Elemental Balancing Ritual Fire Month 12

9-18-12 As this last month with Fire begins, I find myself feeling a little flat in comparison to other years. This is actually reassuring because it means that the internal work and balancing work I am doing is working. And maybe its just fire fading into embers, which would be appropriate enough. I see a year of tempering passion and raising creativity, while coming to grip with the shadows of fire. It feels good to end this elemental balancing work on a note of quiet, much like the crackle of flames that warm you in the night.

9-20-12 Something I've always recognized about my inner motivation is that part of what motivates me is proving other people wrong, specifically in regards to their perspectives about me or what I can or can't do. Undoubtedly this arose as a result of so many people trying to tell me what I couldn't do. When I was told I couldn't do something, it made me do it and do it in a way where I made it very apparent I'd done it and they were wrong. Even with all the internal work I've done I found that this is still an intrinsic motivation and I realize that I like having it as a motivation. It might seem petty, but the truth is showing someone they were wrong about me is empowering, because in the process they learn its better to let me do as I please, instead of trying to get in my way any further. I suppose it's a shadow aspect of fire in a way, but the point isn't to extinguish the shadows, but to learn how to work with them constructively, and this very intrinsic motivation has pushed me to do some awesome things, so I can't say its bad to draw on it or use it to focus my efforts.

9-26-12 I'm reading Love and Awakening by John Welwood with my wife. We read books together and then discuss them, and I've read this book once before, a few years back, but I was the only one who read it, and although I understood some of the concepts then, I find that this current re-reading is allowing me to engage and apply the concepts much more meaningfully as tools that can help my relationship with my wife, especially with how we communicate and work through any issues that arise between us. We've become very proactive and aware of our respective issues and we are able to hold space with each other and create a sense of safety, where even if we feel vulnerable, we know we can be safely vulnerable. Of course this has occurred as a result of reading a number of books on relationships and then discussing and applying what we've read to our own relationship.

At the same time, I was filled with an intense sadness the other day as I felt a sense of empathy toward people I'd been with in the past and thought about how they must have felt dealing with my issues and also with perhaps feeling unsafe with me. This doesn't absolve them of their responsibility, but recognizing how I contributed to the dysfunction on a wholly new level, one where I was putting myself into their perspective makes me sad and helps me realize why things didn't work out. It takes a lot to communicate how vulnerable you feel to someone else and if you don't feel that you can safely do that, the only alternatives are to shut down or leave the relationship. I'm sad that I helped create an environment where someone wouldn't feel safe, because how I was communicating or not communicating was causing them to feel not listened to or respected. My lesson is to take that sadness and use it as a tool to help me understand how to be a better listener, a better person at holding space so that everyone is listened to, respected, and a mutual solution is arrived at.

10-04-12 A while back I started adding push-ups to my daily exercise/meditation. I've noticed lately a distinct difference in how I feel. I feel more in shape, I feel better, and I'm liking how I look as a result. I've always included some level of physical exercise in my spiritual work as I feel my body is a temple and I want it to be in the best shape possible, but how I feel now reminds me that I really do need to keep that exercise at a certain level to fully benefit from it. It feels good to feel this in shape and I want to keep it that way.

I've been doing some further thinking about this year's work. I think for a long time I used fire (as a symbolic force) in my life to justify some of my behaviors and now I can't do that anymore, because I recognize that fire has little to do with it. It occurs to me that in general people do find ways to try and evade responsibility to one degree or another. Such an evasion is unhealthy for everyone involved and yet it's an easy way to avoid feeling vulnerable. Indeed the flipside of taking responsibility is allowing yourself to be vulnerable in that process of taking responsibility. At the same time, going overboard and beating yourself up is really a way to attack your be truly vulnerable with someone and responsible involves sharing without blaming, acknowledging without judgment. Hard work, but worth doing.

10-08-12 Being vulnerable with someone who is supportive is truly a gift. It's something I've only been able to do in the relationship I'm in now, and it still surprises me. Something that the element of fire has taught me is that to truly feel the fire of love, you have to open up to someone and let them in. If you are always guarded, there will always be some part waiting for when things don't work out. But if you truly commit yourself to a person there is a realization that you are giving yourself over and not planning for when things don't work out. I feel that this year has taught me that.

10-10-12 I'm reading through old journal entries on this blog as I'm compiling them for a book project. when I read the emptiness workings in particular, I see some real progress. I'm not that miserable, empty person that I was then. I'm not feeling the abuse or sensation of being eaten up or anything else I felt back then. It's taken a lot of work, but I am much more at peace with myself than I was three years ago.

10-19-12 The neuro-biology of a human being is something that is responsible for so much of the behavior of people. I'm reading a book on the biology behind sex and how different types of sex affect the behavior of a given person. It's really eye-opening and it helps me understand certain relationship and lifestyle choices that I've made from a different perspective. At the same time, knowing how your biology works can help you anticipate it, and plan accordingly. This is something Kat and I are exploring very intentionally in our relationship and I can already see the benefits.

10-21-12 I chose my birthday celebration as my way to send off Fire. Kat through me a murder mystery party, with friends from the Magical Experiments group showing up. I remarked to one of them, who I also see in business meetings, how I must present a very different appearance during the magical experiments meeting. She admitted that there was quite a difference. For the actual party I invoked dragon by wearing a dragon ring I have and allowing him to partake in the festivities. To me, fire is a social element, as much as anything and I wanted to show my appreciation for this year's work.

Looking back on this year, I realize that my initial concern about fire being a fiery element that would amplify my emotions was based on a fear I had when I was younger. But working with fire has been illuminating (you know I couldn't resist). I have worked with the shadow side of fire, with my passion, desire, and anger, and I have also worked with fire as a purely physical force, and as a force that can represent love and friendship. I feel I have been tempered this year, and made ready fr the next year which is movement.

Elemental Fire Balancing Ritual Month 11

8-22-12 It amazes me how people duck out of being responsible for their actions. I say this statement with an awareness that I have sometimes been one of those people. The level of honesty it takes to be truly responsible for your actions and their consequences is high and can be hard to live with. It is much easier to blame others or to paint your actions in a lesser light, without really acknowledging how you contributed to the situation. I think it is rarely, if at all, ever one person's responsibility for a given situation. Yet it is far easier to paint a person in that light instead of taking your part of the responsibility for the situation or problem that has occurred. The best way to work through this issue is to do internal work and really examine your actions and understand what motivated and then be honest about it with yourself and anyone else affected by the situation. This doesn't mean you beat yourself up, but rather that you can acknowledge your level of responsibility and then discuss what happened with an eye toward resolving it.

8-23-12 If you don't like the direction your life is going in or the people you spend time with, or the situations you put yourself in, then it is your responsibility to change that direction, change who you spend time with, and/or change the situations you find yourself in. You have control over your choices, and if you claim you don't, you are choosing to be a victim.

9-5-12 I think of myself sometimes as a chameleon or changeling. I change to fit the circumstances or fit the person to some degree. It could be that this true of all people, but I'm not sure if it really is true. I know it is for me in the sense that what I am into or interested in is shaped to some degree by the person I am with. In one sense it creates a plastic kind of identity, something that is molded. Certainly I see this occurring in the changes in my lifestyle and choices based on my current circumstances and it causes me to feel some degree of wonder at the adaptability a person can have if s/he chooses to.

9-7-12 Attitude is the internal fire of a person. If the attitude is negative, the fire burns low, becoming embers that could be snuffed out any moment. If it is positive it can blaze you'd never believe, shining so bright, a light to draw the eyes and attention of others.

9-9-12 Sometimes being involved with someone and dealing with their issues doesn't mean that you need to learn some cosmic issue or see it as a message from the universe trying to teach you something. Sometimes a person is just not a good fit for you and vice versa and sticking with the relationship is a mistake that causes more pain for all involved. I figure when you are with the right person/people, you'll know because even when there is effort involved, it will be something all are fully committed to working through, because they'll know the resulting harmony is worth it.

9-17-12 I've just gotten back from my annual trip up to the Esoteric Book convention. There's a lot to write, so bear with me...I stayed at this place in Milton, called Camp Edgewood, a Spiritualist camp sight, and there was definitely a distinct energy, a kind of cocoon about the place which was helpful to me.

The book convention itself, was as always an amazing event. I got to meet Greg Kaminsky in person (the occult of Personality podcaster) as well as Clint Marsh, and several other people, as well as see familiar faces. I also ended up adding a few books to my collection, including two books on alchemy, a neurotransmitter book, one on hermetics, and one that was actually gifted to me called Divine Healing Hands. Its particularly notable for two reasons. One it was a reminder by my spiritual allies to continue working with the Taoist, Tantric, and Tibetan skills I'm learning (This is important in context to another event that occurred this weekend) and secondly it's notable because the person who gave it to me clearly recognized that I was doing Taoist internal work and mentioned that it might be helpful and that he expected nothing in return. I was deeply honored as its not every day someone gives me a book, so it's on the reading pile as well (along with so many more).

Saturday night, I finally got to meet R. J. Stewart in person, as well as Anastacia Nutt. They both know my wife, as she does spiritual work with them, and as readers of my blog know, I've been reading R. J.'s books and writing my own observations, so I was greatly looking forward to meeting him. We had dinner with them and it was interesting. I felt this instant exchange of energy, a kind of spiritual transmission between the four of us, as well as a rapport that I normally don't feel with most people (and even when I do feel it, it takes a while to establish). Perhaps it helped that we had a lineage of sorts in common, i.e. his work with William Gray and my work with Gray's material, but I felt it was more than that. We talked magic, publishing, current events etc., and throughout I felt a strong sense of connection and community. R.J. gave us his latest book, which is about Ronald Heaver. I'd planned to give him a copy of Magical Identity, but we'd forgotten it when we left the conference on Saturday so they told us to drop it off on Sunday.

After we packed up at the conference, we headed over to drop the book off. We thought it'd be a quick knock on the door and then drop the book off, but when we got there, we were invited in. I gave them the book and we chatted a bit. My wife asked if she could visit the sanctuary and they said sure, and then asked me if I'd like to. I said yes. Later my wife told me that they don't let people outside their magical order into the sanctuary and that their invitation to do so was deeply significant. I agreed. I went into the sanctuary. Silent, still meditation. I did Taoist water breathing, and let myself feel the energy. Very clean, pure energy, A permanent sphere of art. I felt my spiritual allies connect with me and tell me that I needed to work with R.J. and Anastacia directly. I walked out and told them that I wanted to learn directly from them.

Now I want to pause my narrative and point out I've only ever had two mentors for my magical practice and both disappointed me. I learned early on that I was better off teaching myself and going my way instead of letting someone try and dictate how I should practice magic. For me to want to learn from someone directly, to really learn from them and work with them is very rare. It's a level of trust I rarely give out. But my spiritual guides and really my connection with them, and the sense of a magical lineage...lets just say it's the counter point to my Eastern studies, the continuation of my western studies with people I know will provide some interesting direction and challenge for me. Plus I feel that R. J. and Anastacia has an open approach to magic, open enough for me and that's what matters, so basically I asked them to be my mentors, and I plan to go to their workshops and learn from them. And again I felt a spiritual transmission occurring on Sunday, a sharing of energy, a connection that went really deep. My wife was surprised, both by my desire to learn from them (and consequently engage in the same spiritual work she's involved in) and in the fact they'd invited me to the sanctuary and really invited me into their lives. To be honest, I was surprised to and honored as well, but there is something there. My spiritual allies wouldn't have spoken up if there wasn't. More than that, he's the one person I can actually meet in the flesh who worked with Gray face to face, and in that sense the opportunity also allows me to continue work in that vein. I have no idea where this will take me, but I am excited and I feel changed. As we drove my wife said my energy felt softer, like something hard in me had cracked...and I agree with that. For me to really ask someone to teach me, to work with me as a mentor...that's unprecedented. I feel touched on a deep level. I am glad I am taking step, not only as a way to better know my wife and what and who she values, but also for my own spiritual and magical evolution.

Month 10 Fire Elemental Balancing Ritual

8-11-12 I haven't written in this post for half a month, not because things weren't happening but because life has been so busy. Part of it's been the catch up on work after you are done with a vacation and part of it has also been coming to the final part of a writing project I've been working on and thus focusing more on it than anything else. Whenever I get close to finishing a writing project it becomes the center of my reality. So let's see...

I've just started reading another book on relationships with my wife. It's one I'd read before, but at that time I was the only one to read it. Reading it with someone else adds a dimension to the experience because of the discussions K and I are having about the book and what the author's take on relationships means to both of us. I think that with this relationship I am discovering what love can really be, not just in terms of loving another but also myself. I can honestly say that I never felt as content or happy in my life as I've felt the last couple of years. We've had our bumps along the way, but we've been able to work through them with a level of openness and honesty that I was unable to give or receive previously.

The fire work has been interesting more in terms of the direction its pointing me to: Eros aka movement. I'll get into that more at some point, but right now its in an exploratory stage. Fire in and of itself has really been about (this month and every month) coming to peace with my passions and desires and recognizing how much they've been driven by a feeling of emptiness and restlessness, which in doing this work and the relationship work has actually become much less prevalent. I still feel restless occasionally, but I am able to identify it and work with it in a way that had eluded me in the past.

8-12-12 When I think about my place in the Pagan-Occult community, I tend to think of myself as someone on the outskirts of said community. I feel that way in just about any community, and I recognize that a lot of it is my own choice, but it also born as much from a disassociation with people in general. At times I feel like I'm an observer who is studying everything around me. What offerings I bring are genuine, but they come from the outside, offering with the unusual perspective that can only come when you choose to go away from the norm and tried and true to discover whatever else is out there.

Even as a writer and publisher I'm on the outside. I've chosen to publish my books with a small publisher that does print on demand books. While my books are carried in independent stores, you'll likely never see them on the walls of a Barnes and Noble or Powells books simply because retailers don't like it when they can't return books that don't sell.  I could probably get published by Llewellyn or another publisher at this point, but I doubt I'd have the level of control over the text or cover art that I have and generally what I've seen from the majority of publishers doesn't inspire a level of confidence in me that the work will be respected in the way it needs to be.

And that's the benefit of being on the outside...very few people care if you fit in if you already don't fit in. And not fitting in allows you some liberties you might not discover otherwise. And sometimes you even discover, as I have, that there are more people into your work then you thought there were and more people who appreciate the perspective because they see the value it brings.

8-15-12 There are days when I wake up and do not like the person I see in the mirror. Fortunately they are few and far between, but on those days I am reminded of my burdens, of my remorse, of the mistakes I've made. There are some things you never forget because you know you need to remember them as a reminder of who you don't want to be. And then too there's that feeling of wanting to find something to distract you from what you are feeling, which is absolutely the worst choice to make. You may not like what you feel, but being present with it, working through it is far better then trying to distract yourself. That's something I've had to learn the hard way, and its still something I'm learning. I'm better at this realization than I was a few years ago, but its still a struggle on a day like today. The urge to run away or lose myself or whatever else because I don't want to feel what I'm feeling is sharp, yet instead of doing all that, I chose to feel it, chose to feel my unhappiness with myself, chose to feel the pain I am feeling. I chose to be present and move in that presence through meditation and mediation of what I'm feeling. I don't know that this makes me a better person so much as it makes me someone who is choosing to be aware of his moments of weakness and vulnerability.

And there is also this other current that has recently come to my attention around movement via Eros. I need to do some movement rituals for areas of my life that I feel stuck in right now. Change happens through movement, but intentional movement is better then just any movement. The point isn't to run away. The point is to move toward a solution.

8-17-12 When you live with fear each day you must learn to face it, or otherwise let it control you. Whether its fear of change, the unknown or something else, you either learn to master it, or it masters you. When it masters you, it stops you from acting, and when you master it, you use it to motivate your actions.

8-21-12 As one cycle begins to wind down another cycle begins to wind up. Still its important to focus on the moment at hand, and appreciate what is happening now. Too many people are focused on getting to the next moment, and thus they miss out on what is happening around them right now. I used to be that way, myself, and now find myself savoring each moment I have far more than I used to. My tomorrows are not infinite and what I have to experience is what is present right now. Maintaining presence is being in the present as it presents itself to you and through you.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Fire Month 9

6-28-12 The last weekend has been a whirlwind of activity with a dear friend ending up in the hospital and us possibly losing a cat, because he managed to get outside and and panicked. Yet through all of that I've been thinking about my tendency to be a hot head at times or maybe its better to word it as impulsive. I've tempered it some over the years, but there's no denying that there is still and likely always will be some degree of impulsiveness in my choices and temperament. I don't think this is really any different from any other person, but I think being more consciously aware of it allows me to see how such impulsiveness really sabotages my own interests and efforts. It's something that doesn't sit well with me, because I know that letting the moment define my actions is the exact opposite of what I want to do. I want to define the moment and doing that, in part, really involves reining that impulsiveness in. 6-30-12 The cat is back. I actually did an experiment where I invoked myself into him. I've done invocations into people before, but doing it into an animal is different. I directed him home and even showed him where to show up, outside our bedroom window. Late last night there he was calling for us to get him back in doors.

7-8-12 A couple of thoughts have been on my mind. The first has been on the impulsiveness. I don't know if impulsiveness is associated with fire, but if it isn't for most people, for the purposes of this moment, it is for me. When I look at impulsiveness in my life, I don't just see it in regards to my temper, but in regards to a lot of other decisions. My relationship history springs to mind...moving 2/3rds of the way across the states comes to mind. Other things come to mind. And I don't think impulsiveness is necessarily bad. It's gotten me into some bad situations, but also gotten me into some good ones. But I don't like hindsight telling me what I might've realized if I'd just put some distance between myself and some of the choices I've made. Looking back tells me a lot though, enough to temper that impulsiveness and to recognize it for what it is, in present situations.

The other thought is on being valued and it came up in relationship to impulsiveness specifically because in thinking about choices I'd made, one realization I gradually had was that the people in my life, the important people, family, lovers, friends...defining their importance involved realizing something significant. If someone is important to me, its because that person has chosen to make me just as important. If I'm not a priority in a person's life or a low priority then chances are I'll move's better than being low person on the totem pool consistently. Impulsiveness doesn't lend itself to that realization, but stick around long enough or just pay close attention and you'll realize if you're important or not important. What a person says and how the person acts will speak loudly to where you fit in that person's life. I say that with awareness that I've been the person on all sides of the equation when it comes to priority and value, which is a reason I'm more selective about people. If I'm going to let you in, then I've chosen to make you important, and if you let me in, you've done the same.

7-16-12 I'm in Canada right now, visiting in-laws and soaking in the area. I've also been reading more of Draja Mickaharic's works. It fascinates me to read books that draw on a more traditional approach to magic, right down to the use of specific herbs and other components. I don't doubt it works either, having done the occasional component laden spell back in the day. It's just not something I've felt to be necessary, whereas in his writing, its clear he does. It makes me wonder how much the tool defines the practice, versus the magician.

In other news I've been thinking about this year long work with fire and how so much of it has been defined by the attributes associated with fire, as opposed to dealing directly with fire in and of itself. I think with work like this what you end up dealing with are two factors. One factor is the cultural associations with a given element, and the second factor is your own issues with the element. In my case, I've definitely encountered both factors in this work and at the same time realized that there is so much more to be worked with, when it comes to a given element. That's why some of my work also focuses on fire as a physical force, especially observing it in action. There's a lot you can learn from observing a physical elemental force at work that can help you move beyond the cultural and personal filters that may come up. In my case observing fire as it cooks a meal or as it destroys a piece of paper makes quite an impression in terms of the physical force of fire. It doesn't so much destroy as it changes, though the change might be inimical to life. In anycase, its a recognition that there's so much than what is usually focused on. Its easy to focus on associations and attributions, but what about looking at the physical changes?

7-19-12 Had a nightmare last night. I was attending a college for a degree and was living with three other people. The college I attended didn't have a neopagan college group or many other people who practiced magic. The roommates were upset I practiced and I was dragged up before the school board to discuss the matter. It gets resolved because another person volunteers to let me live in his room. He doesn't care about what I believe as I long as I respect his life style choices. A resolution of sorts, but it's also a reminder of all the times I've had to deal with people who have decided to stick their noses into my life and try and dictate what I should believe or practice. Such people may claim they are trying to "save" me or something else along those lines, but in reality they are just doing it to deal with their own insecurities and what they don't like is that I've chosen my path and they want to dissuade me from it. They might even feel that they are doing my audience a favor, all of you readers of the blog and my books, but really, they aren't. I figure, in the end, it is the responsibility of all my readers to choose what they will or won't apply from my writing. The writing, after all, is just my opinion and experiences. What you derive from it is your responsibility and your choice.

7-22-12 Coming back home is always an experience. Portland and really the state of Oregon is home for me. There is no other place I've ever felt so connected to, or so at rest in. Traveling in the state is different from traveling out of it. Even n the Far Eastern parts or Oregon I've felt just as at home as I do in PDX, whereas leaving the state always brings an awareness that I've left home. And when I come back, I feel the energy of this land reach up and take me back into its fold. It has claimed me as much as I have claimed it.

7-25-12 Re-connected with the college professor who taught the Burroughs class. It's so rare for me to try and make a connection with the past that I'm actually rather pleased I have in this case. There is a difference found in connecting with someone after years have passed as well. You've both changed and consequently how you interact with each other changes as well. In other news I've been implementing some exercises from a book called Positive Intelligence. It's been useful for examining and shorting out specific behaviors I've noted earlier in this entry. More on it next month.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Fire Month 8

6-8-12 Usually by now I've written some entries in this kind of post, but this last month has been simultaneously busy and uninspiring. The experience of burn out, when the fire can't stay lit and there's no ready source of fuel to keep it burning. I don't know if I've hit that, but there is a sense of tiredness lately. I guess that's what happens when you revamp your businesses and your hit a point where you need to take a rest. Good thing I'm actually going to do that later this month. I have a habit of pushing myself hard...part of it is having so many ideas in my head, with thoughts continuing to just go, go, go, go. I want to catch up with myself, get all of those ideas on to paper or into reality. Part of it is filling up the time, filling up the space, doing something, anything...and as much as I've got the meditation schtick down, there's still the reality that sometimes all I want to do is fill the emptiness up, escape from something with it. Being creative allows me to do something, move in a direction, make something happen. Sometimes that's all I've got. 6-15-12 I played golf for the first time ever Wednesday at a business event. Not something I'd imagine doing, not the least because in some ways it served to remind me of the awkwardness I have with social situations. I had fun with it, both the golfing and the interaction, but it took a while to get into it. I'm a very cerebral person, which can be good in terms of the projects I'm working on, but less so in social situations. I've always envied people who seem to mesh well with social situations. Any social skills I've learned have been ones I've had to observe many times over. Still that awkwardness hasn't stopped me and I know if I'm invited to another golfing event, I'll go because its an opportunity to connect with people. Besides pushing out from the comfort zone is the only way you grow.

In reflection about what I wrote about a week ago, I think what it really boils down to is an awareness that if you've been broken, no matter how much you heal there is still something of that broken part in you. My emptiness is that indicator of those past experiences. You can heal, try and find closure, move past them get over them...but still they are there. They don't go away.

6-16-12 Nostalgia is an interest of mine. Playing a video game that I haven't played in years has evoked memories of nostalgia, of my days in the ph.d program at Kent State. The right stimulus can bring the past into vivid color...much like telling a story around a fire. Atmosphere creates the story as much as the words do. A game can have a life associated with it, or at least moments of life that come back to represent where you've been and where you could go.

6-24-12 Amazing what a few days away from everything can do, in terms of breaking writer's block and bringing clarity to the creative process. This month's been about lets see what next month brings.

Elemental Balancing Fire Month 7

4-30-12 Life can kick you down. What you choose to do about it is up to you. You can lay in the dust and complain or you can get up and do something to change what's happened. I think that's one of the reasons I embrace discomfort. It's not that I want to be uncomfortable, but I accept that some discomfort is a part of life and has something to offer in terms of a growing opportunity. I'd rather learn from it and get it over with, than whine about it and wish it wasn't happening. 5-4-12 Fail. Fire burns failure away or maybe it just burns it into you. Yet every failure in my life has opened doors and forced me to look at how to change things in ways I never would have, if I didn't fail. In failure lies the seed for success, if you can just get past yourself long enough to see it for what it is: Opportunity reminding you that always having success can be more of an obstacle than facing failure and learning how to use it to make you better.

5-9-12 Opening up to a person and letting that person in...really letting that person in. That's been the hardest thing for me to do. My wife pointed out to me that I never really talk with her about what I'm going to write about on this blog or my other one or about my on going projects, or even about the stress I might be feeling around my professional life. And its true I don't share it. I'm not used to sharing it or being involved with someone who seems to be genuinely interested in learning more. But lately I've been opening up more, trying to really allow her in. I've noted some interesting behaviors when I get uncomfortable such as trying to change the topic or shift focus toward something else, which tells me that on some level I do find it uncomfortable to be so open, but that's not a surprise when you're used to keeping things close to your chest.

5-15-12 Your choices define you. You define them first, but once you make them, those choices ripple outward and effect your actions and subsequent choices. You've got to make good choices you can live with, because those choices can haunt you for the rest of your life. Or they can be a celebration of your life, something that brings hope to yourself and others. I only have a few choices I regret, things I wish I could undo, but most of the choices I've made are ones I'm proud to stand by. I can live with them and feel no regret, because I know they are choices that have improved my life and outlook on the world. The choices where I do feel regret are lessons I never take for granted, because I don't want to feel that way about the majority of my choices or how I'm living my life.

5-18-12 I think something the work with the element of Fire has really taught me is how to examine the movement of emotions and feelings in my life and how those movements play out in the actions I take. I can't take for granted how much emotion factors into my life. This isn't to say I'm ruled by emotion, but its part of my life, part of everyone's life. and anyone who thinks they can control their emotions or put them under wraps is fooling themselves. We are moved by emotions everyday...the question is can we control the movement and the direction it takes us? I think that's possible, but it takes a lot of internal work.

5-21-12 I think the hardest challenge of fire is the recognition that so much of what is focused on is the shadow aspects of the element. Not that dealing with shadow aspect is a bad thing, but when I look at how fire is portrayed, or at least my experience of it is, it is unchecked, wild, something that burns. This year, for me, has really been about exploring fire from a different perspective than what I've thought of, yet I haven't divorced my own perspective from the process. The comparison of the two is what helps make this work useful and something that fuels genuine growth and change.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Fire Month 5

2-23-12 There are times I feel broken, times I realize how profoundly the abuse I experienced has affected me. I look back at a history of my life and I see patterns in different ways than I had before, and while I recognize that I've healed from a lot of it, I also see how much it still affects me. I've been thinking lately as well of my early sexual encounters with women who were much older than me, and how naive I was, and how much I didn't realize how those encounters affected my perspective on relationships, love, lust, and what would be considered acceptable. Until recently, I believed love was always conditional as a result of those early experiences. Now I realize it doesn't have to be conditional, but that belief about love came about because of circumstances that shaped what I thought love and commitment was. Understanding that history has helped me look closely at my choices, both past and present, and with the present choices, make them from a place that's less reactionary. That's the whole point of doing internal work. It challenges you to explore and understand the underlying causes of your choices, so that you know why you are making, and can ideally make them from a place of health as opposed to dysfunction. It challenges you to take responsibility for your choices, instead of trying to blame everyone else for your problems.

2-29-12 When I meditate with fire each day, what strikes me is how people have created such a mythology around such a primal force of life. The various stories about how fire was discovered or given as a gift, the focus on the creative or destructive nature of fire. This raw, primal force has been made into so much by how people try to negotiate and understand it. I don't think many people, even now, really look at fire as a wholly physical phenomenon, but even if they do, they still have to acknowledge its a force that can have an effect on our lives. A burning house is a prime example, as is a campfire that people huddle around to keep warm.

3-1-12 I've been feeling a bit nostalgic lately, prompted partially by listening to music I haven't listened to in a long time that reminds me of later teenage years spent trying to find myself. The right sound, the right sight, and you can get taken to a different time, a different awareness, then as now. And suddenly you have two temporal experiences, and you reconcile the memory with the place you're at now. My memories of my teenage years are bittersweet (but who's isn't?), mostly bitter, and yet listening to this music touches a place of naivety, of hope that's not quite gone. There's a sense of longing, and sadness, and experience as I listen to this song. There's a sense of change, and the appreciation of that change. We are not static. We are changeable and the changes are for the best. The right experience will trigger a doorway to the past, to an intersection with a you from before and the you of now. Two moments merge into one and both variants influence each other. It's fairly amazing when you allow yourself to fully open up and experience the merging of past memory with present experience, and sometimes even future dream.

3-5-12 Knowing when to take a break from actively being creative is important. I haven't done much writing since I wrapped up Magical Identity. I'm glad I took the time off, because now I'm feeling primed again and looking forward to writing. The days of pushing myself to write are over. I'd rather honor my creative genius by giving it the time to recharge so I can write with focus and verve.

3-7-12 I've been reading about and considering the emotions of jealousy and compassion. I think jealousy gets a bad wrap, but that if you consider it in the right context, it can actually be a warning system of potential problems with the connection (or lack thereof) that you have with a person. Sometimes jealousy is overblown, but sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it indicates real problems that need to be addressed. If I were to map jealousy to an element, it would be fire, because of how it feels and the associations it has with other emotions like love. I'd also map compassion to fire, because of the feeling of warmth it can convey.Compassion is the comprehension of another person's pain, and the ability to reach out to that person with genuine understanding. It's a very giving emotion, whereas jealousy is a very protective emotion.

3-10-12 I look back at the first entry of this post and I find it ironic today because when you learn something about yourself that you hadn't faced, it forces you to see patterns in your life in different ways than you'd acknowledged. Its good, even if its not pleasant to face. Maybe in a way that's why its good. It forces you to see what you've kept hidden from yourself. It's in facing yourself that you bring healing to yourself, but facing yourself means acknowledging not just how other people hurt you, but also acknowledging how you hurt other people and doing your best to learn from it and be a better person.

3-16-12 I'd never wish any of my past experiences of abuse on anyone, even my worst enemy. Experiences like that, where you are a victim, they make you protective of the people in your life, because you know you don't want them to ever have such painful and disempowering experiences. At the same time, as you get to know people you realize on some level or another everyone is dysfunctional, carrying wounds with them that define their lives. I think its a shame, because when a wound defines your life you can't move past it. It holds you back and keeps you in a restricted pattern that hurts you more than it does anything else. I've managed to let go of some of the wounds that previously defined me. I've learned my lessons from them, but I don't hold onto them anymore. Some of them I'm still holding on to, figuring out how to let them go and how to redefine myself in the process. Again that's part of internal work. It's not an overnight cure-all. It's doing the work so you can let go, heal yourself and move on.

3-22-12 - Magical Identity arrived today. It feels strange to realize that the journey to write this book is finally over. There's nothing more to do beyond selling it and talking about it (very important activities). It's created, birthed, realized, manifested. It exists...a part of my thoughts, ideas, life, etc., expressed into written form. I'm glad its published, and yet I find myself facing this curious feeling of "What next?" I actually know what's next, but it doesn't change the fact that I feel this feeling. I feel it anytime I finish any project. It' that realization of separation. This is no longer just mine. Now it's something that belongs to whoever chooses to adopt it and use it. It belongs to all of you as much as it belongs to me.

The fire doesn't burn out when somethings created, if you know how to cultivate it. It's alive. I'm a live. And that next project is beckoning.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Fire Month 4

1-27-12 Since doing the ritual of dedication to Dragon I've been feeling very creative and have put in a lot of work on Magical Identity. Feels good to see the revisions coming together. I also got into an interesting discussion where a person noted that most times I'm open-hearted, warm, etc., but that occasionally I come across as contemptuous. She's right. I do.  I know it and I even know where it originates from. But seeing someone else recognize it helps me see the need to do some work on it. It's not exactly how I want to come across to people and its not even how I feel, so much as its an automatic habit. 2-1-12 When I get overwhelmed by everything I need to do, it prompts a craving for an experience that allows me to quiet the mind through the culmination of sensation. It's an interesting insight and one I realized through meditation. On a different note, my continued work with fire has hit a stage of quiet contemplation as I focus on just being present with fire and the shadows of fire. Fire can be about action and activity, but it can also simply be experienced, much like when you enjoy a fire in the fireplace or at a camp site.

2-6-12 Tracing a habit's cycle can be a very useful experience. You start to track it into your past, and you discover what caused it to start, and why it continues to exist. I've also hit a creative state, which has been exhilarating to experience. Seeing writing coming together, seeing creative ideas flourishing is just beautiful. I feel like my creativity is truly back where it belongs. Now I need to feed the fire carefully, so I can sustain it, instead of having it burn out or fade away.

2-11-12 Creativity is sustained with focus, and with knowing how to back off and just let it breathe sometimes. I have a list and each day if I get a couple items done, then I'm happy, and I know my creativity is fed by getting just a couple of things done, instead of stressing about everything. No more frantic workaholicism, trying to get every thing done. The work will get done, but feeding my creativity is just as important. Feeding my fire involves recognizing how to sustain it instead of letting it burn out.

2-15-12 I see creativity applied to not just my writing, but all of my business activities, and even in my life in general. Since doing the ritual to Dragon, it's like a switch was turned on. I'm brimming with confidence, happiness, and power. Everything appears to be in reach and I know it is, if I apply the right effort. More than that though, I feel freed from the period of non-creativity I was in for a while. I feel this sense of giddiness as I realize its still here. I've still got it. And the closer Magical Identity comes to being finished, the more I realize that it's really true. I'm still a writer. One other thing. I promise to never let someone else's fear dictate my life or choices. When you allow fear to control you that's when you start dying.

2-16-12 I realized something yesterday. I don't feel like my work has been relevant, for a little while now. Which makes sense. I just disappeared for a while. So publishing Magical Identity is re-staking my claim to relevance. It's a big deal to me, even if it isn't for anyone else, because it's a reminder that I am relevant. I guess where this comes from is realizing that for a while I felt overshadowed, but its more than just that feeling. It's reading these various blogs, and realizing that the conversation has passed me by as it were. And I can be perfectly comfortable admitting that, because the recognition of it doesn't diminish me, so much as it indicates a weakness in marketing on my part. I'm changing that, and in a sense this year of fire is as much about that as it is about re-discovering my creativity. It's about sparking that fire and keeping it lit. I won't be overshadowed again, I won't let my fire get snuffed out, by myself or anyone else.

2-17-12 No pantheacon this year. It's kind of odd not being there, but I'm also glad I'm taking a year off. Magical Identity isn't published yet, and just as importantly I've got other priorities that need to be attended to first and going to a convention where I have to pay my way to present every year is a low priority this time around.

2-22-12 Two years after I started writing Magical Identity, I'm working on the Layout. There's a palpable feeling of triumph as I finish this book. It's significant triumph, because it's taken five years to get this book together and to know its finally coming to an end. This was the hardest book I've written yet and the ones I'm already planning to write are by comparison easier...not nearly so heady anyway. Its so appropriate that I finish this book in the year of the Dragon, MY year. My fire is surging, my creativity is back. I'm back. I've crossed the abyss, and come out the other side. I've won.


Elemental Fire Month 3

12-26-11 Fire burns and consumes. What you don't want can be burned away, turned to ashes. You can recycle the ashes, contribute to new growth. For Christmas, my mom gave me a picture album with lots of pictures I don't believe I ever saw. I can't remember anything about a lot of those pictures, because most of them were when I was really young, or before the age of 7. I don't have many memories from before I was seven. It's as if they were wiped clean. It's quite frustrating. I've been thinking a lot about safety and what constitutes safety for someone. What makes a person really feel safe? What does safety embody for a person? I think of fire as an embodiment of safety. The warmth it provides, and even a psychological fascination with light, and the idea that being in the light can make you safe. There's this draw to a fire and what it represents. We can be warmed by the fire, can even have a degree of visibility and protection, and yet the fire can also be a detriment. Your eyes have to adjust each time, and what feels safe may ultimately be an illusion.

12-27-11 Today's meditation focused on desire, specifically what desire for others is really about for me. I think that's such a hard question to answer in a way, because it really involves recognizing that there's some level of selfishness associated with desire, and while that seems like a given it did make me think about what that really means. Selfishness isn't bad per se, as long as it isn't taken to an extreme. It's just that when it is taken to an extreme it can go overboard, to the extent that the other person isn't even considered. In looking at my past, I can safely say that I have been that selfish before and while the short term gratification was nice, the long term result was anything but. So for the moment I'm focusing on the selfishness piece of all of this.

12-28-11 Today's meditation focused on polyamory. I've been in a closed relationship for almost two years, which has been the longest time I've been in a closed relationship. I've used the time to do a lot of thinking about poly and why I've considered myself poly. In all honesty, I'd have to say that my participation in poly is a text book case of bad poly. I've made a lot of the mistakes people make in such relationships and as I've looked over those mistakes and also what's drawn me to that lifestyle, I've come to realize that I chose that lifestyle in part based on a belief of: "There's no one person who can fulfill all your needs and its better to have multiple relationships to get all your needs met." Or if I flip it a little I get: "I've been considered to be too intense, and its better if I spread the love around so I'm not too much for anyone person." Both reasons are ones I've told myself and others and yet in considering them carefully, I've come to realize that for me, they are unhealthy reasons.

My reasoning about this matter is as follows. If I really believe I'm too much for one person and feel the need to spread the love, am I perhaps ignoring what it is that makes me too much for a person? am I perhaps displacing my needs onto other people, without examining them and seeing what's healthy or isn't healthy? And also what is it I am telling myself if I believe this message? When I've considered these questions, I've realized that poly, in the way I've approached it, has ended up being a crutch that has helped me avoid intimacy with myself, let alone someone else.

With that said, I know I'm capable of loving more than one person and I think it can be healthy to love more than one person. However, I know that even though I am capable, I also haven't really laid a strong foundation to support such relationships. I've closed my relationship with my wife, in part because I know that I can't do good poly, if I can't even do good with a single relationship. We may never open the relationship up and that would be okay, because I would rather get it right with one person than continue to get it wrong with multiple people.

1-1-12 New year, new me. Today's mediation focused on judgement. In all honesty, I can be a fairly judgmental person, but show me someone who isn't. I don't think I know anyone who doesn't in one form or another judge others. But what Dragon pointed out is that the best thing I can do is acknowledge the judgments as I make them and then question them. So I applied that to judgments I'd made, and I realized as I looked at those judgements, how many of them were informed by things I had learned or observed about parenting based off how my parents raised me. It's an eye opening perspective that is helping me view the person in question in a different light, and consequently influences my interactions with him. And I guess that's the thing about judgements...where your judgements come from is based in part on experiences, observations, culture etc.

1-5-12 To be clear I'm not suddenly anti-polyamory. I think polyamory can work, and I know people who've made it work really well. But when I think about my desires, what I see that is problematic is my communication around those desires. It's not the desire itself that's a problem, but how I've communicated about it. Part of communication is vulnerability and that's not something I've handled well in the past. When you grow up self-sufficient and think that you can't rely on others, you don't let others in. With Kat, I've been learning how to be vulnerable, how to really open up, and also how to listen. Its taken me this long to learn those lessons in communication, but then again I think its takes many people time to learn such lessons.

1-9-12 I've been meaning to write this since I realized it. I was feeling antsy the other day and when I got to the heart of my restless, I realized something fantastic, liberating really. I realized how much I've been drawn to, addicted (that could be too strong) to newness. Neophilia. It's something that plays out in multiple areas of my life. New homes every few years, new relationships after a year or two, new jobs every so often, new video games (those aren't so bad), new, new, new...And I realized I'm not really used to being stable or establishing roots. I don't have many friends from long ago that I've stayed in touch with. Stabilizing myself, getting stable that's just nothing something I've done. That search for newness has always stirred up some kind of drama and restlessness. Stabilizing with Kat, settling into a relationship and intentionally focusing on just that relationship...That's new for me, but a different kind of new. I don't need a fresh injection of something new to take away something blue. I just need to settle in and trust in what I discover as a result.

1-12-11 I'm reading the Art of War, which is about blocks to a person's creativity. One of the forms of Resistance is Sex: "Sometimes Resistance takes the form of sex, or an obsessive preoccupation with sex. Why sex? Because sex provides immediate and instant gratification. When someone sleeps with us, we feel validated and approved of, even loved...In my experience, you can tell by the measure of hollowness you feel afterward. The more empty you feel, the more certain you can be that your true motivation was not love or even lust, but Resistance."

That quote speaks to a lot of my experiences with sex. Sex to feel loved to feel approved of, but also that emptiness feeling, that hollow sense of non-gratification, that desperate air of the hungry ghost. I know that all too well. Sex, for a long time, was just the big empty. Sometimes I used it to escape from everything, and sometimes all it really did was remind me of how hollow my life was. Nowadays it's different, the sex is more about connection, an intentional conscious bond.

I've also been thinking about how I spend money. I'm mostly satisfied with my choices, but there's also a sense of: what do I really have to show for it? I'm tired of just floating in some space. I want to make definite plans, move forward, and although I have a better financial sense of things then I used to have, and can make my pennies squeak for all their worth, I've also got a feeling of wanting more for that buck.

All of these things are distractions from that internal fire, yet they are also relevant to my fire, because they are shadows cast by the flames. I feel like a lot of my life has just been a shadow. I've never really known fire...I've just known a shadowy impression.

1-17-12 One of the activities that Kat and I have committed to doing involves reading books on relationships and money together. We're currently reading Your Money or Your Life and Journey of the Heart. Both are excellent books and as I re-read them, I catch things I hadn't previously gotten in the first reading. And what it makes me realize is how important it is to cultivate your inner fire. I've only seen shadows and I'd allowed my fire to gutter out, especially several years ago. Now I'm feeling more creative than I ever have been, more inspired really, and at the same time happier than I've ever been.

Yet I think I had to let my fire gutter out. I had to experience what it was like to lose that edge, so that I could really appreciate what I have with it. When I did the Love and Emptiness workings in particular, I put myself through the abyss and experienced my shadows fully. Identity saw me crawl out of the abyss and start a path of re-discovery, which continued through the year of Time and space and has moved into this year of Fire. But a big part of that work has also been an intentional cultivation and creation of my relationship with Kat, and that very intentional focus has also spread to cultivating that internal fire that inspires my creativity.

A fire that isn't carefully cultivated goes out eventually, but if you know to feed the fire, you can keep it going for a long, long time. The books I read with Kat and the conversations we have around them feed my soul and creativity. There are perspectives she offers that I in turn apply to my life. I have a true partner, someone who is willing to walk this journey with me, and so I find that I have help cultivating that inner mounting flame.

1-20-12 There is something to be said for being in an uncomfortable space, because of the opportunities it affords you to grow. I've said that before, and I'll likely say it again, but I realize it anew in the context of choices I've made in my relationship with Kat and in my life in general. I've always had a fear of letting someone in. Most people only get to a certain level of closeness and then I keep them there. I know where it comes from. It comes from having the rug pulled out from underneath me when I was 10. One day I had a step-mom, I called mom, and the next day I had someone taking out her anger and frustration on me. And this has been a rinse and repeat cycle several times over. It's hard, consequently, to really trust someone, to really believe that the closeness you feel is genuine, or that it will last. My biggest challenge with Kat has really come down to opening up to her and telling her where I am at, or how I am feeling, when I feel afraid to be that honest. Coming from a life, where I learned early on that it was better to hide an unpleasant truth, learning to be truthful enough to no longer hide has been hard. Yet when I look at previous relationships, I clearly can acknowledge that my dishonesty hurt those other people far more and created far worse problems, than if I had simply opened up and been honest. Yes, the truth might not be something the other person wants to hear, but at least it will set us free to be present with each other, instead of just going through the motions.

Elemental Balancing Ritual Fire Month 2

11-27-11 Something which has always frightened me has been my own fire. It's frightened me, in part because of the various people in my life who at one time or another told me I was too passionate, too intense, or just plain too much. I've gotten so used to pushing that intensity down or directing it other places because no one wanted to handle it. But it wasn't just the intensity. It's also been the anger. Fire embodied anger for me for a long time, and I've never been comfortable with anger, from myself or anyone else. As I was meditating today Dragon pointed out that fire didn't have to be any of these things. That the only one who'd perceived it that way had been me, but also I didn't have to continue perceiving myself in a particular way either. That's something I've been discovering in my relationship with Kat, and also discovering that I am not too much for myself or someone else.

I've always been driven by my passion. That can be good or it can be bad. Just depends on what you make of it, but I'm not going to bank the fire of my life or my relationship with fire because of an ill conceived perception. If I hold onto it, I empower it...and if I let it go, I open myself to new possibilities.

12-2-11 The meditations have focused on anger this week. Dragon had me do a history of anger, both in terms of how I've seen anger expressed and how I've expressed it. When I look at the history of anger, I start with my Dad. With him, anger was always a volcanic eruption. It would build and build up and then one day explode. His anger was always fast and hard, and you never knew what would set him off. Both my step-mom and mom tended to be more passive aggressive in certain ways, though my step mom would also be overly aggressive. She encouraged it in her daughter as well, who learned early on that she could take her anger out on me with no repercussions. What I learned early on was that I had to repress my anger. I wasn't allowed to show it, and if I did show it, I got disciplined.

Even later on I had experiences where for the most part other people expressed anger, while I kept a lid on it, except for the rare occasions when it'd pop out in a volcano. Consequently my own relationship with my feeling of anger is an uncomfortable one. Even with the internal work I've done, I still feel afraid of my own anger. I've recently been working on expressing it, and listening to it, instead of repressing it and this seems to help, but learning to listen to an emotion you've normally repressed isn't very easy. Listening to my anger means letting myself be vulnerable to feelings of hurt as well. It's not that I'm not aware of those feelings, and that I even feel them, but feeling them in conscious conjunction with anger is a whole another experience.

12-5-11 In today's meditation, Dragon pointed out that anger, for me, seemed to really be about control. specifically not feeling control and wanting control. I think that's true for me. When I look at the situations in my life a common theme is not feeling like I had control...feeling like I was under someone else's thumb. And the anger I feel is an anger of not feeling acknowledged. It's an anger that I haven't let go, because I'm trying to cling on to some kind of acknowledgement of the hurt I've felt. Yet that anger doesn't give me that acknowledgement. It just ends up being something I stew in.

I've come to realize as well that I'll likely not get the acknowledgement I want from the people who've hurt me. and Maybe even if they did, it wouldn't be enough. It all comes back to holding on to this anger, to this hurt that I've felt. Dragon asked me what it would be like to actually let go of that anger, to actually release it, instead of holding onto it and letting it define my identity. I don't want that anger to identify my identity, but I know why I've held onto it so much. For so long, going back to my childhood, holding onto that anger was what got me through difficult situations. They couldn't take my anger from me, and I could use it to prove they were wrong. That kind of motivation was what kept me going through a lot of hard times. But holding onto it now doesn't really help. I'm not happy holding on to it. I need to learn to let go.

12-7-11 I allowed myself to articulate my anger, and the underlying feeling of rejection that seems to accompany that anger. It's not anger toward just one person, but a lifetime of people, who in one way or another showed me that I wasn't a high or important priority in their lives. Being able to articulate that to Kat, to share that pain and anger helped. The realizations I've been having about my anger and the underlying emotional bedrock that supports it shows me how important it is that I finally feel like I am an actual priority to someone. There's a sense of relief and disbelief.

12-8-11 I always find it fascinating how the experiences in my life fit neatly into the theme I'm working on. Today at my small Business Management class, the instructor brought up the value of changing your stories. He said the stories we tell ourselves set up the scripts and situations we find ourselves in. I certainly know this, but hearing it again today caused me to experience it a different way and apply this idea of rewriting old stories into new ones to some of the stories I have been telling myself as I've been working with my anger this month. For example, telling myself a new story of: I am loved, wanted, desired, needed, appreciated, and supported in what I do, and how I choose to do it is a powerful change for me. I hadn't, until recently, ever really felt supported. Now I do.

12-17-11 Owning my anger, acknowledging and taking responsibility, but also choosing to know I can feel anger. I've been thinking about that all week, and how I can own my anger to empower myself. Owning anger isn't pushing it down. Owning anger, for me, is learning to let go, instead of holding on so tight. I don't need it to define my identity anymore.

Desire has been coming up a lot as well, which makes sense, given how much fire is associated with desire. I've explored desire in other elements, but fire brings its own perspective on desire. Desire has such twists in it. to be desired and to desire. Am I desired for one aspect, or is the desire for the real me?

12-18-11 Sometimes the person I'm the angriest with is myself. I've always found it hard to forgive myself for what I consider mistakes. My first marriage is an example of that. I'm angry at myself for staying so long in what was clearly an unhealthy relationship for myself and the ex. The choices I made in that relationship are ones I've looked over and questioned, because they were symptomatic of the underlying unhappiness. I'm responsible for staying in that relationship for so long. Still hindsight is 20 20 and as I've continued the internal work around that relationship and the choices I made in it, I have to acknowledge that where I am now is not where I was then. I can look back and judge myself or I can look back and see a very fallible person who made very real mistakes and has since learned from those mistakes. I don't feel the anger often toward myself anymore, but occasionally it still comes up, and tells me I still have healing and forgiveness to do.

12-21-11 The other day Kat and I were having a conversation and she said, "I know you're angry with me. Let me in." It took a while, but eventually I told her what I was feeling angry about. It was interesting for me, because even though I knew I felt angry, being so honest about it involved being so vulnerable as well. It was hard to be so vulnerable, but it was also so freeing to tell her how I really felt. So often I've held my anger in, until finally its much better to simply admit it, and be open about it. As this month ends, I feel more comfortable with my anger, and with what the work with element fire has revealed about it. That's what the elemental balance work is all about.

Elemental Fire Month 1

10-22-2011 I've been staying very mindful of the element of fire in my life. I attended a divination party tonight, where you could offer readings or get readings. I did five readings for different people and told them about the magical experimenters meeting. And while doing their readings, while talking with them, I had a sense of seeking, a sense of fire as seeking, discovering, but also a sense of fire as a qualifier. Intuitively I knew that the people that needed the invitation would follow up on it because it was the right invitation for them and they'd fit the group as well. 10-25-2011 The last few days has involved a dialogue between Dragon and myself about Fire, passion, and consumption. What stands out most is the focus on fire as a metaphor for passion and why that's not such a good thing. Dragon points out that fire ultimately consumes, and if passion is fire, than its more about consumption than anything else. If fire is a metaphor for passion, there can be danger in that metaphor, in terms of how people approach passion. And I think he's right. My experiences with passion, in part, has been more about trying to experience a sensation that I might think of as fire, but in the process I've gotten burned a lot, because it's not something which is sustainable. Dragon pointed out that fires eventually consume themselves, until there's nothing left to give...Some interesting thoughts come to mind about American Culture and its focus on consumption. What does that teach us, about ourselves, others etc? Is it all something to be consumed, or can we really experience it?

10-31-2011 Fire just is. The association of doing and activity is meaning attributed to fire, but dragon asked me what it would be like to just contemplate fire as it is, instead of contemplating fire as doing something.

11-07-11 Dragon brought up something that really grabbed my attention. He said what a person fixates on or desires or obsesses over can burn him/her and the people in his/her life, because f how it consumes them. But if a person can consume and let go of what s/he desires, then it no longer takes up his/her energy in quite the same way. Now this is nothing find this advice in meditation, but looking at it from the perspective of fire, and consuming something so it turns to smoke and then is wafted away...that's what grabbed my attention. And I have to admit that I'm in this process of consuming instead of being consumed. Not an easy process, but it is freeing up a lot of energy.

11-16-11 I haven't been as good about updating this entry as I'd like, but a lot's happened. Kat and I noticed that the stray black cat that lives near our house had kittens. It's getting really cold out, and this summer we'd actually found a dead kitten. It was pretty upsetting. So we decided to catch the mama cat (to neuter it) and catch the kittens as well. We managed to catch two of the kittens. The other one is gone, may be dead or alive, and the mama cat hasn't shown up lately. I took the trap back today, but I'll deploy it if she comes back. What does all this have to do with fire?

Dragon brought up a very important point. When you create a spark, you are responsible for nurturing it and using it wisely. When I think about the mama cat, I remember that my ex-wife chose to feed her. I don't know if it would've stuck around anyway, but I do know that feeding it encouraged it to stay in the neighborhood. I realized that I should've tried to catch that mama cat much earlier than now. More importantly, in catching these two kittens I felt that I had chosen to take on the responsibility of doing something with them. The animal control shelter told me if they weren't tame enough, they'd be euthanized, and that they might be euthanized anyway because of how many cats they have. There's no way I'd let two cats be euthanized simply because they'd been caught. I've learned about another place, the Cat Adoption Team, where they don't euthanize cats, but we have had these kittens for a week and we've all gotten attached to them. They seem to feel the same. And the point here is this: You always have a responsibility to see through what you take on. I've taken on those two kittens. They're part of my responsibility, that spark of life I've nurtured by capturing them and taming them.

11-18-2011 Sometimes I wonder if I've left my passion for all things occult somewhere else. Actually I sometimes wonder if I've left my passion for lots of things somewhere else. And I guess that's a reason I'm doing this work with the element of fire. I want to get in touch with that passion, and yet ironically I think I am in touch with that's just a slow process of rekindling it. I let it get banked by personal circumstances, by my choices to try and make myself into something I wasn't. Never again. Never again will I give my fire, my passion, my intensity away or push it down. That kind of give away can hurt you so much and it hurts your creativity as much as it hurts in other ways. I feel like my creativity is finally coming back because my passion has a safe place to be.

11-21-11 There is nothing worse than feeling that you failed yourself or someone else. And yet failure prompts growth and change. It forces you to reassess what's truly important and then claim that importance through the actions you take to bring change to your life. The ashes of defeat are also the loam that prompts growth. What you hold dearest can fall away in a moment and yet when it falls away it reveals who you are through how you respond. Do you rail against it? Do you accept it and learn from it? Do you burn yourself or do you warm yourself? It's a fine balance to walk. I choose to cultivate a warm fire instead of a vengeful fire. Where that takes me as a result is hopefully to a better place in my healing as well as in my passion.


Switching to Elemental Fire

Every year on my birthday I switch to a new element. This year, it felt like a good idea to switch to the element of fire. I feel like I'm ready to work with fire, to find my balance with it and through all of that come to know it in a different way than I had before. I first did the closing ritual to the elements of Space and Time. I evoked the spirits for those elements, thanked them for their transformative work and promised to keep the lessons I'd learned embodied in my actions and life, and that I'd continue to work with them.

Then I pulled into the circle a dragon statue I have. I placed my hands on it, and called to the spirit of the Fire Dragon. I was born in the year of the Fire Dragon and this coming year will be a year of the dragon, albeit, ironically the year of the Water Dragon. Nonetheless I felt it was auspicious to work with this entity for the element of fire.

I invoked the dragon into me, and began to do bellows breathing, focusing on a rhythm that would allow me to simulate the feeding of fire by a bellows. Once I'd gotten to a point where I felt connected to the element of fire, I explained my desire to connect with it, and invoke it into my life for the next year, as part of my balancing work. I also explained that while all they ears of my elemental balancing work had helped me manifest many changes, I felt my fire had become banked and I wanted to develop a healthier relationship with it.

I felt this warmth go into my hands from the statue. My hands felt very warm, felt very much on fire and that warmth then spread into the rest of me. As it did, I heard the dragon speak about fire as both a creative and destructive force. It inspires, but also destroys. It burns, but from the ashes growth can come. It can warm you, but it can also hurt you with that warmth. All of these things and more said to me and I realized that fire, both as a literal and metaphoric force has many sides to it.

I'm looking forward to this year's work. Since fire is an element I already resonate with, I think this work will help me channel that element in many useful directions.