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The Elements : Fire

Element of Fire

In modern-day Wicca and Paganism, there is a good deal of focus on the four elements – Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. A few traditions of Wicca also include a fifth element, which is Spirit or Self.

The concept is hardly a new one. A Greek philosopher named Empedocles is credited with the cosmogenic theory of these four elements being the root of all existing matter. Unfortunately, much of Empedocles’ writing has been lost, but his ideas remain with us today and are widely accepted by most Pagans and Wiccans.

Each of the elements is associated with traits and meanings, as well as with directions on the compass. The following directional associations are for the Northern hemisphere; readers in the Southern hemisphere should use the opposite correspondences.

Fire

Fire is a purifying, masculine energy, associated with the South, and connected to strong will and energy. Fire both creates and destroys, and symbolizes the fertility of the God. Fire can heal or harm, and can bring about new life or destroy the old and worn. In Tarot, Fire is connected to the Wand suit. For color correspondences, use red and orange for Fire

The element of Fire is both creative and destructive, its qualities are Brightness, Thinness and Motion and its mode is Active. It is fire that we and our ancestors used to warm our homes, we use it to cook our food, we sit around it to ward of the darkness of night, and it fuels our passions. Fire, unlike the other elements, does not exist in a natural state. Its physical form can only take place by consuming some other element. Fire is the transformer, converting the energy of other objects into other forms: heat, light, ash, and smoke.

To feel the manifestations of this power, go out on on sunny day and feel the warmth and light of the Sun, hear the crackling of logs and smell of smoke from a burning fire. As you gaze into the transformational flame of a candle, immerse yourself in the energy of Fire. Fire is the natural element of animals and mankind, and they “have, in their natures, a most fiery force, and also spring from celestial sources.”

In order to gain benefit from the energy of this element, we need to control Fire’s destructive aspect. When we light a candle, we are not only calling upon the energy of Fire, we are also limiting its power. This destructive aspect should not be seen as negative, forest fires, actually help, clearing away underbrush and encouraging seeds lying dormant within the Earth to burst forth into new life.

Fire

Fire is a masculine element, its aspects being change, passion, creativity, motivation, will power, drive and sensuality. It is sexuality, both physical and spiritual. Fire is used in spells, rituals and candle magick for healing, purification, sex, breaking bad habits or destroying illness and disease. Fire is the element of authority and leadership.

The properties of Fire, Heat, Making things fruitful, Celestial light, Giving Life to all things. Its opposite the Infernal Fire are a parching heat, consuming all things and darkness, making all things barren.

Each of the four cardinal elements – earth, air, fire and water – can be incorporated into magical practice and ritual. Depending on your needs and intent, you may find yourself drawn to one of these elements more so that the others.

Connected to the South, Fire is a purifying, masculine energy, and connected to strong will and energy. Fire both creates and destroys, and symbolizes the fertility of the God. Fire can heal or harm, and can bring about new life or destroy the old and worn. In Tarot, Fire is connected to the Wand suit (although in some interpretations, it is associated with Swords). For color correspondences, use red and orange for Fire associations.

Let’s look at some of the many magical myths and legends surrounding fire:
Fire Spirits & Elemental Beings:

In many magical traditions, fire is associated with various spirits and elemental beings. For instance, the salamander is an elemental entity connected with the power of fire – and this isn’t your basic garden lizard, but a magical, fantastical creature. Other fire-associated beings include the phoenix – the bird that burns itself to death and then is reborn from its own ashes – and dragons, known in many cultures as fire-breathing destroyers.
The Magic of Fire:

Fire has been important to mankind since the beginning of time. It was not only a method of cooking one’s food, but it could mean the difference between life and death on a frigid winter night. To keep a fire burning in the hearth was to ensure that one’s family might survive another day. Fire is typically seen as a bit of a magical paradox, because in addition to its role as destroyer, it can also create and regenerate. The ability to control fire – to not only harness it, but use it to suit our own needs – is one of the things that separates humans from animals. However, according to ancient myths, this has not always been the case.

Fire appears in legends going back to the classical period. The Greeks told the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods in order to give it to man – thus leading to the advancement and development of civilization itself. This theme, of the theft of fire, appears in a number of myths from different culture. A Cherokee legend tells of Grandmother Spider, who stole fire from the sun, hid it in a clay pot, and gave it to the People so they could see in the darkness. A Hindu text known as the Rig Veda related the story of Mātariśvan, the hero who stole fire that had been hidden away from the eyes of man.

The Power of Fire

Fire is sometimes associated with deities of trickery and chaos – probably because while we may think we have domination over it, ultimately it is the fire itself that is in control. Fire is often connected with Loki, the Norse god of chaos, and the Greek Hephaestus (who appears in Roman legend as Vulcan) the god of metalworking, who demonstrates no small amount of deceit.
Fire and Folktales:

Fire appears in a number of folktales from around the world, many of which have to do with magical superstitions. In parts of England, the shape of cinders which jumped out of the hearth often foretold a major event – a birth, a death, or the arrival of an important visitor.

In parts of the Pacific Islands, hearths were guarded by small statues of old women. The old woman, or hearth mother, protected the fire and prevented it from burning out.

The Devil himself appears in some fire-related folktales. In parts of Europe, it is believed that if a fire won’t draw properly, it’s because the Devil is lurking nearby. In other areas, people are warned not to toss bread crusts into the fireplace, because it will attract the Devil (although there’s no clear explanation of what the Devil might want with burnt bread crusts).

Japanese children are told that if they play with fire, they will become chronic bed-wetters – a perfect way to prevent pyromania!

A German folktale claims that fire should never be given away from the house of a woman within the first six weeks after childbirth. Another tale says that if a maid is starting a fire from tinder, she should use strips from mens’ shirts as tinder – cloth from women’s garments will never catch a flame.

Irish landscape photography – in Black and White, a gallery

Waterford Coastline, Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Waterford Coastline,
Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

The Irish Landscape offers some of the most wonderful views in this part of Europe, with rolling mountains and rocky, spectacular coastlines, there are many forests and powerful flowing rivers.

One of the area’s of photography I love the most is black and white and I feel that the Irish landscape is made for black and white images, often the days are wet and stormy and dark. I feel that shooting images in black and white captures these atmospheric days very well. On good weather days in the summer months getting out early or late to capture the sun low in the sky also works very well in a black and white photograph.

Below are some of the black and white images I am most happy with, so far during 2014.

Irish landscape photography – Black and White Gallery

Waterford coast line 5

Waterford coast line 1

Allihies Copper Mines 2

Allihies Copper Mines 1

Down in deep water

River Nore KIlkennty 1

Irish Forestry Gallery 2

Irish Forestry Gallery 4

Irish Forestry Gallery 7

The Rivers flow 02

The Rivers flow 03

The Rivers flow 05

Monday Morning at the Waterfall 1

Monday Morning at the Waterfall 5

The Trees by the river bank 3

The Trees by the river bank 1

High river flow 6

High river flow 3

High river flow 11

High river flow 7

The Bonane stone circle and an Altar for the Moon – The Pagan Moon deity : Elatha.

Bonane Stone circle and Alter for the Moon. Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Bonane Stone circle and Alter for the Moon.
Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Bonane stone circle and altar of the Moon

During the summer I was lucky enough to get to visit the Bonane stone circle and Alter located near Kenmare , county Kerry. This stone circle was cleared of trees and opened to the full view of the public in current times and it is a great example of a pagan stone circle.

For many centuries it has puzzled historians as to what function these circle served , some think they marks a place of worship others that they acted as a way of measuring the passage of the the year, using the shadows that they cast on the ground. The location and length of these shadows changing as the year passes.

Here at Bonane however it was discovered that the moon was being tracked over an 18.6 year period, it could be that the moon was being worshiped during its movement through the heavens.

They did this by placing an altar about a mile away on a hill side ridge and placed in-line with the center of the stone circle. The most amazing thing is than only every 18.6 years does the moon appear to rise behind the altar at its most southerly point on the horizon and only if you are standing in the center of the stone circle.

The last time this event took place was in 2006 and the next time will be during the Month of June in 2024.

The people who live here in Kerry some 5000 years ago must have been very skilled at astronomy as predicting the movement of the moon has been very difficult until in modern times with the invention of small machines called Orrery and then the use of computers have modern man been able to do so.

See : The Moon Cycles

The task they achieved here is truly amazing and takes a little time to digest, just how they moved three very large stones and placed them on a hill side ridge and then alined a stone circle a good mile away on another hill side and did so with this 18.6 years moon cycle in mind, even today some 5000 years later their achievement is still working.

The difference in thinking between a stone circle being used for the movement of the sun or the moon, or both – is very interesting. As opposed to being used to the help in planting of crops etc, this would appear to imply a function of worship but of what or of who, was it simply the moon or a moon God?

Well the main Pagan deity for this part of the world is thought to be : Elatha

Elatha

Overview

Elatha is quoted as being the “The beautiful Miltonic prince of darkness with golden hair”. He was the son of Dalbaech and a king of the Fomor, he was father of Bres by Eri, a woman of the Tuatha Dé Danann. He came to her over the sea in a vessel of silver, himself having the appearance of a young man with yellow hair, wearing clothes of gold and five gold torcs. He was one of the Fomor who took part in the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh.

During the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh, Elatha, son of Dalbaech, watched over Dagda’s magic harp, Uaithne, sometimes called Dur-da-Bla, “the Oak of Two Blossoms,” and sometimes Coir-cethar-chuin, “the Four-Angled Music.” He is said to have a sense of humor and a sense of nobility.

Though considered to be the Fomorian father of Eochu Bres, Elatha (Elada) was also the father of the Dagda, Ogma, a son named Delbaeth, and Elloth (the father of Manannan mac Lir) according to the Lebor Gabála Érenn. The mother of these Tuatha De Danann chiefs may have been Ethne, the mother of Lug, based on Ogma’ often cited matronymic “mac Ethliu.” Since Ethne was Fomorian, this means they are all Fomorians. This is rather confusing, but may betray the battle between the two groups as actually being about the new generation of gods displacing the older generation.

More …..

Bonane Stone circle and Altar to the Moon – Gallery

Altar of the moon 1

Altar of the moon 2

Altar of the moon 3

Altar of the moon 4

Altar of the moon 5

Jenkinstown, woodland park , County Kilkenny

Jenkinstown , Forest Park, County Kilkenny. Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Jenkinstown , Forest Park County Kilkenny.
Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Jenkinstown Forest park in County Kilkenny is one of my most loved Local places, the walks around the Forest here are amazing at anytime of the year but just now the leaves are starting to turn golden yellow and fall after a frost or period of high wind.

The Jenkinstown estate has a long history and the below image shows the castle that once stood here until at least the time this image was taken during 1930.

Jenkinstown park Kilkenny 1930.

Part of the castle still stands and acts as a home for a local musician.

The park contains some great old buildings such as the round store house and animal shelter that these days offers a great place to read or shelter from a shower on a wet day.

Jenkinstown woodland park , County Kilkenny : Gallery

Jenkinstown park Kilkenny 3

Jenkinstown park Kilkenny 6

Jenkinstown park Kilkenny 2

Jenkinstown park Kilkenny 1

Jenkinstown park Kilkenny 4

Jenkinstown park Kilkenny 5

A visit two Derrynaflan island, the Derrynaflan hoard and the changes in the law.

Derrynaflan Island, County Tipperary Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Derrynaflan Island, County Tipperary
Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

During what was a great summer we took a family visit to Derrynaflan island, County Tipperary.

The weather was just great and the visit to this magical Island just fascinating. It is on this island that in 1980 a Father and his son found one of Europe’s and Ireland’s most important treasures and in the process changed the Irish laws forever, as below :

Derrynaflan Hoard

Discovering the Hoard

Derrynaflan Chalice 7

One of the most spectacular hoard discoveries in Ireland, which led first to an increase in enthusiasm for metal detecting as a hobby, but ultimately contributed to the prohibition of unlicensed searching for archaeological material.

On 17 February 1980, Michael Webb and his son, also called Michael, discovered a significant hoard of early church treasure in Derrynaflan, in the townland of Lurgoe, County Tipperary, using metal detectors (Kelly 1994: 213; O’Riordain 1983: 1). The hoard included a chalice, a bronze strainer ladle and a paten (a kind of small plate) (and see Ryan 1983 for a detailed description), and the discovery was described as ‘one of the most exciting events in the history of Irish art’ (Stalley 1990: 186). The large monastic enclosure in which the hoard was found was partially protected as a National Monument (Kelly 1993: 378). The finders reported their discovery to an archaeologist from University College Cork, Dr. Elizabeth Shee Twohig (Kelly, pers. comm., 2012), who advised them that they must take the finds to the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin (Houses of the Oireachtas 1986; O’Riordain 1983: 1). Under Irish law at that time, the finders were entitled to a reward for making the discovery, in this case decided at IR£10,000 (Houses of the Oireachtas 1986), although this was initially rejected by the finders as insufficient compared to the value of the find (Kelly 1994: 213).

Derrynaflan Chalice 1

Six years later, the High Court made a ruling that the find or its value (estimated at IR£5.5 million) should be returned to the finders (Kelly 1994: 113). The public mood turned against the Webbs, who were shown on the main evening television news drinking champagne to celebrate the ruling. Ireland was then in deep recession with massive public service cuts which led to resentment that the Webbs might benefit to the tune of IR£5.5 million from the public purse (Kelly, pers comm., 2012). A year later, in 1987, a further final judgement was delivered by the Supreme Court that the Derrynaflan Hoard in fact belonged to the state and not to the finders (Kelly 1995a). The finders finally received a reward of IR£50,000 (Kelly 1994: 214).

The impact of the case on Irish law concerning the protection of heritage was significant. Debates in the Seánad Éireann (upper house of the Irish Parliament) in 1986 indicate the split in opinions regarding the validity of the claim of the finders to the hoard (as had been decided in court the previous year), with one Senator suggesting that the state should have been trying to prove that the Webbs had no legal claim to the hoard, one Senator regarding such discoveries as no more than looting, and another claiming that the finders should instead be praised for the care with which they removed the hoard from the ground and for going to the National Museum to report the discovery (Houses of the Oireachtas 1986). In 1987 the National Monuments (Amendment) Bill, which included clauses on metal detecting and ancient shipwrecks (another area becoming vulnerable to looting), passed through its final stages in the Dáil Éireann (lower house of the Irish Parliament) (Gosling 1987: 23).

Ireland’s National Monuments Act 1930 had prohibited the excavation of archaeological objects other than under license (Kelly 1995a). However, the maximum fine for a successful prosecution at that time, at IR£10[1], proved not to be a strong deterrent (Kelly 1995b: 235). The discovery of the Derrynaflan Hoard had reputedly contributed to the growth of the metal detecting hobby in Ireland, which by the time of the discovery saw hobbyists searching not only ploughed land and other locations away from archaeological sites, but also on known archaeological sites (Kelly 1993: 378). A 2012 Irish news item, which described an athlete as having ‘more gold than they found in Derrynaflan’ (Keane 2012) indicates that the finding of the hoard is still recalled in Irish popular memory. However, with the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1987, ‘it became illegal to search for archaeological objects with metal detectors or other electronic detecting devices without license’. A further National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994 specified the state ownership of archaeological objects, and made it ‘an offence to trade in unreported antiquities, or withhold information about archaeological discoveries’ (Kelly 1995a). Under the 1994 legislation, the maximum penalty was also increased to a fine of IR£50,000 and five years imprisonment (National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994, Section 13). The National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1987 had been in preparation for many years and so was not a direct reaction solely to the controversy surrounding the hoard (Kelly, pers. comm., 2012), although there were observations made that the upsurge in metal detecting as a result of the discovery led to changes in the law (Kelly 1994: 214).

Ref : http://traffickingculture.org/encyclopedia/case-studies/derrynaflan-hoard/

A visit two Derrynaflan island Gallery

Derrynaflan Chalice 6

Derrynaflan Chalice 5

Derrynaflan Chalice 4

Derrynaflan Chalice 3

Derrynaflan Island, County Tipperary Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Monday morning from the mountain lane ( Images and a Poem by : Douglas Fraser – 1968 )

The mountain Lane, GlenPatrick , County Waterford, Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

The mountain Lane,
GlenPatrick , County Waterford,
Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Monday morning and what better way to start a new week than a walk through the hills above the town of Clonmel , county Tipperary.

This old walk goes over the foot hills just below the Comeragh mountains and into county Waterford and offers some of the best views in the South of Ireland, I share some of it here with one of my most loved Mountain Poems by Douglas Fraser, written in 1968.

Freedom of the Hills

By: Douglas Fraser – 1968

Mine is the freedom of the tranquil hills
When vagrant breezes bend the sinewy grass,
While sunshine on the widespread landscape spills
And light as down the fleet cloud-shadowed pass.

Mine, still, that freedom when the storm-clouds race,
Cracking their whips against defiant crags
And mists swirl boiling up from inky space
To vanish on the instant, torn to rags.

Snow and mist in the Mountains.

When winter grips the mountains in a vice,
Silently stifling with its pall of snow,
Checking the streams, draping the rocks in ice,
Still to their mantled summits I would go.

Sun-drenched, I sense the message they impart;
Storm-lashed, I hear it sing through every vein;
Among the snows it whispers to my heart
“Here is your freedom. Taste – and come again.”

Gallery

Monday down an Irish lane 10

Monday down an Irish lane 11

Monday down an Irish lane 14

Monday down an Irish lane 30

Monday down an Irish lane 20

Monday down an Irish lane 33

October’s Party By : George Cooper

October, In Gold she looks their best; Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

October, In Gold she looks their best;
Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

October’s Party

By: George Cooper

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came—
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.

Then, in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played,
The party closed at sundown,
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly “hands around.”

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