Elemental Fire

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Fire is the essence of change. This year we are thinking about fire, and how we need it, and our relationship to it. ‘Coincidentally’ the world is on fire this year: The Amazon, Africa, Indonesia, Alaska…. We ask ourselves what it means (other than poor stewardship and climate change)? Why these changes now?

When there were only a few million people on the earth, people used the technique “Slash and burn” to clear land, because the land restores itself after a fire. The fire cleared away some (older, less vital, we hope) parts of the environment to make room for new growth- or in the case of this technique, for whatever the humans planted. This worked on the small scale for millennia. But, tossing our waste into rivers or burying it was a viable technique in a low-population world too. We have had to learn that change in population density changes what we can do, we can no longer continue to do many of the things our ancestors did.
On a smaller scale, herbalists and other wildcrafters know not to take more than a small part of any herbs or seeds they find, because if a series of people each take even a third, it wouldn’t be long until there wasn’t enough left to replace the original stand. Hunters and Gatherers only took what was replaceable in their environment.

As we make changes in the world we need to consider more than how it affects us personally. The rain we don’t want on our picnic, may be just what the local plants need to grow, and it’s hard to know what’s needed beyond our vision and experience, (one of the reasons why weather-working has always been considered risky).

Fire, out of control, is dangerous. (The same can be said for Water, Air, and Earth.) Lack of fire can also be dangerous. The more a culture needs fire to survive, the more sacred it is considered. It is respected for it’s risks and its benefits, and for what it can teach us.

Thinking back to basic science, when a piece of wood burns it releases the energy that was stored within it. When we burn wood (or coal or gas) we get the stored heat and light, which we can use. Stored energy is valuable, but we need to consider the size of the source from which we are drawing. The benefit of Reiki is that it draws on the energy of the universe, as opposed to doing the same healing work by drawing on an individual’s own energy. Healing from our personal energy risks depleting- possibly dangerously. Releasing the energy of a piece of wood releases the heat and light the plant got from the sun for our use; but the wood turns to ash. No one suggests we should huddle in the cold and dark when there is fuel available to warm and enlighten our lives. We need fire (in whatever form) for life, to change the world, to make it better. We must never forget that while we didn’t put the energy in there ourselves, it still came from somewhere, so we should become aware of how it cycles through. Fire changes us and the world around us. Our role is to direct the change in a positive way.

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