For me, the fire element can be so many disparate things. It's comforting when it's an open fire, it's relaxing when it's a candle flame and yet it's terrifying and destructive when it's raging and out of control. It is important, I feel, to understand fire in all its complexity so that you can get to a point where you can recognise it (and are not surprised!) when invoking its energies in all its forms. The reason for this is that calling upon the fire element (or in fact any element or energy) isn't about summoning it and expecting it to work away in the background for you! It's about feeling it, merging energies and being totally aware of its presence as you would an old friend or work partner.
So the first point I would like to share with you is to try to find common ground with the fire element. Think about the characteristics of fire - the passion, the ferocity, the intense light that becomes softer towards the outside. Think of its playful side, the way flames dance and crackle. Think of its focus and determination as it burns through materials and how it can clear away and make way for the new. Spend some time thinking about your own personality as you'll be much more efficient at working with fire when you can see it as a like-minded soul.
I initially found it very helpful to put candles out for a week or so, taking the time to absorb the movements and feel of the flame and heat. It's about trying to see fire in a new light and to become totally comfortable in its presence. Pay particular attention to any feelings you get. These will likely be your psychic connection to fire starting to open up and one that you will feel again. The more familiar you become, the easier it will be to get it to work with you.
Don't try to focus merely on the power aspect of the fire element - this will be viewed as self serving, and remember how fire can burn! You should be aiming to show respect and humility and offer an invitation for fire to come assist you. Remember that you have no right to fire's assistance. This can be done by leaving a gift, either in the shape of a token of your appreciation (anything from a crystal to honey is acceptable) or in sending a promise to the universe that you will do a good deed for someone else when you can. Just make sure you do!
Another 'don't' point - but don't see fire as something that's exclusively magickal. It's real in the physical sense too and its energies are real. You may be using other senses to tune into its character and to feel its presence around you and it can distract you and make you focus on thes aspects alone. Keep taking a step back and looking at the fire element in its entirety.
Fire is also associated with pointing south. You don't necessarily have to face south when casting a fire spell but you may want to leave a small token at a south facing point to you when you are set to cast a spell. Placing a lit candle is good.
My last point for you to consider is that the creatures of fire are the legendary salamanders. These are not quite the same as the lizards but the associations are helpful. Think of the quick movements, the tremendous survival skills and the slightly fearful respect we generally treat them with! If it helps you to focus on something that feels more solid and real, then by all means do so.
Right, so what does this all mean in practise? Here's what I recommend you do:
- Spend a week lighting a candle or candles in the evening and watch them in a medititive state. Write notes of the feelings and thoughts that come to you and look for patterns.
- Over this time, select a simple spell. Make it something that you will be able to repeat a few times over. Something like helping you get past stress or building confidence. I pick these because they are spells that don't suffer from keeping the energies topped up! You do, in general, need to be careful of repeating spells over and over.
- Set up a basic altar or a space where you want to work from. Candles are of course a must but also decorate with symbols that you feel will conjure the feelings and associations you have been working on (I've got some sun representations that I'm really attached to). If you have written a statement of intent for your spell, make sure you've got a cauldron or fire-proof bowl to burn it into safely. If you are burning herbs, same applies.
- Cast your spell and pay attention to the feelings you experience. If it feels a bit flat, make a note of this and tweak your spell to include more fire qualities at the right moments. If you've experienced fire as vibrant and want this for your spell, then think of words that capture this - 'crackle'', sparkle', 'zest'. Dance and sing if you want to! Same goes for if you want it to be soothing etc. Always connect.
- Repeat the spell a few times to see if you experience changes in the way it feels. Also, remember that witchcraft is a craft, it takes practise.
- Don't forget to thank fire for its help. It's more likely to want to come back and help you again if you do :)