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The Power of the Elements

If there is an element that I was deeply connected to, attracted by, and fascinated with, it is definitely the Fire. I remember tender moments at my family house in Burgundy, where my favorite experience was preparing and lighting the fireplace with my father.


Apparently, since I was very young, my parents had to monitor me closely as I would often start fires in unexpected places and times. I was obsessed with its power despite the fact that I knew deeply inside me of the potential danger of this element. There was always in this part of me that wanted to test my limits, including my parent's loving authority and control.

Angell Deer
Photo of me at two years old asking to please bring back the Fire

I will only learn 40 years later that Fire carries Gratitude and Anger and is the great teacher of boundaries. But the Fire did not have to remember that anymore; it just had to teach me what I had forgotten.


I am unsure when the perception of the Fire as a sentient being came first to me. Maybe it was already there in my early years of life, and this connection, attraction, and desire for a relationship came not just from me but from the Fire Itself, whispering to me unconscious tales of magic, the old stories of the land, and dripping on my thirsty soul some ancient secret of the universe. I was already fascinated by the unknown and the mystery of life; the Fire had to light the way into it.


Now that I write about this, I also had another deeply rooted passion for the night sky and the stars for as long as I can remember. Obsessed by those lights in the sky, those distant suns, who were often my companions at night, whispering the big question we all have dwelled with: "Are we alone in the universe?".


I don't think I ever lost this connection to the magic. Still, almost 30 years later, as I was setting the Fire for my first vision quest after decades of spiritual search and exploration, I definitely was with this Fire in a deep, long relationship that had led me to the most intimate conversations, great respect but also a sense of belonging with an old friend who had never let me down nor wishes for me anything less than being a brighter light to myself and the world.


Interestingly, I intuitively knew what my Elders and teachers told me later in my life: "The Fire is Alive. The Fire is Sentient. The Fire knows all you need to know." I often think of that, with some nostalgia and some immensely tender love: How, as young children, we intuitively speak to the elements. The Fire, the Water, the Wind, the Earth. And yet, because of cultural voids in our modern cosmology, we never fully attune to the perception of the elements as "being." We stay in a more materialistic view of the world; we do not have stories to hold the precious hearts and minds of the Fire, the Water, the Wind, and the Earth. That is a great tragedy, and I shed tears when I think of it.


To a Native person who has been dwelling in a different cosmology and never left the realm of the animistic view of our reality, seeing such powerful elements as "inert," devoided of life, devoided of Spirit, devoided of will and intelligence, would be seen as a severe pathology, a sign of profound disconnection to the cosmos, the Earth and ourselves, and would be treated seriously with some powerful rituals and ceremonies, most of whom would be to send the "patient" into a vision quest of some sort, to have that person sit with such elements for extended period, until those doors of perception re-open, and we witness and remember the ultimate nature of reality (and of the Self).


Even today, as we walk this world "on fire," with burning forests, flooding or drought, stronger storms, and hurricanes, crackled Earth by the extraction of resources and wars, it seems we still refuse to hear them, listen to them, and return to our sacred belonging with them.


Interesting right? All the elements are getting louder in today's world, and yet we cannot hear them. Or, more accurately, we do not want to listen to them. We are deaf to the natural world while obsessed with the artificial and synthetic voices of our devices, flat screens, and man-made machines.


This loss of hearing is probably the greatest threat to our world. If we cannot hear the wind, the Earth, the Waters, and the Fire wisdom, how will we ever weave their wisdom in our modern cosmology? More importantly, how loud will they need to be before we bow down on our knees, weeping in the face of the destruction we have brought upon ourselves?


So there is a calling, and any silent time alone in the forest, an ancient cave, or a frail mountain trail will reveal those whispers to you. In them, I have found uncomfortable truths and beautiful questions. And maybe, like me, you are more interested in those than in the comfortable lies and ugly answers provided by the artificial knowledge of our arguable modernity?


If so, I will see you around the Fire, on the edge of a river, on the top of a mountain, or simply with our hands in the soil gardening and singing together. Like me, I know you will always be longing for that communion with the elements, the Self, and each other. We all do. We just don't all know that is what we are longing for.

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book "Becoming The Medicine" (Chapter 2, The Power of the Elements). To be published in spring 2024. My First book, "The Sacred Web," is available worldwide and here.

Angell Deer 

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2 comentários

Kevin Henry
Kevin Henry
23 de fev.

I SO look forward to your upcoming book. I hadn't thought about this part that you wrote... "All the elements are getting louder in today's world..." It's so obvious once you stated it. I hadn't thought about it in those terms. Thank you!

Angell Deer
Angell Deer
25 de fev.
Respondendo a

Thank you Kevin. Hope you enjoyed the 1st book. And yes this loudness is very clear once we start paying attention and understanding how our Mother speaks to us. Sending my deep gratitude and blessings. Angell


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