The Element of Fire: Exploring The Life-Giving Energy Inside Us All

In honor of Jupiter moving into the fire sign of Aries, this week we're celebrating fire on the blog. This is the first of four posts to help you learn about the fire inside of you.

Earth, air, water, fire: the four elements from which everything was and is derived. When we think about earth, we think about our material bodies, literally, our flesh. Water, we think about our emotional bodies, about our wisdom and especially our wisdom over time (as water likes to hold onto things). With air, we think about our mental body––our thoughts and how we communicate. And with fire, we think of our spiritual energy––the cosmic flame, the spark of life. This article provides an overview of fire from an elemental perspective, drawing specifically traditions of cosmic magic.

Fire is a different kind of element than the other three, because it is the only element that doesn't take its own physical form. Fire doesn't exist on its own. Fire only exists when it is consuming something. That's an essential trait we need to be mindful of as we talk about how fire exists within us, how it gets depleted, and how we fuel it. But those topics are for future posts coming later this week. For now, let's just be clear that, by its nature, fire transforms whatever it touches. It must. Fire can't help but transform whatever it touches given that it cannot exist without actively consuming. Again, this seems like a small point, but as we talk about fire, about living with it and nurturing it, this is a critical point.

Fire gets a bad rap––both in the world (think wild fire) and in people, especially women ("she's too loud/brazen/rude/direct/obnoxious/etc"). But fire is obnoxious; it doesn't ask permission. It is meant to be disruptive...and in many ways, destructive. Because growth comes on the other side of devastation. The element of fire compels us towards a higher spiritual plane, towards our spiritual evolution. That journey isn't ever going to come without some scars.

Some keywords associated with the element of fire (and how you can recognize it in yourself and others) include: energy, drive, will, creativity, intuition, power, sexuality, change, purification, passion, power, desire. Fire is hot, dry, and of a masculine nature. It rules our metabolism. When my thyroid gland was overactive, I was dropping weight so fast because my metabolism was revved so high. Had I known then about working with and balancing the elements, that component of my health journey might have looked different. I had too much fire. The imbalance was so severe the fire was consuming was my physical body. Likewise, the metabolism often slows when fire is depleted––either by external forces or due to a lack of actual fuel (think under-eating, for instance).

In reviewing the keywords listed above, you can easily see how essential fire is to our lives. Fire is the spark of life. Death is marked by the moment the fire inside you is no longer consuming anything. Your heart stops beating. Fire is movement and action. Your blood ceases to pump; the internal spark no longer consumes the physical body. What many of us don't realize (I certainly didn't until I started studying astrology and elemental magic), is that our spark can be dimmed while we're still alive on this material plane. It turns out, fire consumes on a spectrum. There's death (the point at which there is nothing left to consume) on one end and then there's overdrive on the other end. The problem with fire, however, is that both too much and too little lead to the same consequence––nothing left to consume. So fire is a (surprisingly) fragile element, and balancing it is a conscious process.

I think it might surprise people to hear me talk about the fragility of fire. We think of the raging forest fire or the roaring camp fire. But remember, fire isn't a thing on its own. It's dependent on fuel, and the right kind of fuel at the right time. In our bodies, that might look like someone who is dealing with depression (depressed energy). In the case of depression, the spark of life is dimmed; it's low on fuel. Likewise, it might look like anxiety, maybe someone who can't sit still. In that case, there's too much fuel, it's not being burned up fast enough. The first group needs more fire, and the second group needs to expel some fire. From a cosmic magic perspective, this is the reason exercise is such a potent remedy for both anxiety and depression. Exercise both stokes the internal fire and burns up excess internal fire.

It could come as a surprise to hear that fire is the element we are most sensitive to. You might think that would be water, our emotions. But in the absence of enough fire or the presence of too much fire, our emotions can take on entirely different vibes. And our ability to manage our emotions is directly affected by how well we've balanced our fire. In the days to come, I'm going to write an article about how you can assess the (im)balance of your own fire. One article will look at some ways our fire gets dimmed (and how to recognize depressed fire in yourself), and one will look at how we can nourish or fuel our internal spark. Both will stress balance, understanding that balance is not something achieved but always only ever moved towards. Maybe the very act of balancing is fire fuel itself.

Here's a listing of the articles to come this week:

  1. Tuesday, 5/10: All about Jupiter moving into Aries

  2. Wednesday, 5/11: Some causes of depleted fire and how to recognize the symptoms in you

  3. Thursday, 5/12: Some actionable ways to nourish the fire inside you (that will actually help you feel better over time)

I also have a bonus post coming later tomorrow that provides some astrology 101 basics for those of you looking to fast-track your learning curve. But to be clear, in this post and the ones coming this week, I'm talking about elemental fire. You don't need to know anything about astrology to utilize that information, but some astrological knowledge will be helpful for the Jupiter in Aries post.