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      Fire: the Power to Change  

Ingrid Naiman

As I navigate my third Saturn cycle, I am acutely aware that this site serves to complete my own destiny, that of bringing love and light into the areas of our being where pain and suffering have created the wounds that today need healing.










Many people are afraid of fire because they associate it with anger, recklessness, violence, egotism, selfishness, and other energies they find generally unsafe or outright dangerous. However, there is another side to fire—that once understood—can bring this force into balance.

Ancient alchemists believed that fire had such a tremendous transformative power that they attempted to convert dross metal into gold by subjecting the cruder substance to the tortures of fire.  Thanks to these practices, there is a vague notion in the back of some minds that excruciating pain and suffering can be purifying; but this misconception resulted in the horrors of the Inquisition and much misuse of a gift regarded as divine by some and primitive when moving in the psyche of someone who has not learned to channel his or her fire constructively.  As with all gifts, it is necessary for the recipient to master the talent before expecting appreciation for its expression.

So, here we are today, facing many forms of toxic fire, starting perhaps with the "might makes right" perversion that is expressed in economic exploitation and political domination and ending in the terribly toxic and burning chemicals that are polluting our air and water as well as our soil, not to mention our psyches.  Is it any wonder then that all three of the other elements—air, water, and earth—regard fire as hazardous and therefore tend to reject fire as a force to be feared or at least disdained?

Understandable as these apprehensions and opinions are, they only reflect half of the picture, and there is another half. 

The I Ching has a lovely way of describing fire:  arousal.  There is a feeling of awakening a sleeping dragon and being careful in the process to avoid the flaming breath and lashing tail.  The truth is that all emotions are activated by something we might call an arousal or trigger.  As a medical astrologer, I might urge us to consider that each person has what we might call a "most accessible emotion" and this is the usually the first that moves when a situation or event trips the switch that allows feelings to flood the psyche.

I do not want to move too fast with these ideas because they are very important.  If I make them sound too simple, people will read quickly and miss the depth of the ideas.  Let us look at the world situation and pick something as deplorable as the use of depleted uranium in weapons that are being projected at innocent people by an administration that is obviously misusing power.  There are people whose first reaction to DU reports would be to burrow into denial.  They would use as much force as they can muster to resist taking in such unpleasant information, and they may even try to find some credible source that appears to deny the existence of such weapons.  At least, they will seek comfort in believing that the weapons are not actually being used . . . or they are not as dangerous as some say.  This would be a reasonable first reaction from an earth type.  However, once the blockage builds a strong enough wall that the individual feels fortified, he or she may dare to seek the facts because there is a part of such persons that thrives on practicality . . . and one can only really be practical if one is realistic.  Thus, after the shock of the first assault on security, the earth type may methodically investigate the matter until the facts speak for themselves.  The third stage would be to position oneself as safely as possible so as to minimize risk. 

What I just said here is that this would be the "emotional" reaction of an earth type to a situation that evokes such a horror that there is no alternative but to recognize the feelings and move with them through the various stages of stress, accommodation, and adjustment.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is the air type.  These people are light and vulnerable and their most accessible emotion is fear.  This, in turn, unleashes an avalanche of nerves and jitters and inner turmoil that ultimately turns normalcy into chaos.  Air types are open and therefore not resistant like the earth types.  This means they are inclined to recognize the information and to process it very quickly, with nearly as much rationality as the earth types but with totally different emotions.

Again, I wish to reiterate to make this very, very clear.  Air and earth are both rational and therefore responsive to factual information, but the speed of the processing varies tremendously as do the feelings that attend the awakening of the psyche.  In severe cases, air would panic and run itself ragged with concerns over, yes, the same issues as earth:  safety and security; but air does not have a fortress so it is unable to withdraw while tyrannized by fear.

Water and fire are in the middle, but let me talk about water first.  I am doing this deliberately so that it is very obvious to everyone reading this that everyone is emotional, but the most prominent emotion is the one we experience first.

Water's first response is usually some form of grief or sadness, feelings that can be expressed with tears.  Those who are not watery may believe that water types will drown in their tears, but this is a view held by those who experience differently and do not understand the ocean of tears.

Unlike air and earth, water is not rational or objective or even informational.  It is what we usually call "emotional" but I am trying to emphasize that fear is also an emotion so what we call emotional or refer to as emotional response ought to include every emotion, not just watery emotions.

Water is magnetic so it feels to others like water types are sucking you right into their morass and this feels really uncomfortable to people who prefer fortresses to the moat around the fortress.  The earth type cannot quite understand why the water type doesn't use the drawbridge, but it is likely that even if the earth individual had the graciousness to lower the bridge, the water type would not use it, at least not initially . . . because we are all stuck where we are . . . that is, until we learn to move through our emotions and into the next level of processing of experience.

We all know already that exposed to the same information, fire would become angry and probably fly off the handle, into a rage or fit or diatribe, but before we dissect the psyche of fire types, let's work with the less dangerous elements, but this time, I want to go in reverse.

Water feels; it feels the pain and suffering and absorbs it like a sponge.  It feels, in this case, for the mothers and children who are innocent victims.  It feels their despair and powerlessness.  It goes right into these feelings and takes on a part of the global pain, but the truth is these feelings are totally useless unless they engender compassion.  Water works through empathy and sympathy to compassion, but even compassion, noble as it is, is not enough to make a difference unless it becomes active.  Magnetic forces do not radiate so water may want to wipe the tears off the faces of those it sees in photographs, but it will not do anything at all about its feelings until the feelings stop crowding the field of consciousness and yield somewhat to the heart-felt desire to relieve suffering.  It takes enormous effort to leave the bog and move the purifying waters where they are needed.

It is very difficult for water to be effective in absentia.  Water is intimate and it needs to be able to draw the object of its attention to itself so when this is impossible, the dilemma remains abstract.

How then would earth view the reaction of water?  As we would expect, it would muster the full force of its judgmental propensities and find water ineffective.  Loosely translated, this means that one needs to address situations practically, usually starting with oneself, but not necessarily because there is such a thing as noble mindedness among all the four temperamental types.

If one wanted to "do something useful", one would, of course, have to do it the way earth would do it.  This would entail organizing strongly to stop the use DU weapons (and war) and finding effective treatments for the victims, including the soil, water, and air.  Earth is conforming so it would try to use existing systems: law, scientific research, humanitarian agencies, and it would be too sensible to expect immediate success.

Air is not just informational, but communicative, so its forte is with the media, internet, and public opinion.  It mobilizes by disseminating information and catalyzing the thinking of responsive individuals until the right of the many to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is restored.

Why then do we need fire at all?  We need fire because at its core, it burns because of righteous indignation, the one emotion that was attributed to Jesus and not deemed to be so grievous a flaw (in the temple where the money changers were desecrating the sanctity of the faith.)

Everyone will try to destroy the fire because they are so wary of its potential for danger.  Water tries to dowse it, earth to smother it, and air to blow it out.  Therefore, every fiery individual has had a multitude of experiences in which its most basic emotion is trampled because others are afraid the fire will move without focus or integrity.

When, however, fire is able to withstand the discouragement of the other elements, it arouses the potential to correct the wrong. Therefore, on the deepest level, fire is the element used to transform an inappropriate situation into a just and fair one. To achieve this, fire needs passion and zeal and courage, character traits tragically lacking in the other three elements; but as I have noted, part of the antipathy towards fire is the many nasty encounters people have had with primitive fire.

The action that is necessary to right a wrong takes effort and while earth may plan carefully and use the system to back its steadfast determination, fire tries to move much faster . . . and with fewer compromises and rationalizations for why justice cannot be immediate.

I will maintain that all fire arouses because a nerve was pinched; therefore, each of us has the potential for a fiery response if we dare to allow the fires to be kindled.  This feels very risky to many people, even to those in their fortresses waiting for whistle blowers to put their necks on the line.

I am certain that every crisis, personal and global, is attended by the full range of emotions.  In other words, all of us are capable of resistance, grief, fury, and fear; but each of us will favor one of these emotions to the temporary exclusion of the others.  This is another important point.  One cannot really feel grief and anger simultaneously.  In one's mind, one can understand how both emotions might be possible, but even if one vacillates between tears and temper, the two emotions cannot be psychologically active at the same moment.  Oh, I suspect we could argue that both emotions exist, but they cannot move into the field of consciousness and usurp the rationality of the thinking individual simultaneously.  We are far too linear for this to occur; but we can, of course, shift and go fairly rapidly from one emotion to another, thereby looking inconsistent and probably also unpredictable to others.

Fire is the only element that is hot, the only one that is brave, and the only one that is willing to take risks so as to create a better future.  Once you understand this, you will perhaps take a second look at fire and have a little more pity when you see people struggling to achieve something that they may or may not succeed in doing, depending on their skill, timing, and ability to focus clearly on the desired intent.

Obviously, fire can be vengeful.  Even the legal system recognizes crimes of passion as somewhat different from premeditated crimes that have the same outcome.  We seem to believe that an ultra high dose of fire makes us temporarily insane enough to do what we would not do if we could suppress our rage long enough to get a grip on our behavior. As a counselor and therapist, I would maintain that the habit of suppressing anger has some very pleasant benefits for those who otherwise would have to experience scenes, but it has devastating consequences on many personal as well as geopolitical levels.

For instance, every time we swallow an injustice, we burn up inside and lose a portion of our self-confidence and even possibly self-respect.  Certainly, we forfeit spontaneity, initiative, and the thrill that goes with total emotional honesty and sincerity, experiences water savors when crying but water's emotions are not usually perceived as dangerous to others so the pressure on water to suppress comes from different social concerns, usually ones that stress the importance of control and yielding to reason. While these are not "feel good" justifications for being untrue to one's inner self, they do not have nearly the same social consequences as habitual suppression of fire, a pattern that makes a society lazy, non progressive, and rudderless in the face of tyranny.

Much, therefore, as we decry outbreaks of unchanneled fire, we long for people with vision, people who can lead instead of pandering to vested interests, and people with the courage to face obstacles and danger.  If we put out fire, we will not find many of these people.

These days, we are wildly distancing ourselves from fire, using an simply enormous array of psychological and psychologically deceptive behaviors that are catastrophic to world balance.  One way to rationalize fire is to split apart issues and play the good guy - bad guy game.  Our politicians are capitalizing on this, demonizing people like Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein while dropping bombs on innocent people who naturally therefore see the American administration as evil and its chiefs as the devil incarnate. 

This behavior is probably intentional, but it is unskillful use of fire and its exploits the Achilles heel of fire:  polarity.

Cunning politicians and clergymen, who are totally unworthy of office much less the cloth, use divisiveness to mobilize unthinking individuals into rageful actions that misdirect fury on other duped individuals who have also been swayed by spurious spins and twists of truth.  History has anointed such brutes with all sorts of titles and laurels, everything from "Caesar" to "The Great". However, we can be nearly certain that none of these individuals was ever canonized; and we wonder if there is a black hole with enough compression to turn these fossils into diamonds.  I call them "fossils" because they are motivated by artifactual energies of a distant and less crucial past; and they are like coal:  hardened, concentrated, and lacking inspiration.

Understandable as these traits are in a politician, they do not make leaders out of predators; and, of course, it is totally inappropriate to purport to have the wisdom and divinity to influence others if one is so divorced from the laws of heaven.  These types have, however, amassed a simply enormous power on earth, even if the doors of heaven seem closed to them.

How then should an intelligent and sincere individual deal with the present situation, including the example given of depleted uranium.

First, it is absolutely essential that the force of fire is directed at the right issues . . . and people.  The victims are not to blame.  They were in the wrong place at a bad time.  They had nothing to do with 9/11 and are as disempowered as the average person in any country with tyrannical people at the helm.  If we succumb to the temptation to project frustration, we would be guilty of the same misdeeds as hot-tempered individuals who blow up simply because they had a bad day and their fuses are short.

I would maintain that on the highest possible level, the pollution we see in the air, that we drink in our water, and that we dump into the soil is just such a projection.  In other words, it is not just conscious animosity towards people who seem to us to be different that rouses fire, it is unskillful projection of negativity in general that is toxic to everyone. 

I have done an immense amount of research on mold and learned, among other things, that fungi become more toxic as they dine on toxicity.  It is their job to decompose what has lost its vitality.  This life comes from spirit, from the Creator, from loving light, from that which is supposed to inspire and thence direct our behavior.  If we cancel the message, we do not just deflect our own source of energy, we short-circuit and contort into less perfect expressions.  Cut off from truth and purpose, we devolve and die.  Mold has to finish the job.  My point is simply that the less we work in alignment with what is holy and healthy and healing, the more we will corrupt and then for fear of looking inside, we will seek something "out there" that somehow seems worse that what we see inside.  It's a cheap trick to exploit this blindness to mobilize furor against an innocent "enemy."

I am writing this today after long gestation and cogitation because I believe we are missing so many lessons on this hard Earth Path.  Countless clients have expressed their frustrations over disempowerment, depression, victimization, and bad leadership.  Power is a very strange tool.  He is never offered to another person; it is only claimed by those who would take it.  Once the habit of taking is firmly rooted, it becomes easier and easier to prevail over those who do not know how to address power.  Again, there are many strategies.  Earth may think it takes countless like-minded individuals to band together to create such a resistance that power cannot succeed in its endeavors.  I am sure many around the world are scheming to bring this administration to an end.  The abuser of power ultimately becomes paranoid because on a deep unconscious level, he knows that others are vying to become king of the hill so given the modus operandi that has worked the best thus far, these people will use power to maintain power.

In Chinese martial arts practices, one would not resist.  One would allow the one misdirecting might to fall into a void. Strategies such as this brought down the British in India and they also succeeded for the leaders of our own civil rights struggles. Basically, shame works to make even the biggest bully look like the most yellow-livered coward.

It is not my intent to arouse anything but your own clarity.  Fire functions best when it is clear.  Clarity opens a window to the future and then decisiveness is natural, not equivocal or hesitant.  The reason fire seems to be so swift is that others cannot perceive the processes leading to the inner resolution.  They see what seems like stillness and then a lion springing into action, but the lion has been waiting, analyzing, and planning before the leap.  Fire is often afraid that if what is being considered were to be known that others would try to talk him out of what he has just divulged.  Usually, fire only feels safe with others who are equally fiery.

It is also important for everyone to understand that fire is not motivated by a love of combat, nor even a love of adventure or risk or glory.  Fire is moved by a sense of what is right and by the enormous welling up inside that forces potential to become actual.  This is a creative process for fire.  It is thrilling and intuitive and ultimately actualizing.  If one does not understand how fire moves from embers to flames, one is missing the key to the fire psyche:  fire is kindled by enthusiasm.

The etymology of the word is "en theos" — to be with God, to be inspired, to be moved, to be propelled into action by divine will.  This is the force necessary to create future as well as what can overcome fear, inertia, and even the normal sense of self preservation.  Everyone is born with the potential to experience this alignment with the source, but we block the flow by a host of apprehensions, all the while deferring the inevitable because life does come from the Creator so only His Will will prevail.

In the meantime, it is my concern that we are so unfamiliar with the "benefits" of fire that we will risk the consequences of toxic projections, none of which are quite palatable.

Knowing that habits are hard to break, my suggestion is to take little steps towards alignment, using fire to propel our way through changes.  For instance, when an idea is expressed, try to stay open, stand in truth, and wait to decide if it is relevant.  If it is, make the necessary accommodation to that truth immediately or as quickly as possible.  This means different things to different people.  For instance, I have been harping on the squanderous use of energy for years, but when I found out my web sites could be hosted on servers using solar or wind power, I decided to change hosting immediately.  This is an alignment.  It takes some effort to make the changes, but it brings my actions into accord with my principles.  I try to do this constantly so that the expression of my fire is appropriate.

For similar reasons, I am non-violent because once I understood that there are victims, I had to accept responsibility for the demands I make, meaning I cannot consume products that have been tested on animals . . . and I cannot condone war because it is just an excuse for a bully to use force to achieve something that should be settled through diplomacy and international efforts to maintain peace.

You see, not everyone with fire rides a white horse and champions damsels whose honor has been wounded.  Some are courageous visionaries whose desire for a better world energizes their actions.


Psychology and Spirituality || Venus-Mars
Acute vs. Chronic Diseases || Monastic Moon || Fire: The Power to Change
Laboratory vs. Clinical Medicine || Weight || Lunar Herbs
Constitutional Type || Soaring Spirit with Tears
Sleeping Woman || Ego Light and Loving Light
|| Medicine Name


Poulsbo, Washington