demands will be made. When arranging any ritual fire, only clean firewood is used, without nails, paint, varnish, or anything other than the wood itself.

How to choose a place for a ritual bonfire

In the case of conducting a ritual in the forest without prepared firewood, only dead trees and fallen branches can be used. A ritual fire is never ignited with paper or an igniting mixture. The fire should be ignited either from a juniper branch, dry grass, birch bark, small twigs, or from a beeswax candle. This method is convenient when the firewood is damp, as the natural base of the beeswax candle permeates the damp wood and helps ignite the fire.

The location for the bonfire is chosen purposefully. The best places for rituals are where the river, rock, and forest come together. If such a place is not available, it is good to use the confluence of rivers or find places on the riverbank or near gnarled trees. Knots on trees and shamanic trees only exist in places of power, the very places where a shaman can perform a ritual. Finding or growing a shamanic tree is a great blessing for any shaman, as it allows one to connect with the place, draw strength and knowledge from it. Two or more different trees growing from the same root are called a shamanic tree.

The place where you will conduct the ritual must be cleared of any kind of rubbish; a sacred fire is not lit on a garbage heap. After gathering firewood, it should be smudged with juniper or other sacred herbs counterclockwise at least 3 times. It is crucial to know that the spirits from the previous bonfire will come to your ritual through the coals, and one can only imagine what was done on that bonfire. Therefore, before any ritual, it is mandatory to remove the ashes and coals from previous bonfires.

If the location is new and the first bonfire will belong to you, it is essential to sprinkle the place for the bonfire generously with tobacco and powdered incense. This will create a stronger connection with the fire and the location.
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