The Transformational Power of Fire: A Ritual of Letting Go

Fire energy, a life giving force, is present in all of us, and it either transforms or it really fucking burns.

For many years of my existence on this planet, I allowed my fierce fire energy to burn wild, to rule my life and my emotions as though I had no control over it…as though “it” was separate from me, when in fact, “it” is an integral part of me, interconnected and intertwined with all the rest of everything that makes me “me”.

From a CODE Model perspective and various Eastern philosophies (Kundalini yogis, traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda) fire energy is the source of creativity, passion and vitality. It generates energy and gives us warmth and the capacity to love and be loved. It enables us to mature and blossom.

The shadow side of fire energy is associated with fear, pain and rage. It can be so destructive to everything in its path. When I think of the destructive power of fire, I think of wildfires and how, once they get going, nothing can control them. I know that feeling all too well, and in one way or another, I’m sure so do you. We live in a culture where fear, pain and rage are driving forces of our life, and yet, these nominalizations associated with fire energy are either to be contained no matter what and never ever let out, or are used as a way to explosively lash out and externalize the built up anger.

The rage of the fire burns deep…

Fire energy corresponds with the qualities of the third chakra, physically located at the core area, and associated with our capacity to act on our own behalf. So if someone feels dis-empowered and stuck, often they will manifest physical diseases in this area. For me, this has come in the form of the generic category of “IBS”.

This very same fire element, however, when owned, can be profoundly transformational. One of the ways to own our own fire, at least from my experience, is to free ourselves from limiting beliefs about who we are based on a past that we still carry and allow to continuously define us.

This post is about my experience with letting go of a heavy past that I carried with me everywhere I went and allowed to continue to shape me despite it being in the past. Its the case that so many of us carry the heavy burdens of the past on our bodies, despite the discomfort…we have a hard time letting go. And yet, letting go we must.

This post is about a single transformational act that allowed me to make more space in my body, to let go with love, to transform fears and rage into tears and catharsis.

Along with the last full Super new moon in Virgo (whatever that means, someone out there knows a lot more than I do but if it impacts oceans and gravity I’m inclined to believe it impacts me too…in fact, I know), I decided to light a beautiful fire (as seen in pic), write a letter of forgiveness and gratitude to my 20 year old self …and burn it, along with all the diaries I have carried with me of a certain period of my life (let’s say, 17 – 24).

Why on earth would I want to get rid of my memories, you might ask?Perhaps I should back up a little to give context. My 20’s were a particularly rough time for me — I would summarize my sate as being , simply, “fucked up”. Abusive, addicted, and stuck. Fire energy all out of whack.

In order to gain some control over that part of my life, in order to own it in a way that honours it and myself, I decided to let my old perceptions of me go, with love and gratitude for all they have taught me. I need not carry the vibration of those times in my body any longer. I get to decide the truth of my own experience, and I chose not to be captive to the old story…and all those diaries represented the old story.

As far as I am concerned, the best way to transform energy is fire. The best way to reclaim Self –fire! The best way to show up for ourselves and claim what’s ours– fire!

So I chose to burn the physical diaries as a symbol of self transformation, as a way to reclaim power, as a way to let go of the story of the past, as a way to own the truth of my own experience…moment to moment to moment.

…and it was incredibly cathartic!

Important questions I pondered to make this decision:

  • What do I need to move away from in order to move toward?
  • Who do I have the power to become?

And now, it is finally done. Years of diaries, and all the negative energies they carried with them, burned to a crisp, transformed into catharsis.

So now, a little about what that experience was like.

As you can perhaps imagine, the years and pages representing difficult times were easy to throw in the fire and watch burn, easy to let go of…unburdening me, liberating me with every page thrown in.

But the first diary, the one of a 17 year old full of love and hope and potential — that felt impossible to burn. I broke down crying for a good while and put it aside.

I realized then, that after all these years, I still harboured much resentment and had chosen, as a self-protective mechanism, to only hang on to and recall the shitty times. Staring at this diary, though, I knew: in order to heal, I needed to mourn. I had to face the loss of something that back then I felt had potential to be beautiful. I had to grieve the love once felt and the deep desire to make a painful relationship work. I had to mourn the deep pain inflicted on my body and Soul because it absolutely didn’t work. I had to chose to allow the pain of knowing that two lost souls cannot comfort each other the way they wish they could comfort themselves, so they hurt each other. I had to mourn the innocence associated with the hurting, because I know that what transpired was not intentional, it was not willed. I know that unless we become aware to the voice of the Soul, we are bound to repeat history, more or less.

I know that no one is coming to save us from ourselves, as no one should, for this is nothing more but an outdated, well-packaged, Disney fairy tale.

So I chose to let go, with love. To make it right within myself. Pretending that the good times weren’t real or weren’t accessible to me or weren’t as forming as the bad has meant I was denying myself the whole truth of my experience of that time. I chose not to do that any longer.

As I continued to burn the pages describing my life then, I felt a sense of catharsis that opened up space within my body. The crying changed the neuropathways of the nerves in my body, it allowed me to let go of an old pattern of holding on to resentments under the guise of self-protection.

I know.

I am safe in my world.

I chose the life I desire to live.

I write the contents of my story. The past does not define me and the future does not scare me.

I AM worthy of self-love and respect, regardless of my past.

This last point is quite relevant, because I frequently find myself fragmenting “me” into different versions without integrating them all. Truth is, without that four year old me powering through and finding ways to cope with instability, without the 16 year old me fighting her way through her world to find justice, without the 22 year old me persisting despite the atrocities of mental health degradation, addiction and abuse…I simply would not be who I am today.

And who I am today is a fierce woman owning her powerful fire, standing strong in her centre and living a life increasingly aligned to her inner Truth, her essence, her Soul, her Sprit (what else can you call it?). A full life, full well knowing she is in charge of it all–the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s incredibly empowering!

It’s true–logically, we  don’t have to go through those painful experiences to learn …and yet, here we are. All human, all fragile, all falliable.

Throughout this process I noticed in my writing that my core values and beliefs remain unchanged. What has changed though, is the coping mechanisms or skills I employ to LISTEN to my inner voice and then act on my own behalf, unapologetically owning MY Truth (notice, not THE truth, for I cannot speak on your behalf). 

With all that said, I am ever-grateful to my past, to the strength I have called upon to not only survive, but fucking thrive. I, like us all, am truly incredible!

Just an FYI, I did not end up burning absolutely everything. I felt there were a few things worthy of keeping with me: sweet cards, some pictures, and notes –just a small handful of the things I hold truly dear to me and which carry only positive vibrations with them. Those things, I cherish.  

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How wonderful you chose this for yourself! Now all that's left is to enjoy the process of self-discovery!