Keep in mind, that nobody is 100% any temperament. We all have aspects of all four in us, but we’ll tend more towards some than others. That doesn’t mean they’re solely like this, and depending on what the secondary temperament is, these traits will change. Paired with air, for example, choler becomes much more flexible, more easy going. Paired with earth, choler becomes harder, more set in stone. We’ll get into the combinations in a couple of weeks, but I wanted to put the reminder here because it’s easy to forget that this stuff, like everything, is not a set-in-stone science. We’re all different, have different combinations of things, different life experiences that bring them out, different socialisation patterns that make our behaviours different. It’s all in the nuance…
Fire as an element:
A flash in the pan, a slow-burn, the thick slow crawl of lava as it crawls down a hillside. A meteor, a lightning strike, a raging churning forest fire. Fire as an element is ferocious in its display. Place matter in front of it and it’ll burn through it on principle, because it can, because that’s what it does, the very purpose of its existence is to consume. But what comes after that consumption? Volcanic ash is fertile ground, the scorched earth rich with ash and minerals. Forest fires leave room for plants to sprout; some plants can only sprout after the seeds have been burned.
Let it get out of control, however, and it is all-consuming its ferocity: a supernova, blasting through forests without a back-thought, blasting through homes and collected memories with the flick of a wrist. And let’s not forget about man-made fire: an abomination, really, in its ability to decimate, melt structures, leave a crater in the earth and our collective history. Our world’s collective shell-shock for the atrocities we can commit with fire rattles through us and serves as a warning: never again. Fire out of control is a horror because it doesn’t just destroy, it decimates. It melts skin from bone and building from foundation and is the alchemical force that renders substances unrecognisable from their original form: something we want in small quantities but on a massive scale is abhorrent.
Transmutation: it’s the fire in alchemy that turns lead into gold; it is the holy fire that purifies, and it is fire that transforms: dough into bread, house into home, lead into gold, lump of rock into liveable planet, affection into passion. A fire in the hearth heats water, bakes bread, warms a house, is the light around which we gather at the dead of winter. It is fire at the center of the earth and fire at the center of our solar system. Without it, life as we know it would not exist. It is that burning passion that drives all life forwards, the fire of will; the fire in the drumbeat of the heart, rapping out the rhythm of life with each ferocious beat. Continue reading