The Essence of Fire
Each of the Elements is characterized by a dominant and a secondary Power or Quality: Earth is Dry and Cool, Water is Cool and Moist, Air is Moist and Warm, Fire is
Warm and Dry. Since the Warm and Dry powers have been discussed in detail already (Warmth in "Air," Dryness in "Earth"), a summary will do here. As explained by
Aristotle, Warmth is the power of separation and Coolness the power of union; they are the more active powers. Dryness is the power to determine its own form, and
Moistness the power to flexibly adapt to the forms of other things. Therefore, since Fire is Warm and Dry, it is the agent that actively creates distinctions and imposes
forms. We may think of the fiery arts of the smithy, the kitchen and the alchemical laboratory.
Indeed, in alchemy Fire is considered the primary agent of change (more on this later), and Empedocles, the 5th century BCE magician-philosopher credited with the
Doctrine of the Four Elements (Tetrasomia), distinguishes Fire as the Agent of Action (Kinętikę) among the Elements. Hence the Elements have the typical 3+1 structure
in which, as explained by Jung, the Fourth is the principle of determination for the Three. In physics, Fire corresponds to energy, whereas the other three Elements
correspond to states of matter (although we must keep in mind that these are just physical manifestations of the Four Elements, which are spiritual archetypes).
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