Demons. They exist no? No less real than any other story.

If you are lucky and you find yourself in Mallorca at this time of year, you get to meet them.  In the flesh.

One of our most beloved festivals, Revetlla de Sant Antoni is not only a great night out. It provides rich fuel to fan stirrings.  Of wintering, the power of ceremony, the sacredness of fire and the importance of naturing our mind.

Ceremonies and this ceremony

I have become increasingly ceremonial about life. And as a consequence, keep on finding friendships and opportunities which nurture that way of being.  Including talking about them on the Earth Converse Podcast. And having the fortune to live in a pueblo which loves fiestas.

Ceremonies by their nature are community events. Even if we undertake our own rituals we are calling in interbeings, the known and the unknown as witnesses. Where us humans can be at our best: co-creating with the larger web of life.  Where we make sense of our existence and honour the cycles of nature. Haven’t we always gathered to celebrate the dance of death and life, the spiritual and the material?.  For ceremonies are life celebrating life.

Adopted by Christianity, Sant Antoni lands just before the mid point between winter solstice and spring equinox.   It gives its respect to the hardship of winter and the loud knock of death for humans and the animals they rely on.  And recognizes the imaginations of humans and how we make sense of the strange, horrific, powerful and mysterious.

Rather than just surviving winter or indeed life itself, managing it or getting through it. We are willing to be transformed by it.

In our pueblo, the night before animals are blessed, demons turn up with a primal drum beat. They throw fire around whilst the rest of us try and dance under their flames without being hurt. A snapshot here.

This ceremonial act is therapy, ancestral healing and a whole lot of fun wrapped up in one flaming crazy party.

Naturing Our Mind is A Community Act

How often do we face our demons? How often do we dance with them?

Real or imagined, internal or external, ambivalent or not. The role that demons play in our life varies and is bound in context.

When they emerge out of the dark, it is a call to converse with them.   We cannot control what they do, but we can reflect on what they stir in us. And experiment in how we relate to them. It is a chance to do a bit of rewilding of our mind and hearts. To befriend our often, unexpressed hidden shamed rejected parts of ourselves.  As a way to come into our greater wholeness and potential.

To step into our adult responsibility to become all what we can. To love and look after our minds through reconnecting with the natural world.  The larger mystery from which we are part. In doing so, we fall back in love with nature, and we care for it.  This naturing our mind is a political act, a leadership act. It is a community act. We do it for ourselves and for the collective.

Fire and Drum

As we promote at Earth Converse, infused with intention,  there are innumerable ways we can connect with nature, our inner nature and wider nature.  In the case of Sant Antoni, the star of the show is the sacred element of fire.

Fire.  We can so easily take its wonder for granted.  Who remembers that scene with Tom Hanks in the film Cast Away (2000)?  The effort he took to make a fire.  And the sharp contrast when back in civilization, it came with a mere press of a fire stick.   On a day to day basis we can take time to revere it like in this meditation.  For sure, on our celebratory night, it is a chance again to be enchanted and humbled by its nakedness. Its life-affirming and life-destroying qualities.  Welcoming the heat, we feel energised and purified by the elemental powers reverberating through our bodies and hearts. To the sound of drums, in this alchemical dance.

A multigenerational gathering, it was particularly poignant to see so many teenagers participating. Feeling the permission to be hooded and masked. To rage with the heat. Their own way of ‘earthconversing’: being intentionally in communion with nature. Indeed for many, it has become a rite of passage.  My thirteen year old neighbour was excited to dance with me under the flames.

And as if to reinforce the magic it stirred, it didn’t come unnoticed that the day after the fire purification, we were blessed with a fall of virgin snow.

Needless to say we look forward to when the demons return in summer…

Reach out to Penelope Mavor at Earth Converse to work with you and your team on creating the futures you want to serve 

Thanks to Ivan Sutherland for videos and photo @ivanski63 on instagram


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