Historically November 5th is related to Guy Fawkes and his attempt to blow up parliament. He was prevented from doing this and horribly punished by being hung, drawn and quartered – not burnt, like the ‘guy’ on top of the bonfire. These days the tradition of the ‘guy’ is less popular, but not many decades ago children often made life-size dolls from rags and sticks. These were shown off and money collected for festivities by begging ‘A penny for the guy’.
This sounds morbid, but may have caught on because of instinctual links with more ancient practices. At this time of year, when the cold and dark approaches, there was understandably a fear of what winter would bring. Would there be enough food? Would the weather be so bad that people would grow ill and die? Primitive people wanted to make sure the gods were on their side and so human sacrifice was probably practiced. The sacrifice on the bonfire was the price paid for the survival of everyone else.
This is enough to send a shiver down anyone’s spine, but why not look at this from a positive angle? What in your life can you ‘sacrifice’ to make way for something better? Perhaps you would like to give up a habit, like smoking or eating junk-food. If so, why not throw your packet of fags or your wrappers onto the bonfire, affirming that they are a thing of the past. Now, as the darkness approaches, with it come wisdom, time to reflect and new values.
If you want to move on from a difficult phase in your life, the bonfire is the place for letters, cards, photos and any reminders of the past. Fire is cleansing and renewing. Watch as the flames transform all that negativity into bright energy to power you through towards something better.