The Fire Element
The Fire Type
Fire corresponds with Summer, which is a time for socialising and forming relationships. This is governed by the Heart and can generate joy and sadness.
The nature of Fire is expansive, light and warm. It can guide us and protect us or burn and consume. Fire is also ephemeral and intangible we can’t touch or hold it, one minute it is there and the next it may be gone. Fire can not exist in isolation, it requires fuel to be. It has often been associated with the heavens as its nature is to take tangible objects and turn them into dust, somehow transmuting earthly things into flames that lick the sky.
This ever-changing and fickle force reflects the Fire type personality. These folk tend to share the other worldly quality of Fire and are very receptive to the energies of others. Many Fires are highly intuitive and may even have physic abilities. However, they are also prone to fire’s variability. Emotionally they can go from highs to lows very quickly, often due to external forces, such as a comment that offends, worries or confuses them. This is because they are often very emotionally open which can leave them over exposed.
In Chinese Medicine Fire is at its strongest during summer. The time of ultimate Yang. This makes sense as Summer is also the hottest and lightest time of year, when the world gets the most exposure to our cosmic ball of fire. The emotion of Fire is joy and lack of joy or sadness and the organs of Fire are the Heart, the Small Intestine, the Pericardium and the Triple Burner.
Thinking of summer also offers insights into the Fire personality. Summer is a time of colour and flowering. Flowers are joyful and appealing, but they are also delicate and vulnerable. Similarly, Fire types may have these qualities. They tend to be very trusting which makes them appear innocent or even naïve. This may be abused by some, but these qualities come from the fact that Fire types are ruled by their Hearts. They ‘feel’ truth and purity within themselves, and they can be very strongly attached to their convictions. Indeed, if their life experiences lead them to lose faith in these ideals they can fall into the very pits of despair.
Flowers also serve a purpose in nature – they are there to attract attention in order for the plant to produce seeds. Again this is also reflected in the Fire type personality which often place great emphasis on the romantic ideal of finding a ‘soul mate’. When they fall in love they fall hard and completely, but this can become overpowering. Fire type’s deepest darkest secret is that they fear they may not be lovable. This is often the reasons they search so hard for ‘that one person’ who will love them so completely that they can prove this fear wrong once and for all. However, this insatiable desire to be loved, can become excessively needy, leading to all sorts of difficulties with intimate relationships.
It is very important that through life, Fires learn to take the opinions of others less to heart. Otherwise, they can become self-destructive. If they become imbalanced their sensitivity to the energies of others, begins to pick up negativity around them and claim responsibility for it, even though it probably has nothing whatsoever to do with them. This can lead to a downward spiral of self-criticism and doubt. They need to accept that just as they will not love everybody they meet, not everyone will love them.
Although with Fire types, romantic relationships are paramount, friendships are very important too. They are naturally, gregarious and affable and can be quite selfless in their desire to help their friends. However, much like physical fire, Fire types often require the ‘fuel’ of companionship to feel complete and can become very low when they find themselves isolated. Conversely, if they become very internally unbalanced Fire types can find it almost unbearable to be around other people, particularly anyone they do not know very well.
The emotional aspect of the Small Intestine’s role, mirrors its role in digestion – it is charge with the job of sorting pure from impure. The Heart in Chinese medicine is considered to be the Emperor. The supreme controller within, who upholds the highest values in us and whose greatest wish is for purity, truth and love. Within all of us this often results in a deep desire to be a ‘good’ person.
This is the level at which the small intestine works, it must decipher pure from impure, right from wrong, truth from untruths and friends from foe. For Fires, these distinctions can become muddles and confused and decision-making can be impaired.
The Pericardium is a sheath of muscle that protects the heart. It plays the same role in an emotional sense too. When it is functioning well it will filter information that makes it to the Emperor, providing the information that is necessary but protecting it from being hurt or overburdened.
However, with Fire types the Pericardium often struggles with this role. Either it is too open, which leads to vulnerability or over-sensitivity, or it can become too closed leading to the Heart becoming sad and isolated. Another consequence of this malfunctioning of the Pericardium is that Fires can sometimes find it very difficult to judge how to behave appropriately in any given situation. They can give too much away and talk to complete strangers as if they were part of the family or find it impossible to express themselves candidly to their spouse. It’s almost as though the more value the Heart places on the communication, the more tongue tide it becomes.
The Triple Burner, which is an organ which is unique to Chinese Medicine acts somewhat like a thermostat, helping to regulate both our physical and emotional temperature. If this goes out of wack, which it often does for Fire, they can tend to become very ‘hot’. This is most likely if the person does not take care to get plenty of sleep. Sleep and rest allow the body to recoup cooling Yin energy and to keep our hot Yang in check. Of all the Elements, sleep is most important for Fire as they are by nature ‘hot’ already. Without adequate sleep Fire tend to become Yin deficient which leads to excessive nervous energy, sleep disturbances and palpitations. As Yin deficiency impairs sleep this situation is self-perpetuating and can eventually lead to Fires becoming ‘manic’ and eventually beginning to feel totally out of control.
The most important thing Fire types need to learn is something that is important to all of us. They need to understand themselves. To do this they must learn to use their acute sensitivity to keep themselves on an even keel – to avoid the emotional highs and lows that can accompany them through life. If they can master this art, and realise when they need to slow down and rest they can be an intuitive, insightful and candid asset to the world and all who know them. For Fires the organs that should protect the heart my not function optimally, leaving them vulnerable and exposed. This can obviously cause problems, but it is a blessing as well as a curse. In Fires the unprotected heart is easier to hear and every precious soul that choose to listen to their hearts provides insight and inspiration to everyone they meet.