Fire, air, water and alchemy

The four elements have been so important to this world, its medicine and its magic that we have to look at them a bit deeper. Having looked at ‘EARTH’ here are some aspects of the others but first a bit about alchemy which uses not only the elements and their principles but was so important to the early pioneers of medicine, pathology and anatomy:

This subject could take up more space and time than I have but I will try to be brief. I have communicated with quite a few modern alchemists, students of alchemy and even professors teaching at universities, one of whom was given a hefty grant and the use of the university laboratories to attempt to replicate ancient experiments and recipes. It is a subject that obsesses and therefore can trap the would be adept but it needs to be understood and even admired as the modern technological world is so indebted to it.

If you know how a magic trick is done it detracts from the awe one feels witnessing it. Sometimes it helps to understand why it is done too and this is not always for money. I will come back to that but it is vital to the understanding of alchemy. Most modern and even ancient alchemists will tell you that alchemy is not just about turning lead into gold, it is about personal development. The transmutation of a substance is often a trick. But this trick can work wonders – the said turning of water into wine for example, bringing the dead back to life – these are considered the big miracles that helped create a massive religion. But that religion is really about personal development and salvation.

Almost all alchemists if they are honest will admit that what brought them to the subject were tales of turning lead into gold. There are many of them and some claim to have been witnessed and carefully monitored. These days this can be done in tiny quantities by nuclear radiation but the secret of the alchemists is lost if there ever was one. Most often a few grains of a special powder or tincture when added to lead or mercury turned those base metals into pure gold and they call this powder the philosopher’s stone. Many men and women have spent their lives looking for it and often it was said to have been made in the laboratory.

Now the ancient and more modern alchemists spent much time in and refining their laboratories, So much indeed that they became the modern science laboratories eventually. These people discovered what substances were poisonous for us, like the mercury fumes. They created our first synthesised and powerful acids and alkalis and are the parents of both chemistry and metallurgy without which we would still be in the stone age.

Alchemy is almost always related to Ancient Egypt – even the word as Egypt was named Kemet, thus Al Kem. If so we see it first in the addition of compounds to the smelting process and hardening of copper around 4000BC so that the copper chisels could more effectively tackle the hard stones required for Egyptian building and statuary projects, almost all to do with the afterlife. But as alchemy is also considered to be about finding enlightenment there is more than metal bending in the transmission from the Egyptian sage to our modern alchemist. And the real transmutation is from an ordinary human to an enlightened one.

So back to the magician. If a magic trick is skilfully performed it can send the witness of this on a life journey into the occult, the laboratory or the libraries. Uri Geller for example who bent spoons in the 1960’s sent many on a mission to understand this mysterious power whether it was a conjuring trick or not. Some will train to become conjurors in the hope of making a good living. Some will enter the world of magic to answer their burning questions and the magician may not even have been witnessed to cause this, perhaps just written about. That magician might therefore justify a simple conjuring trick like apparently turning one metal into another to accomplish this change in others so that they might find what they were not looking for. It would be seen to justify this art of deception and one finds it difficult to argue with. That is where our science derives. But still I question it and worry about that small corruption in a substance that is supposedly pure. I think this is why so few ever achieve real enlightenment. Lies breed deception and deception is illusion not truth.

There is a long and illustrious list of alchemists and of course chemists. St Dunstan was famous for his metallurgy in 950AD, Roger Bacon in the 13th century just as Edward Kelly was in 1590, supposedly turning Emperor Rudolph’s lead slag heaps into gold for him. I may include here some of the much too much stuff I have written to others on this subject but with the health warning on obsession. So many I have known got side tracked by one of them or another and it is much better to do your homework on the whole subject of the occult before starting. Then you will recognise what you know. But they did not turn lead into gold and nor will you. What they did was attract many of the brightest minds to that sparkling possibility.

We could do worse that start with these fascinating women:

“Cleopatra the Alchemist who was likely alive during the 3rd century, was an Egyptian alchemist, author, and philosopher. She experimented with practical alchemy but is also credited as one of the four female alchemists that could produce the Philosopher’s stone. She is considered to be the inventor of the Alembic, an early tool for analytic chemistry.

The dates of Cleopatra the Alchemist’s life and death are unknown, but she was active in Alexandria in the 3rd century or the 4th century. She is associated with the school of alchemy typified by Mary the Jewess and Comarius. These alchemists used complex apparatus for distillation and sublimation” Wikipedia

If you do start there you will follow the line down through men like Cornelius Agrippa and Sir George Ripley in the 15th century all the way down to Einstein. The man, if he was one, that I wish to mention today is someone from our own time almost and in some ways the most mysterious and accomplished of all. I am glad I did not know about him when I was young. Although his influence is all over the place we do not know very much about him at all. He wrote two great books though and one is about the mystery of the great Gothic cathedrals in France where he lived. I mentioned recently that I would write something about the sacred fire and can start with him, again with a health warning because a very intelligent and published author I knew was quite obsessed with the man to his detriment I suspect:

Fulcanelli (fl. 1920s) was the name used by a French alchemist and esoteric author, whose identity is still debated. The name Fulcanelli seems to be a play on words: Vulcan the ancient Roman god of fire plus El, a Canaanite name for God and so the Sacred Fire.

The appeal of Fulcanelli as a cultural phenomenon is due partly to the mystery of most aspects of his life and works; one of the anecdotes pertaining to his life retells, in particular, how his most devoted pupil Eugène Canseliet performed a successful transmutation of 100 grams of lead into gold in a laboratory of the gas works of Sarcelles at the Georgi company with the use of a small quantity of the “Projection Powder” given to him by his teacher, in the presence of Julien Champagne and Gaston Sauvage” Wikipedia

(fact is so much more important for us than opinion which is why I love encyclopedias although there is always an element of opinion in articles like these)

It is a classic tale almost out of the 16th century and Cansielet certainly did exist, indeed some think he was Fulcanelli or inspired by this spirit. The mystery that I find most interesting is somewhere else however. Both Fulcanelli and Cansielet were in France during the war, as was Gurdjieff who may have taken an interest in them and is another man that tends to obsess generation after generation of seekers including my erstwhile guru.

“Without neglecting the belief of some researchers that Canseliet himself could have been Fulcanelli, Canseliet himself believed Fulcanelli’s Master was Basil Valentine, an alchemist of the 15th century, the theoretical Master at least, for Fulcanelli’s initiator may have been his own wife. As Fulcanelli describes in a strange letter he practically kept as a talisman about the completion of the Great Work by someone who is presumably Basil Valentine, he also mentions his own wife: “…When my wife* told me the good news” and “…my wife, with the inexplicable intuition of sensitives, had a really strange dream.” In other words, when referring to something as important as the Great Work, he mentions his wife as someone important to the Magnum Opus.

According to Louis Pauwels, Fulcanelli survived World War II and disappeared completely after the Liberation of Paris. Every attempt to find him failed. During August 1945, American G-2 (Army Intelligence) asked Bergier to contact a certain Army major who was in charge of the operation of searching and discovering German research reports on atomic energy. The anonymous U. S. Army major wanted to know the whereabouts of Fulcanelli. Bergier could not say and the army major seemed satisfied Fulcanelli could not be found.” Wikipedia

* I wonder if he means Cybele in fact. We are told that Uri Geller too became of great interest to the intelligence services. Edward Kelly, considered the greatest of alchemists by many, worked for the first English Intelligence Service in the 1580’s and did not die in Europe as commonly believed as he was in reality Edward Talbot who later became the 8th Earl of Shrewsbury. I can even imagine a military interest in ‘bilocation‘. But this next bit is extraordinary:

“Walter Lang reports that Fulcanelli communicated with Jacques Bergier to warn French atomic physicist André Helbronner of man’s impending use of nuclear weapons. According to Fulcanelli, nuclear weapons had been used before, by and against humanity. Prof. Helbronner and Chevillon among others were assassinated by the Gestapo towards the end of World War II.

The meeting between Jacques Bergier and Fulcanelli occurred during June 1937 in a laboratory of the Gas Board in Paris. According to Neil Powell, the following is a translation of the original verbatim transcript of the rendezvous. Fulcanelli told Bergier:

“You’re on the brink of success, as indeed are several other of our scientists today. Please, allow me, be very very careful. I warn you… The liberation of nuclear power is easier than you think and the radioactivity artificially produced can poison the atmosphere of our planet in a very short time, a few years. Moreover, atomic explosives can be produced from a few grains of metal powerful enough to destroy whole cities. I’m telling you this for a fact: the alchemists have known it for a very long time… I shall not attempt to prove to you what I’m now going to say but I ask you to repeat it to M. Helbronner: certain geometrical arrangements of highly purified materials are enough to release atomic forces without having recourse to either electricity or vacuum techniques… The secret of alchemy is this: there is a way of manipulating matter and energy so as to produce what modern scientists call ‘a field of force‘. The field acts on the observer and puts him in a privileged position vis-à-vis the Universe. From this position he has access to the realities which are ordinarily hidden from us by time and space, matter and energy. This is what we call the Great Work.”

When Bergier asked Fulcanelli about the Philosopher’s Stone, the alchemist answered: “…the vital thing is not the transmutation of metals but that of the experimenter himself. It is an ancient secret that a few people rediscover each century. Unfortunately, only a handful are successful…”

Aftermath, during December 1938, the German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann sent a manuscript to Naturwissenschaften reporting they had detected the element barium after bombarding uranium with neutrons. Lise Meitner and her nephew Otto Robert Frisch correctly interpreted these results as being nuclear fission.

According to Canseliet, his last encounter with Fulcanelli happened during 1953 (years after his disappearance), when he went to Spain and there was taken to a castle high in the mountains for a rendez-vous with his former master. Canseliet had known Fulcanelli as an old man in his 80s but now the Master had grown younger and had physically changed in appearance: he was now an androgynous creature, a being Fulcanelli called The Divine Androgyne. The reunion was brief and Fulcanelli once again disappeared not leaving any trace of his whereabouts.” Wikipedia

It always helps to read what the people wrote themselves and this very interesting book by Fulcanelli is freely available here on the internet:

You may note that he also equates Mary with both Isis and Cybele the Phrygian goddess and discusses the importance of the Phrygian cap worn by adepts, the French revolutionaries, masons etc. I think that says a lot as in my view Cybele loves blood sacrifices and these revolutionaries provided many with their liberal use of the guillotine. One must take care with these subjects and try to find out who wants you involved in them and why. And who does not want you involved too. If you know things you will be less gullible. In our world we are like fish and should beware of the wriggling worms stuck on sharp hooks. On the other hand the vast trawler nets used these days signify our great religions that sweep the human race out of the sea, gut them and pack them away. Few will leap back into the ocean when caught and anyway the afterlife will catch us all in time. I totally concur with Fulcanelli’s conclusion and every page of his book rings a bell or two. It is a marvellous study of the occult side of these great buildings and many have used it to forge careers.

In his conclusion he mentions that the would be adept must think more with his own brain than with that of others and the adept must remain silent. It is a fact that they do tend to remain silent about the secret of their real work but it is time for a revelation in our world lest it be overcome by darkness and end in nuclear holocaust.

Anyway enough of this alchemy and back to the elements:


Sacred Fire

It is one thing getting a job and quite another doing it and completing it. That is why I think the title ‘messiah’ or ‘saviour’ should be applied posthumously not taken by the people who want to do that work. This particular job is self employment. It is up to you to decide that this is something that needs doing and that you can do it. A thousand kids want to be rock stars for every one who learns what is required and actually puts their self out there. This is what the sacred fire is really about. It may be tiny and at times all you can see are glowing embers but given fuel it will burn strongly. The hermits, monks, nuns, sages and alchemists through the ages have tended the small fire and shared it with those who have shown interest and proved themselves to be honest. More importantly they have ensured that it did not go out which was the principle behind the Zoroastran fire temples in Iran although as they only date from 400BC they are fairly recent innovations.

So let us today look at the fire gods. I am sure that it is tiresome or annoying to read of my personal experiences but my friends in our past first saw me in their camp fires. Not so many of us have open fires any more but many of us were brought up looking into them and seeing things. It is a quality of fire that makes this possible because it is fluid, bright with darker hues and easily allows visions. My namesake Surtr is supposed to fill the world with fire in the end times – let us hope it is knowledge and not thermonuclear havoc.

This is a Wikipedia list of fire gods:






Arshi Tengri



Black God (Navajo mythology)



Manco Cápac




Gedi (mythology)

Gerra (god)












Kitchen God


Kresnik (deity)















Sethlans (mythology)









Vulcan (mythology)






So as I have just written about Fulcanelli let us look at Vulcan first although he is certainly not the most ancient of them.

Vulcan (Latin: Volcānus or Vulcānus; pronounced [wɔl’kaːnʊs], [wʊl’kaːnʊs]) is the god of fire including the fire of volcanoes, metalworking, and the forge in ancient Roman religion and myth. Vulcan is often depicted with a blacksmith’s hammer. The Vulcanalia was the annual festival held August 23 in his honor. His Greek counterpart is Hephaestus, the god of fire and smithery. In Etruscan religion, he is identified with Sethlans.

Vulcan belongs to the most ancient stage of Roman religion: Varro, the ancient Roman scholar and writer, citing the Annales Maximi, records that king Titus Tatius dedicated altars to a series of deities among which Vulcan is mentioned” Wikipedia

Here is the origin of the word volcano and a recent volcano that grew off Iceland was named Surtr (who is not on the list). As you can see Vulcan is some kind of craftsman and metallurgist like the alchemists who used fire in almost everything they did. Next we find something associated with almost all the old gods. Vulcan was feared because of the destructive fires that occurred. We still have fearsome wild fires and so they tried to pacify him at Vulcanalia time:

“The festival of Vulcan, the Vulcanalia, was celebrated on August 23 each year, when the summer heat placed crops and granaries most at risk of burning. During the festival bonfires were created in honour of the god, into which live fish or small animals were thrown as a sacrifice, to be consumed in the place of humans” Wikipedia

It is no different really from the Sunday roasts except these poor creatures were alive when flung on the fire, like the babies thrown on Moloch’s bonfire in Jerusalem. In my book it is something to worry about as I hate any kind of sacrifice other than the giving up of things like habits which is the true sacrifice and the only one of any merit. Pompey was a Roman city destroyed by a volcanic eruption and the Italians were especially concerned about their vast and active volcanoes – it is not surprising they tried to pacify the god they thought responsible.

Everyone around here including me puts washing out on the line to dry. Not only is it economic but we think it is healthier as drying clothes inside leaves a trail of condensation.

“It is recorded that during the Vulcanalia people used to hang their cloths and fabrics under the sun. This habit might reflect a theological connection between Vulcan and the divinized Sun” Wikipedia

Then we get more sacrifice:

“Vulcan was among the gods placated after the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64. In response to the same fire, Domitian (emperor 81–96) established a new altar to Vulcan on the Quirinal Hill. At the same time a red bull-calf and red boar were added to the sacrifices made on the Vulcanalia, at least in that region of the city” Wikipedia

Next we find something predating the Christian narrative:

“In all of the above-mentioned stories the god’s fertilizing power is related to that of the fire of the house hearth.

In the case of Caeculus, his mother was impregnated by a spark that dropped on her womb from the hearth while she was sitting nearby. Servius Tullius‘s mother Ocresia was impregnated by a male sex organ that miraculously appeared in the ashes of the sacrificial ara, at the order of Tanaquil, Tarquinius Priscus‘s wife. Pliny the Elder tells the same story, but states that the father was the Lar familiaris. The divinity of the child was recognized when his head was surrounded by flames and he remained unharmed.

Through the comparative analysis of these myths archaeologist Andrea Carandini opines that Cacus and Caca were the sons of Vulcan and of a local divine being or a virgin as in the case of Caeculus. Cacus and Caca would represent the metallurgic and the domestic fire, projections of Vulcan and of Vesta.

These legends date back to the time of preurban Latium. Their meaning is quite clear: at the divine level Vulcan impregnates a virgin goddess and generates Jupiter, the king of the gods; at the human level he impregnates a local virgin (perhaps of royal descent) and generates a king” Wikipedia

“The origin of the Roman god of fire Vulcan has been traced back to the Cretan god Velchanos by Gérard Capdeville, primarily under the suggestion of the close similarity of their names. Cretan Velchanos is a young god of Mediterranean or Near Eastern origin who has mastership of fire and is the companion of the Great Goddess.” Wikipedia

“The Great Goddess hypothesis is a hypothesis, disputed by archaeologists and historians—as most prehistoric explanations tend to be—that in Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and/or Neolithic Europe and Western Asia and North Africa, a singular, monotheistic female deity was worshipped prior to the development of the polytheistic pagan religions of the Bronze Age and Iron Age. ….the ancient peoples of Anatolia and Mesopotamia had influenced the Greek religion, and that therefore they also had once venerated a great goddess“ Wikipedia

We know that they did and that she was Cybele or Isis, sometimes Mother Earth or Mary with her virgin birth of a boy child. We can also see the myth of Prometheus here (or Lucifer):

“As the son of Jupiter, the king of the gods, and Juno, the queen of the gods, Vulcan should have been quite handsome, but baby Vulcan was small and ugly with a red, bawling face. Juno was so horrified that she hurled the tiny baby off the top of Mount Olympus.

Vulcan fell down for a day and a night, landing in the sea. Unfortunately, one of his legs broke as he hit the water, and never developed properly. Vulcan sank to the depths of the ocean, where the sea-nymph Thetis found him and took him to her underwater grotto, wanting to raise him as her own son.

Vulcan had a happy childhood with dolphins as his playmates and pearls as his toys. Late in his childhood, he found the remains of a fisherman’s fire on the beach and became fascinated with an unextinguished coal, still red-hot and glowing.

Vulcan carefully shut this precious coal in a clamshell, took it back to his underwater grotto, and made a fire with it. On the first day after that, Vulcan stared at this fire for hours on end. On the second day, he discovered that when he made the fire hotter with bellows, certain stones sweated iron, silver or gold. On the third day he beat the cooled metal into shapes: bracelets, chains, swords and shields. Vulcan made pearl-handled knives and spoons for his foster mother, and for himself he made a silver chariot with bridles so that seahorses could transport him quickly. He even made slave-girls of gold to wait on him and do his bidding.

Later, Thetis left her underwater grotto to attend a dinner party on Mount Olympus wearing a beautiful necklace of silver and sapphires that Vulcan had made for her. Juno admired the necklace and asked where she could get one. Thetis became flustered, causing Juno to become suspicious; and, at last, the queen god discovered the truth: the baby she had once rejected had grown into a talented blacksmith.

Juno was furious and demanded that Vulcan return home, a demand that he refused. However, he did send Juno a beautifully constructed chair made of silver and gold, inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Juno was delighted with this gift but, as soon as she sat in it her weight triggered hidden springs and metal bands sprung forth to hold her fast. The more she shrieked and struggled the more firmly the mechanical throne gripped her; the chair was a cleverly designed trap.

For three days Juno sat fuming, still trapped in Vulcan’s chair; she could not sleep, she could not stretch, she could not eat. It was Jupiter who finally saved the day: he promised that if Vulcan released Juno he would give him a wife, Venus the goddess of love and beauty. Vulcan agreed and married Venus. He later built a smithy under Mount Etna on the island of Sicily. It was said that whenever Venus was unfaithful, Vulcan grew angry and beat the red-hot metal with such a force that sparks and smoke rose up from the top of the mountain, creating a volcanic eruption.

According to Virgil, Vulcan was the father of Caeculus.

To punish mankind for stealing the secrets of fire, Jupiter ordered the other gods to make a poisoned gift for man. Vulcan’s contribution to the beautiful and foolish Pandora was to mould her from clay and to give her form. He also made the thrones for the other gods on Mount Olympus.” Wikipedia

In the myth of Osiris it was said that Sutekh and his co-conspirators made or gave Osiris a magnificent chest that fitted him perfectly but trapped him when he tried it out for size (obviously it was a beautiful coffin). It was then thrown into the Nile and killed him. Still Vulcan is a comparatively modern god by comparison with the Egyptians and myths become confused. Another major fire god is Agni (ignition):

Agni (Sanskrit: अग्नि Agni), pronounced ” ăg’nē “, is the Rigvedic deity of fire and the conveyor of sacrifices to the Gods. He is also a god of divine knowledge, who leads man to the gods. He was one of the most important of the Vedic gods….The Rig Veda often says that Agni arises from water or dwells in the waters; the Vedic sage says that Agni manifesting in the waters and seated in the lap of the winding waters, flaming upward, increases; and that Agni was born by the prowess of Tvashtr (Rig Veda I.95.5). He may have originally been the same as Apam Napat, the supreme god of creation, who is also sometimes described as fire arising from water….Agni is Abhimāni, from Sanskrit: abhi (towards) + man (the verbal root man‘to think’, ‘reflect upon’) meaning dignified, proud; longing for, thinking. Agni is the ‘Mystic Fire’, who leads man on the journey to God. Agni is worshipped as the symbol of piety and purity; as expression of two kinds of energy i.e. light and heat, he is the symbol of life and activity. Agni-rahasya, “the secret of fire,” is the key to all knowledge because Agni is the power of inner and outer illumination….” Wikipedia

A lot of interest there is the symbolism and relationship with knowledge. The Ancient Egyptians predate all of this though with Ptah and his wife Sekhmet, the god and goddess of fire. Ptah is the craftsman god and his wife the leonine and very fierce companion. Again we can just about see Cybele and Attis here. I think in Ptah we can see that ancient form – pater or father.

“ In Egyptian mythology, Ptah (/pə’tɑː/; Egyptian: ptḥ, probably vocalized as Pitaḥ in ancient Egyptian) is the demiurge of Memphis, god of craftsmen and architects. In the triad of Memphis, he is the spouse of Sekhmet and the father of Nefertum. He was also regarded as the father of the sage Imhotep…..Ptah is the Creator god par excellence: He is considered the demiurge who existed before all other things, and by his willfulness, thought the world. It was first conceived by Thought, and realized by the Word: Ptah conceives the world by the thought of his heart and gives life through the magic of his Word. That which Ptah commanded was created, with which the constituents of nature, fauna, and flora, are contained. He also plays a role in the preservation of the world and the permanence of the royal function…..Ptah is the patron of craftsmanship, metalworking, carpenters, shipbuilders, and sculpture. From the Middle Kingdom onwards, he was one of five major Egyptian gods with Ra, Isis, Osiris and Amun onwards, he was one of five major Egyptian gods with Ra, Isis, Osiris and Amun…..He wears many epithets that describe his role in ancient Egyptian religion and its importance in society at the time: Ptah the beautiful face Ptah lord of truth Ptah master of justice Ptah who listens to prayers Ptah master of ceremonies Ptah lord of eternity….His Tatenen form is represented by a young and vigorous man wearing a crown with two tall plumes that surround the solar disk. He thus embodies the underground fire that rumbles and raises the earth. As such, he was particularly revered by metalworkers and blacksmiths, but he was equally feared because it was he who caused earthquakes and tremors of the earth’s crust….” Wikipedia

“Sekhmet Goddess of fire, war, dance, love, and medicine

In a myth about the end of Ra’s rule on the earth, Ra sends Hathor or Sekhmet to destroy mortals who conspired against him. In the myth, Sekhmet’s blood-lust was not quelled at the end of battle and led to her destroying almost all of humanity, so Ra poured out beer dyed with red ochre or hematite so that it resembled blood. Mistaking the beer for blood, she became so drunk that she gave up the slaughter and returned peacefully to Ra” Wikipedia

If we look elsewhere we seem the same thing:

Gibil in Sumerian mythology is the god of fire, variously of the son of An and Ki, An and Shala or of Ishkur and Shala. He later developed into the Akkadian god Gerra.

In some versions of the Enûma Eliš Gibil is said to maintain the sharp point of weapons, have broad wisdom, and that his mind is “so vast that all the gods, all of them, cannot fathom it”. Some versions state Gibil, as lord of the fire and the forge, also possesses wisdom of metallurgy” Wikipedia

“In Slavic mythology, Perun (Cyrillic: Перун) is the highest god of the pantheon and the god of thunder and lightning. His other attributes were fire, mountains, wind, the oak, iris, eagle, firmament (in Indo-European languages, this was joined with the notion of the sky of stone), horses and carts, weapons (the hammer, axe (Axe of Perun), and arrow), and war. He was first associated with weapons made of stone and later with those of metal.” Wikipedia

In Etruscan mythology, Sethlans was the god of fire, the forge, metalworking, and by extension craftsmanship in general, the equivalent, though their names share no etymology, to Greek Hephaestus, Egyptian Ptah and the Roman Vulcan. Sethlans is one of the indigenous Etruscan gods. In Etruscan arts Sethlans may be identified by his tools, the hammer and tongs of the blacksmith, and by the pileus or conical cap he wears.

Tohil (/to’χil/) (also spelled Tojil) was a deity of the K’iche’ Maya in the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerica.

At the time of the Spanish Conquest, Tohil was the patron god of the K’iche’. Tohil’s principal function was that of a fire deity and he was also both a sun god and the god of rain. Tohil was also associated with mountains and he was a god of war, sacrifice and sustenance. In the K’iche’ epic Popul Vuh, after the first people were created, they gathered at the mythical Tollan, the Place of the Seven Caves, to receive their language and their gods. The K’iche’, and others, there received Tohil. Tohil demanded blood sacrifice from the K’iche’ and so they offered their own blood and also that of sacrificed captives taken in battle. In the Popul Vuh this consumption of blood by Tohil is likened to the suckling of an infant by its mother” Wikipedia

As Surtr was missed in the list above here is why he should be included apart from sharing my surname:

“In a book from the Prose Edda additional information is given about Surtr, including that he is stationed guarding the frontier of the fiery realm Múspell, that he will lead “Múspell’s sons” to Ragnarök, and that he will defeat Freyr

…Surtr is mentioned twice in the poem Völuspá, where a völva divulges information to the god Odin. The völva says that, during Ragnarök, Surtr will come from the south with flames, carrying a very bright sword: ‘Surtr moves from the south with the scathe of branches, there shines from his sword the sun of Gods of the Slain’

…No further detail is given about the fight between Surtr and Freyr in the poem. In the stanzas that follow, a number of gods and their opponents are described as doing battle at Ragnarök, and that the world will be consumed in flames, yet afterward a new world rises from the sea, fertile and teeming with life, and the surviving gods will meet again….Later in the poem, Odin, still disguised and now questioning Vafþrúðnir, asks which of the Æsir will “rule over the possessions of the gods when Surt’s fire is slaked”. Vafþrúðnir responds that, “when Surt’s fire is slaked” the god Thor‘s sons Móði and Magni shall possess Thor’s hammer Mjöllnir.[

In chapter 18, Gangleri asks what will protect the fair hall Gimlé “when Surtr’s fire burns heaven and earth”....Surtr “will fling fire over the earth burn the whole world”. High quotes ten stanzas from Völuspá in support, and then proceeds to describe the rebirth and new fertility of the reborn world, and the survivors of Ragnarök, including various gods and the two humans named Líf and Lífthrasir that will have hid from “Surtr’s fire” in the wood Hoddmímis holt....Surtr is described as being from the south, and that this “surely has to do with his association with fire and heat”. Simek says that “in Iceland Surtr was obviously thought of as being a mighty giant who ruled the powers of (volcanic) fire of the Underworld”, and Simek theorizes that the notion of Surtr as an enemy of the gods likely did not originate in Iceland. Simek compares Surtr to the jötnar Eldr, Eimnir, Logi, and Brandingi, noting that they all appear to be personifications of fire….Surtshellir, a group of volcanic tunnels in western Iceland recorded in the Landnámabók manuscript, is named after Surtr. In modern Iceland, the notion of Surtr as a giant of fire lives on; Surtsey (“Surtr’s island”), a volcanic island that appeared in 1963 in Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland, is named after Surtr.” Wikipedia

His fire does not sound like ‘knowledge’ but hopefully it is. As for

“In Norse mythology, Muspelheim (Old Norse: Múspellsheimr), also called Muspell (Old Norse: Múspell), is a realm of fire. This realm is one of the Nine Worlds, ruled by Surt with his consort Sinmara in some accounts. The denizens of Muspelheim were usually referred to as the Eldjötnar (“fire giants”) in Norse tradition, though they were also identified by other epithets in Eddic poetry, such as the Múspellssynir (or Múspellsmegir — “sons of Muspell”) and the Rjúfendr (from rjúfa — “to break, tear asunder”, Destroyers of Doomsday). Both of these terms sometimes described an entirely separate mythological species that dwelled alongside or in place of the eldjötnar within this fiery realm. Muspelheim is fire; and the land to the North, Niflheim, is ice. The two mixed and created water from the melting ice in Ginnungagap. The sun and the stars originate from Muspelheim.

According to the Ragnarök prophecies in Snorri Sturluson‘s Gylfaginning, the first part of his Prose Edda, the sons of Muspell will break the Bifröst bridge, signaling the end of times:

In the midst of this clash and din the heavens are rent in twain, and the sons of Muspell come riding through the opening. Surtr rides first, and before him and after him flames burning fire. He has a very good sword, which shines brighter than the sun. As they ride over Bifrost it breaks to pieces, as has before been stated. The sons of Muspel direct their course to the plain which is called Vigrid…. The sons of Muspel have there effulgent bands alone by themselves.

The etymology of “Muspelheim” is uncertain, but may come from Mund-spilli, “world-destroyers”, “wreck of the world”. Wikipedia

Obviously it would be wrong to miss the fact that hell itself is supposedly a fiery furnace too. But so is the sun, so are all stars and in some cases heaven.

Now we need to realise why this is significant for the would be adept. The forge was a vital part of the laboratory and even the community. The alchemists equated various substances with particular deities and planetary or solar or lunar bodies. Mercury was Thoth or Hermes. Silver was the Moon. Gold the Sun and also the Son. But they were also very interested in the elements – fire, water, earth and air. The early alchemists were distilling horse manure, urine, vinegar etc. They would heat up the lovely red crystal called cinnabar and catch the mercury vapours in a funnel. They were very poisonous but when condensed formed this peculiar and beautiful metal, one which was considered very important as you will see:

“Mercury (quicksilver) dissolves many other metals such as gold and silver to form amalgams. Iron is an exception, and iron flasks have traditionally been used to trade mercury….even small amounts of mercury can seriously corrode aluminium. For this reason, mercury is not allowed aboard an aircraft …The element was named after the Roman god Mercury, known for his speed and mobility. It is associated with the planet Mercury; the Sanskrit word for alchemy is Rasavātam which means “the way of mercury”. Mercury is the only metal for which the alchemical planetary name became the common name….Mercury was found in Egyptian tombs that date from 1500 BC.

In China and Tibet, mercury use was thought to prolong life, heal fractures, and maintain generally good health, although it is now known that exposure to mercury vapor leads to serious adverse health effects. The first emperor of China, Qín Shi Huáng Dì—allegedly buried in a tomb—the “Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor“—that contained rivers of flowing mercury on a model of the land he ruled, representative of the rivers of China—was killed by drinking a mercury and powdered jade mixture formulated by Qin alchemists (causing liver failure, mercury poisoning, and brain death) who intended to give him eternal life. Khumarawayh ibn Ahmad ibn Tulun, the second Tulunid ruler of Egypt (r. 884–896), known for his extravagance and profligacy, reportedly built a basin filled with mercury, on which he would lie on top of air-filled cushions and be rocked to sleep.

In November 2014 “large quantities” of mercury were discovered in a chamber 60 feet below the 1800-year-old pyramid known as the “Temple of the Feathered Serpent,” “the third largest pyramid of Teotihuacan,” Mexico along with “jade statues, jaguar remains, a box filled with carved shells and rubber balls.”

The ancient Greeks used mercury in ointments; the ancient Egyptians and the Romans used it in cosmetics. In Lamanai, once a major city of the Maya civilization, a pool of mercury was found under a marker in a Mesoamerican ballcourt. By 500 BC mercury was used to make amalgams (Medieval Latin amalgama, “alloy of mercury”) with other metals.

Alchemists thought of mercury as the First Matter from which all metals were formed. They believed that different metals could be produced by varying the quality and quantity of sulfur contained within the mercury. The purest of these was gold, and mercury was called for in attempts at the transmutation of base (or impure) metals into gold, which was the goal of many alchemists.

The mines in Almadén (Spain), Monte Amiata (Italy), and Idrija (now Slovenia) dominated mercury production from the opening of the mine in Almadén 2500 years ago, until new deposits were found at the end of the 19th century.


Mercury is an extremely rare element in Earth’s crust, having an average crustal abundance by mass of only 0.08 parts per million (ppm). Because it does not blend geochemically with those elements that constitute the majority of the crustal mass, mercury ores can be extraordinarily concentrated considering the element’s abundance in ordinary rock” Wikipedia

If you think about it mercury is almost exactly like for example molten lead. It is molten but melts at room temperature. You can freeze it and it becomes hard.

Cinnabar and cinnabarite (pronounced /’sɪnəbɑːr/ and /sɪnə’bɑːraɪt/), likely deriving from the Greek κινναβαρι (kinnabari), refer to the common bright scarlet to brick-red form of mercury(II) sulfide, formula HgS, that is the most common source ore for refining elemental mercury, and is the historic source for the brilliant red or scarlet pigment termed vermilion and associated red mercury pigments” Wikipedia

But first came the fire. Here is an article that describes some of what the alchemists considered so important about fire:

Four Grades of Fire

The alchemists recognized four grades of Fire with which they could work. Generally, these were classified from the grossest (most material) to the subtlest (most spiritual). The grades were called Elementary Fire, Secret Fire, Central Fire, and Celestial Fire. Elementary Fire is the fire of the created elements and is what we think of as fire in our everyday lives. Secret Fire exists within the consciousness of the alchemist. Central Fire is the fire of creation, the embedded Word of God, in all manifested objects. Celestial Fire is the brilliance of the Mind of God itself.#

Elementary Fire

“The Elementary Fire, which is the fire of our stoves,” wrote alchemist/monk Antoine-Joseph Pernety in 1758, “is impure, thick and burning. This fire is sharp and corrosive, ill-smelling, and is known through the senses. It has for its abode the surface of the earth and our atmosphere and is destructive; it wounds the senses, it burns, it digests, concocts, and produces nothing. It is external [to the alchemist] and separating.”

Celestial Fire

According to Pernety, the purest grade of fire was the white Celestial Fire, or the fiery power of God’s will. He described it thus: “The Celestial Fire is very pure, simple and not burning in itself. It has for its sphere the ethereal region, whence it makes itself known even to us. Celestial Fire shines without burning and is without color and odor, though it is sensibly exhaled. It is gentle and known only by its operations.”

Central Fire

Between these two extremes of Elementary Fire and Celestial Fire, the alchemists postulated two other gradients. One was the Central Fire hidden within matter at its very center, which is God’s Will in matter, or the One Mind acting on the One Thing. According to Pernety: “The Celestial Fire passes into the nature of the Central Fire; it becomes internal, engendering in matter. Though the Central Fire [within matter] is pure in itself, it is mixed and tempered. It engenders and enlightens sometimes without burning, and burns sometimes without giving any light. It is invisible and therefore known only by its qualities. The Central Fire is lodged in the center of matter; it is tenacious and innate in matter; it is digesting, maturing, neither warm nor burning to the touch.”

Secret Fire

There is yet a fourth grade of fire, and it was the primary fire with which the spiritual alchemists worked. They called it their “Secret Fire,” and they went to great pains to disguise its true nature. “The fire of the sun could not be this Secret Fire,” Pernety notes. “It is interrupted, unequal, and does not penetrate. The fire of our stoves, which hinders the union of the miscibles and consumes the bond of the constituent parts, could not be the one. The Central Fire, which is innate in matter, cannot be that Secret Fire so much praised, which causes the corruption of metallic germs, because the heat which engenders is internal and innate in matter, and that which corrupts is external and foreign to matter.”

So, the Secret Fire is “external” to matter yet is somehow able to change it or cause its “corruption.” Actually, the Secret Fire is part of the life force of the alchemist himself. Says Pernety: “This heat is very different within the generation of the individuals of the three kingdoms; the animal possesses it in a much higher degree than the plant.”

Secret Fire in the Body

In his book Alchemy, Franz Hartmann states that we all carry this Secret Fire within us. “In many theosophical works,” he writes, “the Secret Fire of the alchemists is described as kundalini, the ‘serpentine’ working power in the body of the acetic. It is an electric, fiery, occult or Fohatic power, the great pristine form which underlies all organic and inorganic matter. H.P. Blavatsky calls it ‘an electro-spiritual force, a creative power which, when aroused into action, can as easily destroy as it can create.’ This cautionary point is the reason why the secrets of alchemy can not be divulged to the idle-minded or curious, and why only those who have gained the power to control their own self may be told how that power can be aroused in man.”

Powers of the Secret Fire

The identity of the Secret Fire was known and concealed ever since the invention of writing in the Thothian epoch. “In allegories and fables,” remarks Pernety, “the philosophers have given to this Secret Fire the names sword, lance, arrows, javelin, etc. It is the Fire which Prometheus stole from heaven, which Vulcan employed to form the thunderbolts of Jupiter, and the golden throne of Zeus.”

The Secret Fire is therefore “thought” in its highest sense — equivalent to the god Thoth, the first alchemist who speaks only the true Word, which through intonation and vibration acts on matter to create new incarnations of Mind. To some extent, this divine power is shared by humans in the power of inspired thought and imagination. This fact was one of the greatest secrets of the alchemists.”

It is a primeval element for mankind.

“The control of fire by early humans was a turning point in the cultural aspect of human evolution that allowed humans to cook food and obtain warmth and protection. Making fire also allowed the expansion of human activity into the dark and colder hours of the night, and provided protection from predators and insects.

Evidence of widespread control of fire dates to approximately 125,000 years ago and earlier. Evidence for the controlled use of fire by Homo erectus beginning some 400,000 years ago has wide scholarly support, with claims regarding earlier evidence finding increasing scientific support.

Claims for the earliest definitive evidence of control of fire by a member of Homo range from 0.2 to 1.7 million years ago (Mya). Wikipedia

Obviously fire changed so many things for the early humans – diet, technology, light and more. It was always present in sacred rituals and ceremonies and still is. The humble candle is its representative usually these days.

I would suggest that you experiment a bit with this. Try to figure out for yourself whether there really is anything sacred about flame and how it can help you achieve your goals. The sun is of course another source and so are the stars. Lightning is always causing fires and is another phenomenon associated with fire, in that case a divine source. Included in ‘fire’ is electricity and radiation whether x-ray, nuclear or heat.

Air power

Next up is air but it is worth pointing out what the others do. Fire is so vital we do not realise it. It is the electric signal that fires our heart. When a frozen mammoth was found in Siberia it still had fresh grass in its mouth. It was more or less frozen instantly. Without the sun that would happen to us, without our fires we could not inhabit half the planet.

We can survive about 3 days without liquid – water and about a month without food – the earth element. Maybe a minute or two without air. Air breathes life into us and also ‘inspires’ us but that air needs to contain certain gases on which we absolutely depend – oxygen in our case and nitrogen as far as most plants are concerned with some carbon thrown in. Recently they decided that the atmosphere on Mars was torn away by a solar flare. Carbon dioxide and monoxide are poisonous to us. Our lives hang by a tenuous thread.

To this mix we can include the fact that for one reason or another air is pressurised at different rates on the earth and that causes wind, which transports the evaporated water collected from the oceans, purified and dropped upon us.

The element air also includes a mystical element they called aether: The word spirit is derived from the Latin name for air and we must include under this element which in medical terms was ascribed to our blood.

Shu was the ancient Egyptian god of air and the husband of Tefnut, goddess of moisture. He became an emblem of strength by virtue of his role in separating Nut from Geb. He played a primary role in the Coffin Texts, which were spells intended to help the deceased reach the realm of the afterlife safely. On the way to the sky, the spirit had to travel through the air as one spell indicates: “I have gone up in Shu, I have climbed on the sunbeams.” Wikipedia

Aether /’iːθər/ or Aither (Æthere, Ancient Greek: Αἰθήρ, pronounced [aitʰɛ̌ːr]), in ancient Greece, was one of the primordial deities. Aether is the personification of the upper air. He embodies the pure upper air that the gods breathe, as opposed to the normal air (ἀήρ, aer) breathed by mortals. Like Tartarus and Erebus, Aether may have had shrines in ancient Greece, but he had no temples and it is unlikely that he had a cult

…Aristophanes states that Aether was the son of Erebus. However, Damascius says that Aether, Erebus and Chaos were siblings, and the offspring of Chronos (Father Time). According to Epiphanius, the world began as a cosmic egg, encircled by Time and Inevitability (most likely Chronos and Ananke) in serpent fashion. Together they constricted the egg, squeezing its matter with great force, until the world divided into two hemispheres. After that, the atoms sorted themselves out. The lighter and finer ones floated above and became the Bright Air (Aether and/or Uranus) and the rarefied Wind (Chaos), while the heavier and denser atoms sank and became the Earth (Gaia) and the Ocean (Pontos and/or Oceanus). See also Plato’s Myth of Er” Wikipedia

The Myth of Er is a legend that concludes Plato‘s Republic (10.614–10.621). The story includes an account of the cosmos and the afterlife that greatly influenced religious, philosophical, and scientific thought for many centuries.

The story begins as a man named Er (/ɜːr/; Greek: Ἤρ, gen.: Ἠρός (not to be confused with Eros); son of Ἀρμένιος, Armenios of Pamphylia) dies in battle. When the bodies of those who died in the battle are collected, ten days after his death, Er remains undecomposed. Two days later he revives on his funeral-pyre and tells others of his journey in the afterlife, including an account of reincarnation and the celestial spheres of the astral plane. The tale includes the idea that moral people are rewarded and immoral people punished after death.

Although called the Myth of Er, the word “myth” means “word, speech, account”, rather than the modern meaning. The word is used at the end when Socrates explains that because Er did not drink the waters of Lethe, the account (mythos in Greek) was preserved for us“ Wikipedia

What you make of an ‘air god’ is up to you. I would point out that resuscitation takes various elemental forms. It may be intravenous fluid or blood, it may be an electrical charge to the heart and it may be the kiss of life. In Genesis for what it is worth a spirit is put in man by inspiration:

““The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7)….Second, God breathed His own breath of life into man. Man is more than “dust” or physical substance. Man has a spirit. We can picture it this way: Adam’s body had just been formed by God from the dust of the earth—a lifeless human body lying on the ground. Then God leaned over and “breathed” His own “breath of life” into the man’s nostrils; God is the Source of life, and He directly placed life within man. This breath of life is seen again in John 20:22, as Jesus imparts new life to His disciples. Third, Genesis 2:7 tells us that man became a living soul (KJV). The word soul in Hebrew is nephesh, meaning “an animated, breathing, conscious, and living being.” Man did not become a living soul until God breathed life into him. As a physical, animate, rational, and spiritual being, man is unique among all living things upon the earth….”

I include that really because when that was written around 500BC this elemental form was understood or considered.

We have various processes working in us and allowing us to live. One is the inspiration of air. There is no doubt that another is the inspiration of thoughts and ideas. I categorise these under ‘Air’ and think it a good idea to get to know its workings and if it can be personalised to make friends with it. I often thank it for inspiring and breathing life into me.


Having looked a bit at fire and fire gods here is something on the greater element water. We are descended from sea snakes and the Dogon people seem to recognise that:

“The Nommo are mythological ancestral spirits (sometimes referred to as deities) worshipped by the Dogon people of Mali. The word Nommos is derived from a Dogon word meaning “to make one drink.” The Nommos are usually described as amphibious, hermaphroditic, fish-like creatures. Folk art depictions of the Nommos show creatures with humanoid upper torsos, legs/feet, and a fish-like lower torso and tail. The Nommos are also referred to as “Masters of the Water”, “the Monitors”, and “the Teachers”. Nommo can be a proper name of an individual, or can refer to the group of spirits as a whole. For purposes of this article “Nommo” refers to a specific individual and “Nommos” is used to reference the group of beings.

Dogon mythology says that Nommo was the first living creature created by the sky god Amma. Shortly after his creation, Nommo underwent a transformation and multiplied into four pairs of twins. One of the twins rebelled against the universal order created by Amma. To restore order to his creation, Amma sacrificed another of the Nommo progeny, whose body was dismembered and scattered throughout the universe. This dispersal of body parts is seen by the Dogon as the source for the proliferation of Binu shrines throughout the Dogons’ traditional territory; wherever a body part fell, a shrine was erected.

In the latter part of the 1940s, French anthropologists Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen (who had been working with the Dogon since 1931) were the recipients of additional, secret mythologies, concerning the Nommo. The Dogon reportedly related to Griaule and Dieterlen a belief that the Nommos were inhabitants of a world circling the star Sirius (see the main article on the Dogon for a discussion of their astronomical knowledge). The Nommos descended from the sky in a vessel accompanied by fire and thunder. After arriving, the Nommos created a reservoir of water and subsequently dove into the water. The Dogon legends state that the Nommos required a watery environment in which to live. According to the myth related to Griaule and Dieterlen: “The Nommo divided his body among men to feed them; that is why it is also said that as the universe “had drunk of his body,” the Nommo also made men drink. He gave all his life principles to human beings.” The Nommo are also thought to be the origin of the first Hogon” Wikipedia

It is possible that life arrived here in ice carried by a comet and had existed before somewhere else. In occult terms the ancestors are there. But these 4 sets of twins are seen in Ancient Egyptian mythology in the form of theOgdoad, one of the earliest of creation myths perhaps:

“ In Egyptian mythology, the Ogdoad (Greek “ογδοάς”, the eightfold) were eight primordial deities worshipped in Hermopolis during what is called the Old Kingdom, the third through sixth dynasties, dated between 2686 to 2134 BC

The eight deities were arranged in four male-female pairs: Nu and Naunet, Amun and Amaunet, Kuk and Kauket, Huh and Hauhet. The males were associated with frogs and females were associated with snakes. Apart from their gender, there was little to distinguish the male gods and female goddesses; indeed, the names of the females are merely derivative female forms of the male name. Essentially, each pair represents the male and female aspect of one of the four concepts of primordial chaos, namely the primordial waters (Nu and Naunet), air, invisibility, and hidden powers (Amun and Amaunet), darkness and obscurity (Kuk and Kauket), and eternity or infinity (Huh and Hauhet).

Together the four concepts represent the primal, fundamental state of the beginning. They are what always was. In the myth, however, their interaction ultimately proved to be unbalanced, resulting in the arising of a new entity. When the entity opened, it revealed Ra, the fiery sun, inside. After a long interval of rest, Ra, together with the other deities, created all other things and brought order to the universe.

The entity containing Ra is depicted either as an egg or as a lotus bud.

In the former version, a mound arises from the waters. An egg was laid upon this mound by a celestial bird. The egg contained ra. In some variants, the egg is laid by a cosmic goose. However, the egg was also said to have been a gift from Thoth, and laid by an ibis, the bird with which he was associated.

Later, when Atum had become assimilated into ra as Atum-Ra, the belief that Atum emerged from a (blue) lotus bud, in the Ennead cosmogony, was adopted and attached to Ra. The lotus was said to have arisen from the waters after the explosive interaction as a bud, which floated on the surface, and slowly opened its petals to reveal the beetle, Khepri, inside. Khepri, an aspect of Ra representing the rising sun, immediately turns into a weeping boy – Nefertum, whose tears form the creatures of the earth.” Wikipedia

There are a few things that connect with water, or the so called ‘primeval waters’. The Ogdoad deities are amphibious. They sit in a boat. Two of them – Nun and Naunet are the god and goddess of the primeval waters. The others seem to represent some of the most up to date thoughts on the universe – Infinity and Darkness/Black holes. It is extraordinary that in 4000BC the Egyptians considered ‘primeval waters’ and ‘infinity’.

The God Nun certainly gets a mention:

Nu (/nuː/; “watery one”), also called Nun (/nʌn/ or /nuːn/; “inert one”) is the deification of the primordial watery abyss in ancient Egyptian religion. In the Ogdoad cosmogony, the word nu means “abyss”.

The Ancient Egyptians envisaged the oceanic abyss of the Nun as surrounding a bubble in which the sphere of life is encapsulated, representing the deepest mystery of their cosmogony. In Ancient Egyptian creation accounts the original mound of land comes forth from the waters of the Nun. The Nun is the source of all that appears in a differentiated world, encompassing all aspects of divine and earthly existence. In the Ennead cosmogony Nun is perceived as transcendent at the point of creation alongside Atum the creator god.


Naunet and Nun

Nu was shown usually as male but also had aspects that could be represented as female or male. Nunet (/’nuːˌnɛt/; also spelt Naunet) is the female aspect, which is the name Nu with a female gender ending. The male aspect, Nun, is written with a male gender ending. As with the primordial concepts of the Ogdoad, Nu’s male aspect was depicted as a frog, or a frog-headed man. In Ancient Egyptian art, Nun also appears as a bearded man, with bluegreen skin, representing water. Naunet is represented as a snake or snake-headed woman.


Beginning with the Middle Kingdom Nun is described as “the Father of the Gods” and he is depicted on temple walls throughout the rest of Ancient Egyptian religious history.

The Ogdoad includes along with Naunet and Nun, Amaunet and Amun, Hauhet and Heh, and Kauket with Kuk. Like the other Ogdoad deities, Nu did not have temples or any center of worship. Even so, Nu was sometimes represented by a sacred lake, or, as at Abydos, by an underground stream.

In the 12th Hour of the Book of Gates Nu is depicted with upraised arms holding a “solar bark” (or barque, a boat). The boat is occupied by eight deities, with the scarab deity Khepri standing in the middle surrounded by the seven other deities.

During the late period when Egypt became occupied, the negative aspect of the Nun (chaos) became the dominant perception, reflecting the forces of disorder that were set loose in the country” Wikipedia

That last paragraph is typical of how the late and corrupt dynasties demonised the good early gods like Sutekh and Nun. You can also see Shiva and Osiris in Nun but bear in mind our early reptile ancestry. We humans are descended from sea snakes they now say.

Now when water comes to the occult we find the two forms – the salt water of the oceans and the fresh water of rain, springs and rivers. Salt helps water retain an electrical charge, our brains are a bit like this. But we cannot drink seawater.

Water is one of the elements in ancient Greek philosophy, in the Asian Indian system Panchamahabhuta, and in the Chinese cosmological and physiological system Wu Xing. In contemporary esoteric traditions, it is commonly associated with the qualities of emotion and intuition…..In alchemy, the chemical element of mercury was a downward-pointing triangle.” Wikipedia

We have the gods Neptune and Poseidon who rule the water world but there are many others and I will not copy them here. You can look them up and surprise yourselves if you do not already know them. My purpose is merely to demonstrate how the water element can help us.

In my case my early meditations were in a darkened bathroom. My bath was sometimes salty sometimes not, sometimes I had candles, sometimes the sun shone in, sometimes they were completely dark. All were very helpful to me. It is a primeval space for us. Even now my bath is an important thinking and connection time for me. A shower is different but also serves a purpose. This is an element to make friends with. The rainbow element. If you are lucky enough to get to the seaside the paddle you have also holds enormous possibilities. I recall when we went with the dogs to Troon and lovely it was. It was the first time our hound had seen the sea and the look of wonder on his face said much to me. As a Cancer, if you can accept the astrological side of life, I am a water sign at home with crabs. In fact I think it was originally the sign of the scarab beetle not a crab at all but the scarab is Thoth whose Ogdoad includes the water gods.

So there is much to do with this element and getting to know its powers, its life giving role and what guidance it can give us. The Ancient Egyptian scribes started the day by pouring out a little water on the ground for their patron god of scribes, Thoth.

MAKING OFFERINGS is part of the practice of Buddhism, and certain offerings are apparent on every shrine that is done in the traditional way. However, these offerings are much more than a ritualistic system and form, they are a viable extension of the commitment to serve all beings. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche gave the following explanation of the seven shrine offerings during the Amitabha Seminar of July, 1981.

The making of offerings is an antidote to the pattern of attachment and greed. There is a material aspect to offerings, where a person offers from his or her possessions something particularly valued. Or someone may symbolically offer the totality of their possessions with the thought of bringing about benefit for all sentient beings, that the material deprivation of all beings may be remedied and their perfection of generosity take place. In general, offerings on a shrine are in a set of seven, in seven bowls, and there are specific meanings for each of the seven offerings.

Drinking Water

The first offering is that of pure drinking water. It is offered with the thought that whatever benefit one accumulates may, for the present, bring about the annihilation of suffering through thirst among beings. Especially beings in realms such as the pretas, or hungry ghosts, may receive relief from the suffering of thirst. The offering is also made so that ultimately all beings may be permeated by loving kindness and compassion.

Bathing Water

Bathing and drinking waters are offered to the body of the Buddhas, not because they are thirsty or need cleansing, but because by making such an offering to the objects of refuge, sufficient merit may be gained to bring about physical purification and cleansing of our own bodies, which are subject to negativity and are very vulnerable. The offering is also made, ultimately, to dissolve obscurations that interfere with meditation, that block Dharma understanding, and to purify all obstacles to Dharma practice.


The third offering is the offering of flowers to the awakened ones to beautify their surroundings, though the gift of flowers is quite unnecessary in the perfection of their Buddha realms. Again it is for the benefit of those who make the offering and it is made with the intention that all beings might find noble forms to inhabit, and ultimately, that all beings might embody in their forms all of the marks and attributes of enlightenment, like the awakened ones.


Incense, or good fragrances, are offered not because the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are in need of assistance to get rid of any bad ….”

I will finally note how water is used in Baptism. Why? Perhaps for its role in cleansing but perhaps it is a connection to our source. In India you will see many holy men standing in the sacred rivers and some braving the cold to wash in the ice cave considered the source of these rivers. For many water equates with life. It is certainly important for the adept to be on good terms with all these elements and to know that there is more to them than appears the case. Our computers and phones are all connected by them as are our brains.


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