From the moment man created fire, he has been completely fascinated with it. Maybe it’s because fire has a certain soul… it really has a life of its own. It is Alive.

Across the psy trance & goa scene, I first started to notice some of the juggling community mostly as the sun came down. The bright coloured tools of their trade had turned into balls of litttle controlled & methodically spinning fire before my eyes. I am certain my heart skipped a beat. Juggling had never been something I had considered… but to see this manipulation of ‘alive’ energy in such a focused & controlled way, was something i -craved to understand.
„If you play with fire, you are likely to get burnt’, as the old saying goes, the decision to learn poi unlit first was almost not a decision – it was something that really just found me. It was a little time before I felt the confidence for fire manipulation, but each time I feel this power rushing around me at my very control, it builds that confidence&desire that little bit more.
This is the feeling that I see in the eyes of those performing these flows – a focus and understanding of energy and flow. In so many varying forms with so many new tricks and tools being created and invented every day, goa & psytrance people often take on these little forms of play with an amazingly open landscape of creativity.
The raw energy of fire is certainly not something to be taken lightly. This is something for a conscious mind who wants to unlock further boundaries & doors, who will take the time needed to learn how to play safely. The focus and almost meditative-like states that one finds in these flows are astronomically intensified for me personally, when I relate them to the frequency of beats and sounds within music – in particular to psy trance. Sometimes people have commented my poi play seems as martial art (especially if I am really in the ‘zone’ & have closed my eyes). I wondered if I applied the same skills of poi to something like nun-chucks if this would be possible. I think with a few technique applications, that this is entirely possible! I have never considered martial arts before… but now, I certainly see how a transfer of skills I learned with poi might somehow work.
There are never such intense feelings as the ones I have sharing this gift with the people in a music that we all really live for. In this way we celebrate life together. The life of the fire, the life of the people and the life of everything in around us.
Each time I play, and each time I join with others playing and we learn from each other, my understanding becomes deeper and more intense. I can see how fire draws people towards one another. It is a common ground in whic we want to understand how to make such a powerful energy move at will in front of our eyes. It was difficult in the beginning for me to understand that such understanding of this ferocious energy actually required me to be more calm, more relaxed and therefore more focused. Almost an opposing feeling&mental state, to create the seeminly fierce action that I want.

The people are drawn to fire as a bug is to light, but remember always to have respect. Fire has potential to cause you harm if you are not paying attention!
I encourage anyone who wants to learn, to begin slow & take things at your own pace. Choose your favoured tool – from hoop, poi, staff or any other equipment that spikes your interest. Then practise unlit till you know these moves with ease&confidence…. like a second nature. Not long after I experienced this second nature feeling myself, I heard someone remark after a quite intense fire ‘dance’ of poi, ‘You’ve been burned’ &he smiled at me. This is the new meaning; when you become addicted to the fascination of the manipulation of pure energy!

The European Juggling Convention 2011 is held in August in Munich this year.
In Mushroom Magazine‘s hometown Hamburg, are many juggling get togethers each week. Email for further details about locations & days, interest in learning more about the juggling community, organising shows/gigs for events, or wish to be in contact with people in your area.

Kylie Van EerdenOther useful Links & friends:

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