Lesson Four
The Fire of the Soul

The South is associated with the physical Fire Element and the midday Sun. The southern direction is a very interesting and polarizing direction. Each direction has its positive and negative aspects, but nowhere is that polarization more apparent than with the energies associated with the South.

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The southern direction is at the apex of solar and magnetic expression. This is the maximum of expression of Life Force Energy in physical manifestation. From this point forward, Life Force Energy makes a drastic turn inward. In fact, the transition is unbelievably drastic. (More on that later...)

In the Vedic tradition, the South is the home of the god of Death, Yama. Yama is considered the first living entity to die. Therefore, he is worshiped when one wants to surpass death. In the pre-Christian Norse tradition, the giant Ymir's body is dismantled by Odin (consciousness) to create the external Universe. Linguistically, the names "Yama" and "Ymir" come from the same proto Indo-European root "Yewos." Yewos has connotations with fermentation. The Norse creation myth tells of Ymir's feet mating with each other to create matter. This seems to indicate that Ymir was expanding ("fermenting") in a manner similar with the monster in the 1950's iconic horror movie "The Blob."

In terms of creation, it is necessary for Life Force and Matter to coalesce and "ferment" in order to create the physical Universe, but at some point we need to introduce a limiting factor to stop that expansion. We need to create boundaries. This is achieved through the boundaries created by Law. Yama is highly associated with religious law. Warfare at it's highest function is designed to halt unchecked lawless aggression. Warriors are required to selflessly sacrifice their lives for the welfare of others. This is exactly what Yama/Ymir does for all life in middle earth. Without Ymir's sacrifice of his body to delineate the external Universe, no physical life would be able to manifest. Yama in Vedic Sanskrit also means "limitation." Yogis wishing to achieve mastery in Yoga must observe Yamas (restrictions) such as fasting, silence, non-violence, celibacy, etc...

It is within the limitations of the Cosmos that we experience our lives. Our Souls are Infinite. We need to limit the Soul in a finite body in order to spiritually mature. We incarnate in order for the Soul to experience limitation and therefore, growth. Without the challenge of limitation, we would not learn, grow or mature. Without the limitations of Death and laws of Nature, our lives would have no meaning, no immediacy. This is one lesson of the South.

Elementally speaking, the South is the home of the Fire Element. At this point, we need to distinguish this external type of flame from the internal spiritual fires of the ING Rune and Kundalini. In the South-East we experienced the internal spiritual fire. In the South we are working with the external fire. In the SE, the fire of AGNI/ING is expressed through personal and spiritual evolution. Here in the South we are dealing with the external Fire element that can either create evolution through controlled destruction or if unchecked this fire can bring about total destruction through entropy.

Sometimes, destruction is necessary. In Nature when forests become too overgrown, wildfires will burn down much of the excess growth and make way for new trees and plants to grow. The ashes from the burned plants adds much needed minerals to the soil which nurture new plant life. Some trees cannot reproduce without regular wildfires. The stately sequoia tree, which is the largest living organism on the planet cannot release it's tiny seeds without the heat from regular wildfires. So, the destructive aspect of Fire is necessary for life.

Energetically speaking, magnetic Life Force has traveled from the North East where it was first gestated and now it is fully expressed itself in the physical realm in the South. From here, Life Force Energy has reached its maximum potential and in order to continue to grow, it must undergo dynamic transformation through fire. In terms of the human soul, in the South, individual Spirit has reached its zenith in regards to personal expression. From here, the Soul will travel to the SW direction which is the underworld. In the SW, that which is excessive will be recycled. But first, the Soul must experience the dynamic, evolutionary purification that comes with transformative fire.

The southern direction is the most pronounced expression of Life Force and simultaneously it is the expression of physical death, destruction and evolutionary transformation. The South is represented by the gods of War and the gods of Death. Depending on how we interface with these energies, we can experience tremendous personal power or rampant destruction.

The South and Warfare
No one wants to experience war. The highest expression of warfare is, of course, spiritual warfare. But, in certain instances, like with the rise of Nazi Germany, few would argue against the use of violence in defending one's freedom from that kind of tyranny. We may disagree about whether or not war was absolutely necessary, but no one can condemn those who chose to sacrifice their lives to protect innocent people from such cruelty and evil.

The Soul
For Wizards, the South is the home of the Spiritual Warrior and personal expression. By personal expression, we are speaking of the highest individual expression of the Soul. The challenge for the South is to find and express our highest spiritual identity whilst avoiding the pitfalls of ego and limited self. To do that, we must "fight" against our selfish, narcissistic instincts. Our Soul is said to reside in our heart center. When we operate from our highest Soul essence, we radiate our spiritual identity in ways that are harmonious with the world and others. When people or situations seek to persuade us into subduing our spiritual integrity, then we need to "do battle" against them. The challenge is to be true to our Souls while being tolerant of others. When others' actions or beliefs become a hindrance, then we have a spiritual duty to uphold and defend our own values and help others to experience and express their personal values. This is the true role of the spiritual warrior.

The Myth of Baldur

In my ancestral mythology, the challenge of expressing the true nature of the Soul is expressed in the deity known as Baldur. The myth of Baldur goes like this: Baldur was the shining deity of Asgard. All the gods loved to be near him because of the brilliance of his spiritual radiance. His mother, Queen Frigga had persuaded all beings to promise to never harm Baldur. This made him invulnerable to any attack. For fun, the gods would gather round and hurl weapons at Baldur to watch them either splinter upon contact or the weapons would willingly avoid him.

Whenever the weapons would explode upon contact with Baldur, the gods would erupt in laughter. The gods would often get drunk and gather around Baldur and hurl weapons at him for fun. Loki witnessed this spectacle and was deeply offended. He felt that the blessing of Frigga was sacred and should not be mocked. Seeing the gods abuse the blessing of Baldur, Loki found the one being who was not bound by Frigga's blessing. The Mistletoe was deemed by Frigga to be too young to make any oaths, so Frigga left mistletoe out of the promise to never hurt Baldur. Figuring that mistletoe would never seek to harm Baldur anyway, she did not worry about this omission. During one of the gods drunken parties, as usual, they began hurling weapons at Baldur. Loki, took a sprig of mistletoe and gave it to Baldur's blind brother whose name translates to mean "Ignorance." Loki said, "Hey, Ignorance, why not join in the fun and shoot this arrow at Baldur?" Ignorance asked Loki to aim the arrow for him because he was blind. When Ignorance loosed the arrow, the Mistletoe who was not aware of the blessing of Frigga, pierced Baldur's flesh and killed him. Baldur by cosmic law since he did not die in battle, was sent to the underworld (located in the South-West).

When Frigga heard of the news of Baldur's death, she sought his release from the goddess of the underworld, Hella. Hella agreed to release Baldur if Frigga could get every being in the Cosmos to weep for Baldur. This was no problem because everything loved and missed Baldur's brilliance. All beings readily wept for Baldur except for one giantess named "Gratitude." She did not weep for Baldur because she did not miss him. Why not? Because gratitude never takes anything or anyone for granted. It is suggested in the mythology that that the giantess named Gratitude was actually Loki in disguise. As the trickster god of evolution, Loki's message is clear: Make sure to appreciate the radiant beauty of the Soul while you can. Because once it is gone, you will weep with sadness.

The gods did not appreciate the true significance of Baldur when they had him in their midst every day. Instead of basking in his glorious radiance, they chose to indulge in petty spectacles that aggrandized their egos. Without realizing it, they mocked the eternal nature of the soul.

Now that Baldur is trapped in the underworld, the whole Universe mourns his death during the winter solstice and prays for his return. This is why we still hang Mistletoe at Christmas. This is a pre-Christian pagan symbol of the Soul that is buried under our earthly flesh. We kiss under the mistletoe because Frigga has asked us to remember the soul with kindness and love rather than the tragedy of weapons of war.

The connections of the death of Baldur and his hoped for resurrection to the death and resurrection of Jesus is obvious and this is why Mistletoe was incorporated into the Christian celebration of Christmas.

This myth represents the challenge of incarnated life. Because our Souls are imprisoned beneath our flesh, we cannot fully express our divine radiance without a fierce battle.

Another mythological connection from my ancestry to the Fire of the South is symbolized by the Fire demon, Surt who is prophesied to unleash the entropic fires of the Southern realm of Muspelheim (Heat Home) onto Middle Earth resulting in the apocolypse called Ragnarock. This kind of Fire is different than the spiritual fire of Ing in the South East. This external Fire is the destructive force of entropy.

The pagan Greeks had a similar understanding of the duality of Fire. The pre-Christian Greeks believed that there were two kinds of Fire: One was the spiritually healing Celestial Fire that came from the sun. The other was destructive Fire from beneath the Earth.

In the Temple of Athena, the sacred lamps were lit only with the oil of olives that had not yet fallen to the ground. It was thought that if anything touched the ground that it was tainted by the subterranean fire. The lamps were filled only with oil from olives that had not touched the earth. The wicks in the lamps were never lit from existing fire but were lit each dawn from rays of the sun through a magnifying glass. Therefore, the fire of the sacred lamps had no connection to subterranean fires whatsoever.

The pagan Greeks would be mortified if they knew that one day we would power our vehicles and cities exclusively from subterranean oil. They would be correct in their horror. Our use of fossil fuels is responsible for our current global warming crisis. This year (2012) the entire globe has seen unprecedented record highs in temperature. As I write this, here in Boise, we have had temperatures almost 20 degrees above normal for at least one week with no respite predicted. Some might argue that the fires of Ragnarock are already upon us.

In firefighting there is a strategy for battling wildfires called "Fighting fire with fire." This is the strategy of the Southern direction for wizards in modern times. Spiritual warriors seek to stand up against the destructive entropy of ignorance and selfishness that seeks to destroy Mother Earth through entropic heat. We use the fire of spiritual warfare to combat the entropic fires of ignorance, selfishness and greed.

Week four exercises and ritual will help you purify your ego and allow the fires of your soul to be used against ignorance within and without.

Week Four Ritual:
The best time to start the Ritual vow for the South is on a Tuesday between 6:00 - 9:00 ( a.m. or p.m.) Tuesday at 6-7:30 is the time for planet Mars. Tuesday at 7:30-9 is the time for the planet Jupiter. For those with a martial personality bent, you may want to practice your ritual between 6 and 7:30. For those with a more spiritual personality bent, you may start your practice at 7:30. If you are a spiritual warrior, you can not go wrong with the combined powers of Jupiter and Mars. This is because the Ether Element of Jupiter has the ability to both stimulate and pacify the excessive fire of Mars.

Before beginning your practice, set up your altar in the South. Create a Five Element altar as before with emphasis on the Flame of the candle. A red candle is best. You may also place a statue or other representation of your favorite war deity or mythological or even historical figure that best represents the spiritual warrior ideal.

You will also want to find any books, music, DVDs or videos that act as symbols of divine warriors to your subconscious. This can include war movies, fantasy movies, fantasy novels, mythology or even documentaries about historical heroic individuals that sacrificed their lives to defend or protect others. Examples would be Revolutionary war heros, Mythological warriors or even activists who fought against tryanny through non-violence such as Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King or anybody that represents a hero to you. ThunderWizard apprentices may also enjoy the legend of Beowulf, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, etc... Whatever symbol or person you choose should be very inspiring to you.

Here are some suggestions for Warrior deities to incorporate into your practice.

Baldur (Norse)
Thunor/Thor (Anglo-Saxon/Norse)
Mars (Roman deity)
Mars (planet)
Rudra (Vedic Storm God)
Indra (Vedic Thunder god)
Hanuman (Hindu warrior representing Life Force Energy)
Tyr (Norse god of victory and self-restraint)

Some suggested mantras for the South:
"Ong Thoong Thunoraya Nama" (Thunor/Thor)
"Ong Ang Angarakaya Nama" (Vedic mantra for planet Mars)
"Ong Rudraya Nama" (Rudra, the Vedic storm god)
"Ong Indraya Nama" (Indra)
"Ong Hung Rudraya Hanumate Nama" (Hanuman)

All of these mantras are safe, but please be careful with the Mars mantra. You can see that our English word "anger" is embedded in the Vedic name for the planet Mars "Angaraka" which means "Smoldering." If you are drawn to warriors, the fire of Mars can be helpful. If anger is an issue for you or makes you uncomfortable, then work with those deities that have aspects of Jupiter, namely, Indra, Thunor or Hanuman. These deities are powerful war deities, but they can also calm excessive fire of Mars.

If you do not wish to chant a mantra, you may instead chant the name of Baldur, Tyr or the Sawul rune or just chant the word "Soul." (Sawul is Old English for both Sun and Soul.) The word Sawul literally means "The Celestial Fire of the Eternal Spirit." If you choose to chant the Sawul Rune Tyr or Baldur, do not chant a mantra. Pick one method only please.

At any time during your chanting, if you feel too much heat, anger, anxiety or if you get a headache, these are all signs that the fiery Mars energy is not compatible with your energy based on your astrological, energy makeup. If you feel any discomfort or too much anger, stop any chanting immediately. Instead, pay humble respects to the power of the Fire of the South and imagine the Earthly subterranean Fire being pacified by cooling Celestial Rays of the Sun. You can also chant the mantra "Ong Nama Shivaya" to balance the elements.

If you are a warrior by nature, you can imagine a powerful unstoppable energy such as lightning or a heavenly hammer forcefully descending to Earth with a crash subduing ignorance and tyranny. Indra and Thunor are both spiritual warriors whose entire existence is dedicated to destroying the destructive forces of ignorance and selfishness.

If you are not drawn to deities at all, then you can focus on the flame of the candle as representing the eternal flame of the Spirit residing in the heart center or focus on the healing, energizing power of the mid day sun.

Ritual Outline:
1) Set up your altar in the South.

2) At the appropriate time, open your sacred space with the opening gesture to all eight directions.

3) Offer the Elemental offerings to your chosen deity.

4) Do the "Thunor's Hammer" Qigong routine for 3-10 minutes. While you practice this routine, imagine that you are offering the Life Force generated from the exercise to your deity as power to fight against ignorance and negativity or as power to purify excess entropic energy.

5) Sit in your meditative position and chant your chosen mantra or Rune sound 54 or 108 repetitions.

6) After your chanting, stare at the candle flame and feel its flame merging with your internal spirit flame in your heart center. Feel your eternal Soul radiating from your body like the Sun. Allow this spiritual flame to radiate out from you until it surrounds the entire Universe in its Divine radiance. When this visualization has reached its Zenith, you may speak this blessing: "Light pours into me from the heavens above and radiates from me in all directions healing, enlightening and transforming the world."

7) Then, close your eyes, place your hands over your navel and with long deep breaths, slowly draw this Celestial flame back into your heart center. When you have absorbed the celestial radiance of the entire Universe into your own Soul, then let this flame descend into your navel area.

8) Breathe into the Navel for 3-10 minutes allowing the navel to absorb this celestial fire into your whole body.

9) Speak any requests or wishes to your chosen deity or to the candle flame. Ask for bravery to be able to stand up against tyranny. Ask for bravery to help any all who may ask it of you. Ask that all beings trapped in destructive ignorance be freed and that you be shown ways that you can help transform negativity into healing and evolution. Offer your life in service to the evolution of all life in the Cosmos.

10) Perform the close-down routine

11) Extinguish the candle, partake of the elemental offerings, thanking your chosen deity for their help and guidance.

12) Close the circle with your gesture to all eight directions.

13) Very Important! Here are some additional fun suggestions to help you work with the energies of the South.

Mental Empowerment:
Spend your free time during this vow week watching inspiring movies with heroic themes. Pick one or more of your personal heros that inspires you and do some research about him/her. Research one or more of your favorite mythological heros.

Physical Empowerment:
Make sure not to skip your qigong routine. Qigong is one of the most powerful ways to refine the southern fire energies. Practice or investigate a martial art. Engage in vigorous physical activity or sports. Spend time in the sun. Enjoy a good camp fire. Surround yourself and your senses with things associated with physicality and fire.

Already finished your Lesson Four vow? Share your experience HERE!