If we take the time to look around us, we can see that our attitudes, values, personalites and perspectives are reflected in our urban culture. Our art, movies, inventions, fashion and politics all express the way our society thinks and feels. When we look at nature, we see the roots from which we have grown and the evolutionary steps which we have taken to become who we are now. The Four Elements are the basic building blocks of organic life and from the Shamanic perspective, they influence not only our physical form but also our personalities and behaviours. We intuitively know this and we have some colourful expressions to prove it, such as: “he has a short fuse”, “keeping my head above water”, “salt of the earth” or “building castles in the air”.
Consciously connecting with the elements can help us to understand ourselves better and provide us with a tool for creating change, balance and harmony in our lives. Lets take a look at the Fire Element.Fire is quite different from the other elements because it is a chemical process and has a life similar to our own – it appears from seemingly nowhere, it feeds off organic matter, it grows, requires air to breathe and when it is done it dies away, having made quite an impression in its short life. The ability to harness and utilize fire is one of the most significant evolutionary steps in the history of human development. Fire can warm and nurture us, like the welcoming hearth fire and cooking stove. A gently crackling fire is reassuring, restful or even romantic. Left unchecked however, Fire can become destructive, easily consuming all in its path and reducing the most glorious mansion, love, relationship or best intentions to ashes.
Fiery people are well known for being energetic, passionate, dynamic, sexy and charismatic. They can also be quick to anger, frustrated, jealous, spiteful, competitive and in extreme cases – violent. Fire is expressive in nature and can become explosive when contained for too long. Unexpressed Fire energy, particularly unexpressed anger will cause depression as the Fire is turned inwards and feeds off the essential life force of the self. Therefore it is important to give your fiery energy the appropriate environment in which to burn, perhaps by honestly expressing your feelings, engaging in physical exercise or competitive sport, a passionate debate, dancing all night long or painting up a storm.
The Fire element also brings us the gifts of ambition, motivation and creativity. If you are strong in the Fire Element you will have drive, determination and commitment but you must be sure to pace yourself so that you don’t burn out before your plans are realised. If you are deficient in the Fire Element you may become apathetic, unmotivated or unable to turn your ideas into actions. Fiery people are natural leaders and can be extremely inspiring but too much Fire can become pushy, domineering and impatient. To maintain balance within yourself, remember that the Fire Element can be cooled with Water and steadied with Earth, however the Air Element will only further fan the flames!
Fire has the power to transform all that it touches, and can teach us how to use alchemy within ourselves. Symbolically we can use fire to purify the self, to burn off the dross in our lives as well as to melt and merge conflicting aspects. We can use fire to warm a cold heart, to invigorate a depressed spirit and to ignite a spark of interest. Whilst building a bonfire on the beach is spectacular, meditating with a candle is an equally powerful and effective way to reconnect with the Fire Element. As you gaze deeply into the flames, what does Fire have to teach you today?
This article was written for Connect Magazine edition #79 April 2011