Observations placeholder

Kahuna - Fire walking on Suva

Identifier

003094

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

A description of the experience

Recovering the Ancient Magic  – Max Freedom Long

Two of my closest friends, George Dromgold- and James.B. Shackelford, of the Shackelford-Dromgold Film Expedition to the Great Barrier Reef and Papua in 1933, spent three months in Fiji en route.

I had asked them to keep a sharp watch for fire-magic and to investigate it most carefully for any sign of faking. Upon their return to Hollywood they reported seeing the usual performance of fire-walking on two different steamer days at Suva.

They watched the great ten by twenty-foot pit being filled with logs and stones - the stones averaging from ten to twenty pounds in weight. They saw the fire burning all day and the rocks heated to redness. In the late afternoon the natives levelled off the stones on top of the deep bed of coals. Live coals glowed fiery between the stones of the platform.

My friends had kept careful watch to see if the bare feet of the fire-walkers were treated with any fluid or substance. They saw nothing of the kind used and no evidence of any insulating substance on the feet.

The fire-walking was done in the following way: chants were recited. The performers grasped green branches in their hands and covered their heads with wreaths of green leaves. They walked repeatedly across the hot stones and did short dances on them, lasting about a half minute.

Their feet were in contact at every step with the nearly red-hot stones and often with the red-hot coals. After each of the seven men had performed, a layer of green leaves, about two inches deep was spread over the shimmering bed. The performers sat down on the leaves and chanted for about three minutes.

The heat was tested by my friends, by throwing wet leaves and twigs on the platform.  These soon charred and burst into flame. The rocks were so hot that their faces had to be protected with hat or hands on close approach.  I was assured that the rocks were almost red hot.  Both Mr Dromgold and Mr. Shackelford were convinced that there is nothing in the magic which is in any way related to the spurious magic of the stage. They tell me that it is universally conceded by the white people of Suva that the natives actually use magic to prevent their feet from being burned

The source of the experience

Kahuna

Concepts, symbols and science items

Symbols

Fire walking

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Suppressions

Singing spells

Commonsteps

References