Fire and Water the Alchemy of Life

This summer seems to have been one extreme to the other, first the water deluges and floods of June, followed by short but very hot weeks in late July and now August seems to give way to a strange mix of one minute hot, next minute a down poor.  Like the rich mix of the previous two summer months mixed up.

It is the year of the Water Dragon, so maybe the watery aspect is not so unexpected, but of course the fire of Summer, one of the most potent elements, will not give up without a fight.

Then throughout our summer, we have of course been constantly reminded this year of the power of fire, and how it can bring whole nations together, I refer of course to the Olympic Torch.  Which travelled round the country, town and village, through May, June and into July, finally with the grand opening on Friday 27th July.  It was the end to a sudden and yet incredibly hot week in London.  There are many references to the Torch and what it represents, perhaps one of the simplest  and most succinct is on Wikepedia;

“The Olympic Flame is a symbol of the Olympic Games.[1] Commemorating the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus, its origins lie in ancient Greece, where a fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics. The fire was reintroduced at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, and it has been part of the modern Olympic Games ever since. In contrast to the Olympic flame proper, the torch relay of modern times which transports the flame from Greece to the various designated sites of the games had no ancient precedent and was introduced by Carl Diem at the controversial 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.[2]”

There is no doubt that the symbolism of fire and a flame or light being brought through a place to bring people together has deep roots in the human psyche, the camp fire, the eternal light, the light of the soul and so forth.  Man’s unique relationship with fire is one of the primary things, that sets humans apart from other animals and species on the planet and as the Olympic opening ceremony reminded us it was through the harnessing of the power of fire into many different forms that brought us the industrial revolution, our modern age and with it all the difficulties and challenges associated with  global warming and climate change.

It’s also interesting to reflect that the London 2012 Olympic Park is situated on the River Lee, which was in the past a key part of the transport network to feed the growth of London and provided a link between the London Docks, the heart of the British Empire and into the city and country’s hinterlands.  So here again we have this interesting mix of fire and water.  In the scripts on Chinese Elements there is also the sense that it is the alchemy of fire and water brought together by Earth and Heaven that bring forth the Elixir of life and when mastered or purified, out of water comes the Metal.  So from and elemental view point it’s somewhat interesting to observe here are these games  welcomed in by fire, being played out on the land that brought forward by the industrial revolution through fire and water, set on the banks of the River Lee and River Thames, bringing out the best alchemy of our sports people to bring forward so many medals.  Whatever the much debated legacy that will be left after the games, it’s certainly a place of alchemic change!

Tanya Adams is a Shamanic Practitioner, who works with traditional shamanic techniques of journeying and soul retrieval, as well as space clearing, geomancy.  Working with the Chinese Five Elements to restore balance.  She also worked for a number of years as a Town and Transport Planner and is passionate about the relationship between people and spaces.  For individual, group or workshop consultations email


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