Yesterday, several news sites reported the story of two pagans in Nottingham being convicted of arson after a skyclad ritual involving burning incense, candles, newspapers and some clothing went a bit wrong.
According to the news reports, police and the fire brigade had been called out by neighbours who saw smoke coming out of a window and thought the building was on a fire. The emergency workers entered the property and found two naked men performing a pagan rite. The men had started by burning incense and candles but then decided to burn some newspapers and their clothes as part of the ritual "to remove negative vibes".
The two men were found guilty of arson and ordered to carry out community work by the court.
Although I only know as much as I have read in the news reports, I do think there are some lessons that we, as pagans, can learn from this regarding safety. Many pagan rituals do involve burning candles and incense - although not usually the burning of clothing or newspapers - and any candles or fires should be contained properly and not left unattended.
The embarrassment of having policemen and firemen rushing in during a naked ritual should surely be an added incentive not to let a fire get out of control.
Mind you, there is something kind of appealing about the thought of being rescued by a well-muscled fireman :)
You can read some of the news reports here: