Mirdea Eliade - Fijian fire walking
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Mircea Eliade – Shamanism Archaic techniques of ecstasy
If we remember that Siberian shamans are reputed to swallow burning coals, that heat and fire are magical attributes occurring in most archaic strata of primitive societies, that similar phenomenon are found in the higher systems of magic and contemplative techniques of Asia (Yoga Tantrism etc), we may conclude that the power over fire exhibited by certain Fijian families [the ability to walk over hot coals] belongs to true shamanism.
Nor is this power confined to the Fiji Islands. Though to a lesser degree and without such inclusive manifestations, insensibility to fire has been documented in the case of numerous Polynesian prophets and persons subject to inspiration……..
Mastery over fire, insensibility to heat and hence the ‘mystical heat’ that renders both extreme cold and the temperature of burning coals supportable, is a magico- mystical virtue that accompanied by no less marvellous qualities (ascent, magical flight etc) translates into sensible terms the fact that the shaman has passed beyond the human condition and already shares in the condition of ‘spirits’