A balefire is a ritual fire kindled without the use of metals.

    A balefire is traditionally lit with an elf fire, also known as a needfire. An elf fire is made by rubbing two pieces of wood together. A fire bow is the easiest method to make an elf fire. Elf fire is sometimes called Ignis fatuus which is Latin for foolish fire.

    There are two slightly different lists for the nine woods used in a balefire, one from Celtic Druidism and one from Wicca Witchcraft,

    Nine woods are traditionally placed in the traditional Celtic Druid balefire: apple, cedar, dogwood, elder, holly, juniper, oak, poplar, and rowan. These nine woods can vary by locality. Pine is often used in place of either holly or elder.

    Nine woods are traditionally placed in the traditional Wiccan Witchcraft balefire (often placed in this exact order): birch, oak, rowan, willows, hawthorn, hazel, apple, grape, and fir. Elder is never burned by a Wiccan Witch. Instead, a hollow elder tube is used to blow on the embers to start the balefire. Traditionally elder referred to European elder, but many Witches in North America use American elder instead. Wiccans never burn elder.

    The Sabbat Beltane gets its name from the Balefires lit throughout Britain and Ireland on May Eve. Baile means dance. Celtic Druids believed they could see Faeries dancing in the Beltane Balefire.

    An ancient British method of getting rid of bad habits is to write them on parchment and throw them into a Balefire.

    For more information, also see Beltane.

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