Alchemical Cycle Logo Master's Thesis:
The Elements as an Archetype of Transformation:
An Exploration of Earth, Water, Air, and Fire

| Table of Contents | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Appendix A | Appendix B | Appendix C | References | Bibliography

Chapter 6 – Into the World: Dialogue and the Elemental Cycle

Practical Communication through the Elements

Fire Characteristics and Techniques

It’s hard to miss being part of a Fire dialogue – basically you will know when such a moment occurs and no one will need to tell you.  However, there are some tell-tale signs that can indicate such a state.  Whereas crying in Water is an expression of holding onto personal aspects and in Air is an expression of the joy of sharing a space in mirth, in Fire crying can occur as a manifestation of deep transformation involving both a release and the opening up of new directions; we cry because we are capable of compassion.  In dialogue, you can have the experience of holding something in your mind and heart which then is expressed by another person as if they were speaking on your behalf.  Fire communication can retain aspects from all the previous elements, but often includes lots of nonverbal indicators of assent and participation, such as the nodding of heads and an attentive, open gaze.  When in a Fire dialogue, participants generally have the sense that ‘something is happening’; exchanges are deeply felt and full of meaning, spoken and unspoken.  Awareness is heightened, and a feeling that the line between possibility and actuality is dissolved or dissolving can lead towards an excitement and tendency for action.  The active nature of the Fire element permeates the mood, even being accompanied by physical interactions such as hugging, or the placing of a hand in contact with another in gestures of compassion.  Verbalizations that express moments of insight or realization may occur: “Aha!”, “Wow!”, “I see!” etc.

There are less restrictive parameters for common phrases and keywords that typify Fire communication, because what comes in anew with the Fire element isn’t bound by outer forms – it is something in which each individual directly participates as a member of a larger whole.  To an ‘outsider’ looking in on such an exchange, nothing particular may stand out, and the whole interaction might seem perfectly ordinary.

It is not possible to ‘force’ dialogue; however, moving towards dialogue can be encouraged by moving repeatedly through the elemental cycle into Air.  Generally moving into dialogue requires an already well-established background and history between participants, or at least have a high level of self-actualization.  For this reason, regular interactions over time, particularly with a shared language of process such as that provided by the elemental cycle, can maximize the possibility for dialogue.  Although you can’t plan for dialogue, if you get into a good conversational situation you can try the following techniques.  Let silences lengthen and don’t ‘close them down’ by speaking, rather, speak when ‘called’ to do so.  This is a difficult thing to judge, but if in doubt, wait, and hold on to whatever it is you were going to express until the situation ‘ripens’ for it.  It can help to ask questions that deal with biographical aspects and long-view perspectives.  Ask about motivations.  Pay attention to the whole.  Give up any expectations about where the conversation might go or what it might hold, consciously surrendering your personal will to the potential of a higher will moving between participants.  Trust the development of the dialogue, which can seem like it has a ‘mind of its own’.

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