Dear Vicki: I have a question about getting along better with myself. I know I’m a primary Fire. I have a great deal of passion for what I do and can tell that it rubs off on other people. On my good days, I have loads of interests, buckets of energy, and am a fun outgoing person. But on bad days, I have a hard time moving forward, I procrastinate until the whole day is gone, and my passion turns into frustration or indifference. It’s like my Fire has been snuffed out. I do enjoy reading, meditating, and coming up with ideas for my business, so wonder if I might have a secondary Water. This would take down my Fire and make me crazy, right? But maybe I’m not really a secondary Water. How would I know? Signed: Crazy Fire
Dear Crazy Fire: It does sound like you are a primary Fire with a secondary Water. The relationship between the two is that of opposing forces: pure yang and pure yin. You might think that could make you crazy, but in the Five Elements model opposing forces aren’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, they can be a very, very good thing.
Remember that the goal in the Five Elements model is to maintain balance. Too much or too little of any one element is a threat to the whole, so the system is designed with balancing mechanisms built right in. If there’s too little of an element, there’s another element that can be counted on to increase energy for it via the Nurturing Cycle. If there’s too much of an element, there’s another element that can be counted on to decrease its energy via the Controlling Cycle. Your Fire and Water relate to each other via the Controlling Cycle, which means Water stands at the ready to make sure your Fire doesn’t go too wild for too long. That’s important for you because Fires really can burn themselves out. Fires have the least amount of structure or boundaries of any of the Five Elements which means it’s hardest for them to pull back and chill. Without Water, Fires risk depletion, which is a very important point for you.
I’d like to suggest that those times you have a hard time moving forward, tend to procrastinate, or feel indifferent about things are not times your Water has stepped in and dosed your Fire. Instead, I think those are excellent examples of times your Fire has depleted itself. We may associate lack of movement and procrastination with Water, but in truth, Water is usually always moving. Whether it’s a wave, a flowing river, or just a ripple on a pond, water in nature moves. In fact, when water doesn’t move, it gets in trouble (think evaporation, stagnation, etc.). It’s the same with Water as an element: it may seem quiet on the surface, but it is always thinking, planning, pondering, etc.
Water is rarely indifferent, but depleted Fire can be. On those days when you can’t seem to get things done or are feeling indifferent, I suspect your Fire is depleted. To build it back, do whatever brings you joy or makes you happy. If that doesn’t work, try building your Wood so it can feed your Fire. You might surround yourself with green, drink lots of lemon water, or try using peppermint or lavender essential oils. That Wood energy will help you get going and feed your Fire. So unless you know you have been depressed or uncommonly moody lately, don’t blame your Water. Depleted Fire is usually due to the Fire part of the equation, not the Water.
To keep things stable going forward, I encourage you to embrace the beautiful dance Water and Fire perform in your energies. To help this dance stay balanced, make sure you include Water events in your life every day. You enjoy meditating, so please do that daily; it gives Fire a very needed break. Fires usually focus on social events and connections, but Waters hate this. To keep your Water happy, make time each day for conscious alone time. It needn’t be long – your Fire will grow impatient if it is – but alone time will stabilize your Water. Try reading one chapter of a good book daily, or even writing a little each day. And of course, drink plenty of water each day. Finally, to harmonize Fire and Water, you can sit quietly with one hand resting on the base of the skull right above the neck (a Water location) and the other hand resting on the skull right above that (a Fire location). These are places that balance the two elements individually, but when held together, they balance the energy between the elements.
And just in case you might not be a secondary Water, this is an excellent opportunity to illustrate how Fire is affected by each of the other four elements when they step in as a secondary. A fun Fire stereotype to consider for this comparison is the exciting, fun-loving person at the party that everyone wants to be around. Let’s look at how different secondaries will refine that Fire stereotype. In each case, these Fires will still be enthusiastic, charismatic, upbeat individuals who are always on the go, focused in the present, and love connecting with others for fun, but:
- Fires with Water secondaries will be less inclined to run around all the time and more interested in quiet time at home. Fires with Water secondaries will also create alone time to ponder important issues rather than constantly connecting with others. The stereotype for a Fire with a Water secondary could be: The exciting, fun-loving person at the party that everyone wants to be around because she has important philosophic points to make.
- Fires with Wood secondaries will be less focused on the present all the time and more inclined to plan for the future. Fires with Wood secondaries will also be more interested in connecting with others to further personal goals and less interested in partying just for the fun of it. The stereotype for a Fire with a Wood secondary could be: The exciting, fun-loving person at the party that everyone wants to be around because he is so successful.
- Fires with Earth secondaries will want some of their quick connections to become long-term relationships. Fires with Earth secondaries will also be more likely to use their notoriety to raise awareness of the needy in the world. The stereotype for a Fire with an Earth secondary could be: The exciting, fun-loving person at the party that everyone wants to be around because she’s the one throwing the party to raise funds for the homeless.
- Fires with Metal secondaries will be less scattered and more precise. Fires with Metal secondaries will also be extremely conversant regarding how the lessons of history can be applied to the present. The stereotype for a Fire with a Metal secondary could be: The exciting, fun-loving person at the party that everyone wants to be around because he knows so much about so many things.
I hope this helps. And remember, if Water is your secondary, the dance between Fire and Water in you is not only beautiful, but balancing, healing, and vitalizing. Enjoy it!