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Jeff McBride

alchemical fire circle transcends and includes all cultures. If anybody comes to this event, and they don’t feel like they can express themselves there, we seriously look at that, and we see if we can adapt our festival to fit them. So it’s not any one tradition putting this thing on. It’s so simple, and it’s so nonpolitical. You really should come this year David, it’s right in your backyard.

David: It really does sound amazing, and I’m looking forward to coming. You know, it’s interesting that when I stare at a fire for a long period of time, it always seems to me that the fire is truly alive, like there’s a living spirit inside of it.

Jeff: Oh Yeah. The fire’s a teacher. The fire is the sun in our universe that we dance around. In the alchemical model the fire in the center is the sun. Then the people become the planets dancing around the sun.

I’m also working on a project that is part of the quest that I’ve been on for the last twenty years. With the magic at the fire circles, I try to scoop up a big bucket of this elixir that we brew up at these week-long fire ceremonies, and desperately try to bring it back to the cities in a leaky bucket. And I haven’t been able to create quite the right container to do the type of magic that I am destined to do in an urban environment. 

So, over the past couple of years, we have been creating an inflatable dome structure that hermetically is an alchemical egg. It’s a vessel. It’s an inflatable dome, eighty feet, that is incredibly transportable, and it has surround 360 degree projectors. I set this up in my warehouse here in Las Vegas to do these, what I call “trance-formances”, which are a show that goes into a drum and dance ceremony. And recently, a number of casino bookers and entertainment managers in leading Las Vegas casinos, have been coming in and looking at this entertainment complex that I’ve been developing, and going, wow, this is the next thing.

We’ve been going to festivals like Burning Man for a number of years, and seeing what people want. Trying to circle the square, as it were. Take a conventional entertainment environment, and create a much more magical environment for people to participate in. Square theaters have their limitation. Square proscenium theaters with curtains have a certain inherent distancing of the audience. 

This inflatable structure allows us to work inside of a round dome, projecting astonishing art work and visuals as the scenic element, while I’m doing performance magic. This is then combined with drumming and dancing–with some of the finest performers that I’ve met over the last twenty years at these different gatherings and festivals. I’m working with these folks, staying as true as we can to our intention of making a magical environment for people to encounter the miraculous.

David: So, part of what you’re saying, is that you see your stage magic as an important aspect of your own spiritual path.

Jeff: Yeah, of course. You know, the Hindus say it best–all is maya. All is illusion. And I remind people of that continually through my work–that what we think is real is just our perceptions. And it’s challenging people’s perceptions–in a friendly magical way–and opening them up to the greater possibilities that exist within them and around them.

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