Have you ever tended a fire and experienced the almost natural calm and fulfilled centredness that comes with it? Humans tended and sat around fires for hundreds of thousands of years up until very recently. We can be sure that in our own lineages of ancestors, the memory of gathering around a fire for protection, warmth and togetherness is still strong.
Fire is the third of the elements. It needs the two previous elements space and air to exist. In Ayurveda, Fire is ‘that which heats and converts’.
When I began contemplating my life from the viewpoint of the Fire element, I found fire comes in many shapes and forms. When I was younger, I always preferred extremes, believing life should be like a rollercoaster to be lived fully! I had to learn not to combust as a norm.
Instead of wildfires and constant fire hazards dominating my lands, I now prefer my life to be more like a fire that burns steady, like a hearth in the home, protecting and providing warmth and nourishing food or just like an ambient candle.
As I wrote this blog post, the cowardly lion in Wizard of Oz made itself known to me and I had to read up about him to find out why. Turns out the cowardly lion was not a coward after all, but he thought he was. He didn’t believe in himself and thought that the fear he felt made him inadequate. The poor lion didn’t know how to access his fire.
I thank this lion for showing me that sometimes I too feel the same about me. Courage and empowerment are Fire traits, and this is an area of my life where I often dampen the fire with too many fears and feelings of not being enough or of fear of being authentic. Can you relate?
When I think of all the things I have a fiery passion and enthusiasm for, but hold back from due to fear, I realise I can approach them the other way around. I can replace the fears with passion and enthusiasm and instead literally ignite my life with some much-desired action. A change of perception that could bring transformation. Fire qualities at their best.
There are also some areas in my life that I feel passionate about, but I have forgotten to keep the fires burning to keep them going. I visualise putting kindling under my passions to get the fire to take hold and reignite them. In many places, I have allowed the fire to go out but now I feel inspired to rekindle them.
Inspiration, which I have a lot of, is the air that is needed for these fires to burn but without the fire of kindling they will remain lofty dreams. I will make sure that there is plenty of kindling and wood in my domain to keep the fires going that need to burn. Wood and kindling can be in the shape of funds to invigorate projects. The right kindling could be more discipline in writing or invoking the sacred to bring out my inner light. Kindness can be the ambers that make my relationships glow. I can remove fuel for fires I don’t want, like the wrong foods that give me heartburn or the conversations that bring out my fiery nature and make me too hot to handle.
To befriend Fire is to understand the qualities of this incredible element. I am going to sit by Fire in my imagination and watch the flames and be open to see myself, my life and those around me in a new light, like the Shamans who use fire to see in all directions. Maybe new insights or stories will emerge that I can share, just like the ancients did around their fires.
I wonder how we would live and change our ways if we decided to really value Fire? Fire helped our ancestors stay warm, protected, connected and better fed. These days we might not need fires to protect us but life without Fire would be impossible. We might not cook our food over open flames, but fire is still the reason we can cook our food.
Fire also digests our food and transform it into energy. It invigorates our body. It is fire that ignites our intellect, give us colour on our cheeks and even blesses us with bright shining eyes. It makes us sociable and joyful. A lack of fire slows our metabolism, give us a grey and dull complexion and make it harder for us to process information. It can make us anxious and fearful. An excess of fire can give us bloodshot eyes, inflammation, fever and an intense mind.
Fire is the source of all energy in the world and give us solar power, nuclear, fossil fuel and other types of energy that it frees from its source.
Its power to destroy was evident in the catastrophic fires in Australia this summer. Capable of huge destruction and great transformation, Fire is an element to keep in check while being grateful for what it does for us.
Recipe Fire Cider
This fire cider can warm up your whole body in seconds. This rocket fuel sharpens the mind and gets the circulation going. A natural pick-me-up, it uplifts and energizes. Take a shot daily to boost your immune system or take a shot in the morning to wake you up. Make this fire cider with caution, the ingredients are hot and spicy. Avoid touching your eyes. If it feels too strong to drink it can be diluted in water or put in a cup of herbal tea.
Drink Fire Cider in spring, autumn, and winter.
10 minutes preparation + 2-4 weeks fermenting in a dark place
Glass jar with plastic lid or natural parchment paper under the lid to avoid the vinegar to touch the metal
2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
10 cloves of raw garlic
3 inches of fresh ginger
3 tbsp Horseradish
¼ cup Jalapenos
1 whole lemon
1 tsp lemon zest
3 inches fresh Turmeric Root
½ cup Yellow onion
Honey to taste
Shred fresh ginger, horseradish, turmeric
Chop the onion, jalapenos and garlic cloves coarsely
Juice the lemon and grate the zest.
Combine all ingredients except the honey in a large mason jar. Make sure the ingredients are fully covered in apple cider vinegar.
Place parchment paper between the fire cider and the jar lid to prevent the vinegar from eating away the lid.
Cover tightly and place in a dark place for 2-4 weeks.
Shake the jar daily for a few seconds.
When ready, shake vigorously and strain the liquid into a clean jar. Squeeze as much of the liquid as you can. Add honey to taste. Be creative with the solids, use in cooking or feed your compost bin.
Store in the fridge and take 1-2 tablespoons daily.
The element of Fire was honoured and revered by ancient cultures and held great spiritual meaning. During Hallowe’en and Samhain, fire for hearths were relit from ritual fires. The Fire of the Sun was worshipped in most ancient cultures.
Fire appears in myths and legends like the hero Prometheus who stole fire from the gods to give to humanity. The theme of stolen fire is repeated in many cultures and implied that Fire belonged to the gods and not to humans. In order to have control of Fire, many a trickster and hero managed to steal it and give it to the people.
Salamanders were the mythological Fire Spirits that taught the first humans how to make fire. In Ayurveda, Fire is a deity called Agni. Aboriginal people in Australia understood and still understand how to manage country through burning practices to rejuvenate the landscape and to avoid devastating bushfires.
I would love to hear from you – how does Fire play out in your life? How do you connect with this element? How can you use the element of Fire to fuel your life?