Monday, July 2, 2012

Fire and ritual: is it ever good for the environment?

Here in Australia, burning off areas of land is a natural process required to help particular flora germinate into the next season - so long as the fire is controlled.  That was certainly much easier for the Australian environment to take before the bulk of its landscape - particularly here in Victoria was deforested.  Before Europeans settled in Australia, the aboriginal people used to burn off areas of land in order to easily track down animals to eat and thus, fire was part and parcel of how the environment rejuvenated itself each year.  Seeds would benefit from this heat and then germinate in the ashen soil.  Naturally, with the environmental concerns of releasing carbon into the air that we don't need I will - on occasion - find myself guilty of just wanting a good old fashioned bon fire to celebrate a Sabbat.  So: do I post this article to make me feel better about burning a good fire and even a candle?  Maybe a little bit!  It has to make you wonder about the magick of ritual and whether we did use this over the years across cultures to 'put heat under' the germination of our seeds for our crops and trees.

A 4,000 year old fire ritual conducted in the remote village in Kerala in April this year has a positive impact on the atmosphere, soil and other environment effects, according to scientists who are now ready with their findings.

The “Athirathram” ritual held on April 4— 15 at Panjal village in Thrissur district was the focus of a detailed study by a team of scientists led by Prof V P N Nampoori, former director of the International School of Photonics, Cochin University of Science and Technology.
The scientists had focused on the fire ritual’s scientific dimensions and impact on the atmosphere, soil and its micro—organisms and other potential environmental effects.
The yagna seems to have accelerated the process of seed germination and also the microbial presence in air, water and soil in and around the region of the fire ritual is vastly diminished, according to a statement released by the Varthathe Trust, who organised the ritual.
Read more at The Hindu

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