If you have found this page, there is no coincidence that you are on a path of self discovery. Even if that wasn’t your intention, you somehow still wound up finding this page. This post directly deals with the Fire as an element, and how we can journey to find out the depth of our relationship with this element. It can be a direct reflection upon us and how we function in this world. We will be going through these journeying topics at the Shamanic Journey Group of Fairfax, however this can also be a “follow along at home” directional for those that wish to take this slowly and in a step-by-step process.
I shall update the table of contents as the blog posts get written.
Table of contents:
Purity and the Elements – Main post, Introduction to four element system and why
Earth – Representation of our Physical Body
Air – Representation of our Mental Body
Fire (this post)
Water (coming soon)
Fire is one of those elements that requires the right balance in order to burn in a way that is healthy. Previously in other blog posts, we have discussed that Earth represents our physical body, Air represents our mental body, water represents our emotional body, and fire is the pivot point of all of these elements – representing our spiritual body. Our Western Contemporary culture doesn’t value (or in the past has not valued) our spiritual body. We do things that go against our integrity all the time: not fully being “present” and in the moment, falling back on what we said we were going to do, not being realistic about our expectations and overestimating the energy that we have left before we commit to a task, etc. In order for our metaphorical fire to burn well, the other three elements have to be in balance.
Let’s start at the base. Imagine your place of power, or the place you have visited with your guides before. Go back to that same place to see you relationship with these elements and be open to the images that pop up. If our metaphorical “ground” is too shaky, porous, or wet, and it not well formulated – is that a good place to build a fire? Is it wise to build a fire on top of a whole bunch of dry grass? Here is where I introduce the concept of judgement, because I know this has come up in previous journeys. When viewing our metaphors, we must not ask is “Is this wrong or right?” because that puts us in a mind frame of judgement. If we label something as “Good” or “Bad”, then we will automatically categorize things into polar opposites for us. Maybe having something a particular way can be beneficial, but we can’t see the value of it until we appreciate it later. Sometimes the biggest miracle is God’s unanswered prayers. Perhaps someone does need to build a fire on top of dry grass, because that dry grass represents a lot of the “burnt out” challenges they have had in their life and they need to clear it all out. Yes, it turns into a fire storm, and that can be chaotic for a time – but perhaps that drained state once the fire burns out is exactly what they need to be receptive for the next lesson. Sometimes we need to be under pressure before we can grow. For example, conifers are a type of tree where fire is vital in their life cycle. The seeds cannot germinate unless they have been cracked open by fire. Everything has its learning opportunity, and learning to ask the right questions of Spirit is key to understanding ourselves and how we operate.
Now to deepen this metaphor. If we go back to our earth element in the form of wood instead of just the ground, we can equate the wood to our materials for consumption. Do we have too much wood? Do we not have enough wood? The wood can represent what we use to feed/nourish ourselves. If we don’t feed or nourish ourselves properly, then how can we have enough physical stamina to burn the wood? If we happen to sleep really well, eat right, and then wake up with a full stack of logs to burn, do we have a tendency to set everything on fire at once? Usually what that looks like in physical reality is the person getting really super excited about an idea, then they proceed to go forward with many different tasks, throwing all of their logs on their fire and expending all of their energy at once. Before they know it, after they get through half their day, their energy is depleted and they are dragging by the end of the day. The question is not “Is this method wrong or right” but “Does this method serve me?” or “Is this a healthy way for me to expend my energy”.
If our mental state is out of balance, perhaps we might have too much wind to add to our metaphor. If there is too much air (too many thoughts circulating), then sometimes our fire can burn out of control and we can run out of fuel (wood) faster then what we normally would. Because of this excitement of ideas, we can burn through our resources so quickly that we still become drained. Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the spectrum, if we don’t have enough wind, our metaphorical status could be “stagnant” and it could be hard for us to burn anything at all, because there is a lack of air. This lack of air could be a feeling of hopelessness, dread, or depression that we can’t seem to kick ourselves out of. If we happen to fall into this category, then some questions we could ask ourselves are: “What is my right relationship with my mental wisdom body, and how does it affect my element of fire?”; “Show me how quickly I burn through my resources when I become too over excited about my ideas”; “What is right relationship with my mental wisdom body, and how can I stimulate/calm it down?”
If our emotional wisdom body is out of balance, then our metaphorical scene could either be too wet, or not damp enough. If the air is thick and humid, then it could definitely be hard to start a fire because of how wet/saturated the wood is. If there is little to no emotion at all, then it could be too dry – and again, our resources get burned quicker then what we can throw on our fire. Most people in our society have a hard time with our emotional wisdom body, because we either suppress our emotions (because boys aren’t supposed to cry, or crying is seen as a weakness) or we over indulge in emotions (those prone to gossip or drama and feed off of it). It’s hard to find balance within ourselves, but again, we see how this very vital wisdom body can influence our element of fire. If we consider ourselves to be “sensitive” and feel more than some other people, then sometimes some protection against another person emotions could be the key. Perhaps someone is “raining on your parade”, and you find yourself drained and can’t build your fire after interacting with a certain type of person. What that can look like, is someone with a lot of ambition, but then after talking with someone, can become really disheartened because that person does not believe in them or their dreams. Sometimes filtering out these people that weigh you down is the type of protection you need to help protect your fire. Great questions sometimes come from this, “What is the right environment for my fire to thrive?”; “Show me how my emotional wisdom body affects my spiritual wisdom body”; “Show me the type of protection I might need to protect my fire, and how my fire gets influenced by others”
All of these things factor into our relationship with Spirit. If we are imbalanced in any of those three areas, it could be hard to keep our energy going. Fire typically represents our passion, our influence, and what drives us in life. If we feel like we have no passion, if we lack creativity, or we stop short – then what are you doing to feed your fire properly? This is a direct reflection to ones spirituality. Our sense of purpose and what drives us is directly enhanced by our relationship with our spirituality. If taken into context, we begin to see that many people can be out of balance with their spirituality, because all of these things are connected and inter-related. The point is not to have a fire that burns too terribly brightly, or out of balance with all the other elements, because too much “fire” can lead to arrogance, aggression, and ambition. How many times have you been bull dozed by someone with a fierce determination without a lack of care for who stands in their way? There is a such thing as too much fire. If we have too little fire, do we feel stuck, depleted, or feel like we are lacking a sense of purpose?
Fire is perfect for those who feel like they have too much on their plate. One of the best things about the element of fire, is that is serves the purpose of purifying, as well as bringing the gift of instant transformation. It is a universal law that energy cannot be either destroyed nor created. So what happens if you’ve got a lot of baggage? If you learn to utilize and work with these elements properly, we can begin to reflect on some of the things we’ve got going on in our life, and bring it to the fire so we can transform our thoughts/perspective, and then “let go” of anything else that doesn’t fit.
I will bring up a few patterns I see most common these days, that are standing in ones way to accessing their full potential of their spiritual wisdom body. One is that people are using life as an excuse not to get spiritual. Many people say, “Oh, I don’t have time to meditate” or “Yeah, I’m a really stressed out person, and I know I should do something for stress relief” and don’t take into account their spiritual health as well as their mental, emotional, and physical health. On the opposite end, I have seen many people take on meditations of “letting it go” and clearing the stress of the moment, but don’t into account why those stresses pop up in the first place or why it triggers them into an emotional/reactive state. If a person is constantly “letting go” and not diving down to why something is making them upset, it is termed a “spiritual bypass” so then they don’t really get down to the core of what makes them upset. Both can be an abuse of our spiritual wisdom body, and can lead to a superficial relationship with our own spirituality.
Many people can be in many different aspects of these relationships, the main point to draw out of this blog post, is what state are YOU in? This is not a linear path where you can “follow these steps and get this result”, but this is part of a guideline that is more holistic in application, and how you can pick up the pieces to strengthen the weak aspects.
Some questions we can ask our guides in regards to our relationship with fire are:
- What things am I refusing to acknowledge at this point?
- What are the challenges blocking me from accessing the full potential of my spirituality?
- What things can I transform within myself to establish a deeper relationship with my spiritual wisdom body?
- What things are standing in my way between me and living my life’s purpose?
As with any archetype, the shadow of fire is the wildfire (if you are confused at what the shadow is and what it represents, scroll down to the bottom of the earth post). The wildfire comes when we become too arrogant, sit on top of our high horse, and put all of our eggs in one basket. A more common expression of the wildfire is when our emotional wisdom body runs out of control, and the archetype of the “Wounded Child” drives the bus. Some people may or may not be familiar about it, but I tend to have a pretty unpopular view of the “Wounded Child”. What this usually looks like is someone who is fired by jealousy or their repressed emotions, and does something out of spite. They become “alive” and “on fire” because they feel like they need to get back at a person, or a group. Another thing is that we could have false passions that can drive us. Sometimes our addictions can fuel our motivations in the world, and we can become feverish to fulfill these desires we have. The wildfire is an example of chaos that can be used to drive us either into a state of madness where we destructively burn things without meaning to, or we can use it constructively in a way where we set forth fire in a way that allows for clear, concise break down so we can emerge as seedlings of a conifer that has been through the flame. The earth is generally extremely fertile after a fire, depending on what was burned. Could this be a new beginning for you that you can be proud of? Or is the wildfire a result of your repressed/unresolved issues that you continue to project on your surrounding situation? All of these are good questions to ask.
If you are an auditory person and would like an alternative way to listen to some of these ideas, feel free to listen to this podcast by Christina Pratt and Why Shamanism Now.
Other valuable links:
Journey Track Outline – Lost and need a refresher? Go back to the basics before moving forward
Purity and the Elements – Need a reminder on the element system and how these all play together?
Earth – Representation of our Physical Body
Air – Representation of our Mental Body