Fire in its purest form is the energy given to us by the Supernal Sun. On the other hand, earthly fire is the fuel for manifestation. Thus, fire is our connection with the Divine, but it also fuels us and sustains us in our separation from the Divine.
For humans as Axial Beings, fire represents our Free Will. In the Chinese character, or kanji, for fire, 火, the middle part is a kanji in and of itself and stands for a person. On either side of the person is a stroke. When I learned this kanji, it seemed to me to represent the choice between the True and False Self.
A common theme in mythology is the theft of fire, and in a real sense, it is fire that makes us Axial Beings, with the power to choose. A keyword for fire is willpower, and a helpful slogan for fire is to turn willfulness into willingness.
Traits of Fire
At best, fire is powerful, courageous, and adventurous. Fire is energetic, honorable, confident, and bold. Fire thrives on excitement, and more than any other element, allows us to find joy on the physical plane. Fire is playful and full of life and zest.
The negative traits of fire are a corruption of its positive traits. Fire’s confidence can turn into arrogance, pride, and self-importance. Fire has the worst temper of all of the elements when aroused, and it can burn out of control.
While the dangers of fire out of control are obvious, fire dampened or not allowed to burn properly is equally dangerous. In those cases, fire can damage a person’s soul from the inside. While all of the elements can become depressed, depressed fire can turn violent and is the most likely to act upon destructive ideas or emotions.
Of the elements, fire has the least patience with sadness, illness, or restriction. In order to be able to cope, fire must see them as challenges to be conquered or as battles to be won.
Nurturing and Managing Fire
Fire must be carefully nurtured and managed. If suppressed, a person can lack energy, motivation, and drive; if not controlled, a person can become destructive to herself and those around her.
Fire needs fuel and air. The fuel for fire is always its source, the Sun. All earthly fuel for fire comes from the release of energy that has been stored from the Sun. Air, in its pure form, is the Breath of the Divine. Fire and Air are generally compatible.
More than any other element, fire needs discipline and structure. It is through discipline and structure that fire can be allowed to burn safely, giving a person warmth and energy.
Fire in Astrology
In Classical Astrology, each of the elements is ruled by a team of planets known as the triplicity rulers. There are several different systems of triplicity rulerships, but I use Dorothean triplicities. In the Dorothean system, each element has a daytime ruler, a nighttime ruler, and a participating ruler. In this system, the day ruler of the fiery triplicity is the Sun, the night ruler, Jupiter, and the participating ruler, Saturn. So for day charts, the order of precedence is the Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn, and for night charts, Jupiter, the Sun, and Saturn. All three of these planets have dignity in all of the Fire signs.
The Fire Signs are as follows:
Aries is Fire at its most forceful. Aries is the brave and fearless Warrior, and in the Northern Hemisphere is the sign at the first blush of Spring. Aries can be brash and bold or can be reckless, depending on how one is inclined to look upon it. Aries is fun-loving and adventurous, but also loves to “rush in where angels fear to tread.” Aries thrives on discipline and needs control in order to become her best.
Aries is ruled by Mars and exalts the Sun. Venus is in detriment in Aries, and Saturn is in fall.
Leo is Fire at its most brilliant. Leo is the Queen, and don’t let anyone forget it! At best, Leo inspires infectious joy in all around her, and one can not help but be dazzled by her presence. More than anything else, a Leo needs to shine. Leo can be generous and magnanimous, but she can also become despondent or even lose her temper if she does not get the love and attention she needs. She can become prone to pride, arrogance, and even narcissism; the solution to this is not to affect a false humility, but instead to work to connect with Leo’s ruler, the Sun, and to allow the Sun to warm her and let that warmth shine through her to others.
Leo is ruled by the Sun. Leo does not exalt any sign. Saturn is in detriment in Leo, and no sign is in fall.
Sagittarius is Fire at its most enthusiastic. Sagittarius is the Explorer and the Philosopher. Sagittarius is the most playful and humorous of all of the fire signs. Sagittarius is curious and is always up for a new adventure, either physical or intellectual. Sagittarius is direct, sometimes to the point of rudeness, and can blunder through social situations. Despite this, most people are willing to forgive Sagittarius’ lack of social graces because of her cheerful nature and charm. Like all the fire signs, Sagittarius can suffer from pride, and in Sagittarius, this can take the form of condescending pontification. More than anything else, Sagittarius needs freedom and cannot abide by restriction of any sort.
Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter and exalts the South Node. Mercury is in detriment in Sagittarius and the North Node is in Fall.