Succeeding with the Fire Energy, Ancient Tips for the 21st Century
Determined to succeed with your visions and passion, your unique life’s spark? Even the gods, right back through the most ancient mythology, are given a run for their money when pursuing the fire energy.
When one of the most powerful fire gods, Prometheus, took fire from Zeus and gave it to humanity he was chained to a rock for eons. Each day he suffered the agony of his liver being pecked out by an eagle, while each night it regenerated only to be pecked out again. A bit intense!
Prometheus takes Zeus’s fire and Zeus takes his
The Roman name for Zeus is Jupiter and the planet Jupiter is everything to do with fire and desire. Zeus/Jupiter was an excessively passionate god constantly chasing pleasure and the good life. Jupiter is also associated with the liver and the eagle, but deeper than that, the cultures and clans we belong to. When you put yourself out there with your life force, what happens? Does your culture expect you to participate in life-destroying rituals, such as heavy drinking, so much so that your liver feels pecked out? Do you have free time to soar like an eagle or does someone keep an eagle-eye on you to make sure you don’t get out of line?
Sometimes we do all kinds of things to grab onto fire rather than develop our own. Yet chasing external fire, rather than identifying our own unique offering, might see us tied down like Prometheus. While chained to the rock, Prometheus had enforced time to consider not only his own lost dreams and passions, but also how others feel when they lose theirs. Despite being a powerful fire god, he was unable to participate in life and felt controlled and powerless.
The god fire within – What is that?
How can we get out of the Underworld and live our fire successfully? How can we not fall into the trap of quick fixes that see our inner flame only temporarily lit like a match? According to many spiritual teachings, the fire energy – i.e. vision, creativity, passion – stems from original spirit, and each of us has a uniquely individualised strand of that god fire within. How can we be sure we are honestly following this?
Jupiter-type cultural conditioning can lead us to suppress our true fire and substitute it with what’s expected. How can we break through the glass ceiling of ‘no’ so that our desires don’t get buried as if they are somehow taboo, wrong or too intoxicating or powerful to face. But are they really?
Chiron frees Prometheus and understands something deep
Some versions of the Prometheus myth involve Chiron and Hercules. Zeus/Jupiter had proclaimed that Prometheus could only be freed by another god who would willingly choose to suffer in his place on the rock, and one day Chiron did the unthinkable and decided to do just that. Chiron was known as the ‘wounded healer’. Even though he was a god, he suffered great emotional and physical wounds. He developed many remedies but despite successes, he never found permanent cures and he and the humans he helped still suffered.
Even though immortal, Chiron died after taking Prometheus’s place splayed on the rock and was down in the Underworld for three days and three nights. When we ‘take the place of’ – i.e. ‘fully be with’ – the suffering of others, we deeply contact the ‘cauldron of the heart pain of the all’. Not fun at first but as we hold and allow this, we find the soft hush within, the calm in the centre that brings the secret of healing. Chiron felt Prometheus’s suffering, and Zeus’s suffering, and the suffering of all those in the Underworld. When we truly connect to another’s suffering we would never hurt their fire, their heart core, unless in a do-or-die their fire was set on destroying ours. Each person’s individual fire is so precious and sacred to their own life journey. This understanding connects us to a love for all beings, often felt by monks and hermits who spend hours meditating linked to the heart of the all.
Thank you Hercules – Getting out of the Underworld
But we can feel and understand this all we like, yet we are still in the Underworld, not in the outer world sharing the gift of our personalised inner fire. How do we get out? Just as Chiron helped free Prometheus, now Hercules helps free Chiron, when he himself deeply connects with the suffering of Chiron, his old teacher, whose newfound healing wisdom cannot be shared while he is in the Underworld. You might know Hercules as the victorious hero of the 12 Labours. Some say each labour is representative of a sign of the zodiac, showing Hercules must gain the wisdom of all experiences. At the point in this myth that we meet Hercules, he displays this wisdom, but earlier in the myth he wasn’t so wise.
Hercules is connected with the Mars energy, which is about asserting and protecting personal desire. When our Mars/Hercules energy is healthy we are brave warriors who respond with care to situations by identifying correct actions, yet when our Hercules energy is not yet matured or out of balance we get blindsided by misdirected fire (naivety, reactivity, anger etc).
Earlier, when less mature, Hercules seriously wounded his teacher Chiron with a poison arrow, leading to Chiron’s most painful suffering that he couldn’t cure. But now in the myth, Hercules feels gutted over Chiron’s pain and courageously goes down on his knees to Zeus/Jupiter and begs for Chiron to be raised from the dead. This is like the President of Earth going down on his knees to the President of the Galaxy.
The Heart of the Matter
Hercules displays the humility of the heart in doing such an act. He has love for Chiron, sadness for his past contributions to Chiron’s suffering, and the courage to face that Zeus/Jupiter might strike him down or chain him to the rock in Chiron’s place. Plus Hercules has the integrated confidence of the 12 Labours to trust he will find a way out if Zeus is merciless, especially after witnessing Chiron’s heart example. And his mature vulnerability allows him to act on his passionate hope that Zeus/Jupiter will open to compassion.
Finally, Zeus/Jupiter resurrects Chiron from the dead. A huge celebration unfolds and Chiron is invited to join the gods, who create a constellation in his honour. Hercules demonstrated to the gods that if one of the most powerful humans (who are the most dangerous if caught up in ego) knew how to use fire with heart, it was time to trust humans and their spirit counterparts again with fire. For what good would compassion and leniency have been if Zeus/Jupiter released Prometheus and Chiron but great damage still happened through wrong use of fire?
Surviving the Initiation into right use of Fire and Success
Prometheus, Chiron and Hercules were strong powerful beings whose personal loss connected them to the consequences of everyone’s loss when something goes wrong with the fire energy. When we sit with the pain of loss of fire and the point of view of all who have lost theirs, we bring humility and greater intelligence to our own use of the fire within.
The myths seem to indicate that an initiation into right use of the fire energy requires ‘going down’ at certain turning points in our growth until we can be trusted by the gods to use fire properly, and only then will the gods let us ‘come up’, at which point they celebrate as we join them.
© Michelle Proctor, www.radiantliving.com.au