The four basic elements of earth, air, water & fire each represent energetic characteristics that serve an essential purpose both in nature and the human spirit. In nature, fire provides warmth, heat and energy and brings about new growth through destruction. In humans, the fire element functions much the same – it represents radiance, warmth, passion, action and personal power. It is the element of change and transformation - of power and boldness. It’s associated with yang/masculine energy and when used intentionally can help accelerate personal growth and transformation.
Mindfully incorporating or channeling the elements enhances our connection to both the natural world and to Source and increases their respective characteristics within our daily lives. Fire is useful to ignite passion, creativity, action and intention and is also a powerful ally in destroying old patterns and beliefs that weigh us down. As we enter Spring with new growth and opportunities at the forefront, now is a perfect time to welcome a bit of fire so that we can maximize the “full steam ahead” vibration that’s going on collectively.
How to Work with the Fire Element
Cord Cutting. A simple way to mark fresh starts is to write down everything that’s no longer serving you – from toxic relationships to self-sabotaging habits to outdated beliefs – anything you’re ready to let go of. Then take each scrap of paper and burn it in a fireproof container. For more information on cord cutting, you can watch this video.
Flame Gazing. The ancient practice of flame or candle gazing offers benefits including improved vision, memory, clarity, willpower and decision making, anxiety and stress relief, strengthened intuition and better sleep. If using a candle, make sure it's placed on a fireproof surface and is not surrounded by any items that may be flammable. I like to set my candle on a fireproof tray that’s propped up on a few books so that it’s closer to eye level. Sit in a comfortable position in a darkened room and set a timer for 4-5 minutes to start. Light the candle and gaze into its flame– see how long you can continue without blinking. Allow the sensation of this light to be absorbed into your awareness and into your physical body. When you have to blink, close your eyes – you may still see the flame in your mind’s eye…when this image fades, reopen your eyes and begin again. If you’d like to increase feelings of personal power and action, use a yellow candle, if you’d like to enhance creativity, use an orange candle, if you’d like to work with new growth and beginnings, use a green candle.
Sunlight. Exposure to sunlight increases the brain’s release of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin which helps calm and focus the mind. Studies have also shown that ultraviolet-B radiation can increase production of Vitamin D which helps guard against bone disease, skin conditions such as eczema and certain types of cancer. When sitting in the sun (or just outside in the shade), imagine the healing energies of the sun’s rays filling the cells of your body with their radiant warmth, energy and lightness – then channel this energy into your projects and intentions. If you're sun-adverse, catch a sunrise or sunset or go outside before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. when the rays are less intense - you can still channel its healing power!
Solar Plexus Chakra Healing. The chakras are the main energy centers that align the spine and which are responsible for vitalizing the body and its organs (read more about the chakras in this post). The third chakra - manipura in Sanskrit, means 'lustrous gem’ and is associated with the fire element. Located at the solar plexus, this center is represented by a brilliant yellow and is responsible for our energy levels, vitality and personal power. It rules the pancreas, spleen and liver. When in balance, we experience feelings of inner harmony, playfulness, confidence, spontaneity, self-acceptance and respect. We are responsible, reliable, confident and able to meet challenges. Just like the flames of a candle reaching upwards, this center is also where energetic consciousness starts to shift from survival and physical needs to self-actualization. When deficient, we can experience low energy, slow digestion, chronic fatigue, poor self-esteem or self-discipline and have a “victim mentality.” When overactive, we can become aggressive, controlling, power hungry, arrogant, excessively competitive or ambitious and have an overwhelming need to be right. This chakra governs our right to act and the right to be free and is damaged by shame. This center can also become damaged by growing up in overly controlling household where there was constant fear of punishment. When our right to act is restricted, will and spontaneity go with it and our vitality decreases. Getting healthy amounts of sunshine, vigorous exercise, goal-setting, martial arts, keeping cheerful, yellow flowers such as honeysuckle and sunflowers in your space, wearing yellow and eating yellow foods can all help contribute to healing this chakra.
Breathwork. Breathwork is a powerful way to bring about major transformation in both the psyche and physical body. Kapalabhati breath is associated with the fire element – literally meaning ‘skull-shining,' and has been used for centuries to stimulate a sluggish system by releasing toxins, energizing the body and mind, oxygenating the body, purifying the blood and improving digestion. For information on how to perform this breath, check out this article.
Sweat. Detoxifying the body through sweat is one of the oldest and most effective ways to break up energetic patterns to make room for new ones. Try a steam room or sauna or heated yoga class to help stimulate the release of toxins that may be weighing you down!
Oils & Crystals. Crystals and oils both vibrate at a much higher frequency than the human body and by using them, we can bring our body into homeostatis much more quickly than we can on our own. Lemon promotes focus, chamomile enhances sense of purpose, citrus brings feelings of cheerfulness and abundance, lemongrass fights feelings of lethargy, rosemary boosts cognitive response and peppermint stimulates motivation. Yellow crystals such as tiger’s eye, pyrite, bumblebee jasper, golden quartz and citrine will help eliminate doubt and fear and restore a feeling of focus, confidence, abundance, manifestation, motivation and clarity. Fire agate, fire quartz, sunstone and honey calcite are also excellent choices. Note: If you're feeling too fired up or are experiencing any of the associated overactive tendencies, use rose quartz or aquamarine crystals and rose and lime oils to cool.
What's your favorite way to work with the fire element? What goal or vision will you be focusing this powerful yang energy into?
Happy Summer Solstice! The longest & brightest day of the year has been observed across all societies and cultures from Egyptian to English to Aztec as a a celebration of light, joy and illumination.
With so much darkness and heaviness in the world lately, now seems like a perfect time to Lighten Up!
Working with the moon phases is an accessible way to deepen our connection both to nature and to ourselves. I find that honoring these rhythms of nature can make it easier to identify, recognize and honor our own natural ebbs and flows.
During the new moon cycle, the sun and moon align with each other, merging yang energy - the heating, masculine, assertive energy of the sun, with yin energy - the cooling, feminine, receptive energy of the moon. The balancing of these two polar opposite energies in the dark sky creates a powerful invitation to both let go and start new - it's the perfect canvas for a fresh start.