Archetype 2: the Firebreather

“They got guns but it points the wrong way”-MIA


Ah, tension. It is vital to life on Earth. I can’t imagine life without the delicious tension of expectation, the tension between lovers and land, movement and excitement. It is the element of fire which creates motion and heat, generates ideas and crystallizes juices.  And yet. Too much of a good thing burns your ass off.

The firebreather as an archetype is widely known but poorly understood. Have you ever seen someone so full of energy and ideas they lay it all out, get it all done and still have juice to make sweet love? Yeah, it happens. They’re on fire. But those who can’t direct this fire–the “firebreather”–get up and get burned by all this fire running them ragged. Waste it on screaming about all of the problems of the word, and oh there are so many, then need to take hours to recover.

If we are going to get up in the morning and expend that much effort, why not make it count? Perhaps the firebreathing dragon can put it in writing, send it to their Congressperson? Paint it? pound it into pie dough? Or set out to limit the undirected rage–only 5 minutes a day raging at that which we can’t change? Then move on. Use the rest of the rage for movement, processing, influencing that which is in reach. Why waste valid anger?

If we use our precious fuel to burn garbage we can potentially drive others away. How easy it is to direct this energy at those who neither want nor need to take on the burden, to breathe in the acrid smoke, and how easily the firebreather forgets that not all people have the capacity to burn up over everything that is AMAZING!!! or SUCKS!!! And these less-fired types may not continue to come around, therefore deepening the levels of anger and rage. What initially attracts others-well-managed fire-can become scary when burning out of control. A common result is the firebreather’s attempts to sedate the fire with ill-conceived self-medication, often creating more problems in the process.

And what does the firebreather type really need? How to let go, how to move on? An outlet. An ally. A plan.

I have observed several firebreathers take up running  in their 40s to manage their emotional states with great results-but I believe various types of movement can help. I see grounding and time spent with the other elements-working in soil, swimming in water and deep breathing of fresh air as especially important for those who are out of balance. It helps t find our own herbal allies which help us deal with pain, emotional and physical, as well as Hawthorne to balance the fiery heart energy  and cool movers such as Cleavers and Dandelion-becasue fire  energy gets stuck just like the other elements, just hotter. Mugwort. Rose. Level it all out with Milky Oats.

Writing, walking, listening and learning to let go. The excess fire state has an element of grasping, a type of sticky attachment to hammering everyone and everything over the head with your energy-it’s like an energetic rabies outbreak. So Mad-dog Scullcap may provide support for “the mad dog of the mind”.

And ultimately the firebreather may wish to learn to harness the fire for productive purposes, to accept that which we can’t change,  to find the balance between git-r-done and recovery, to direct the blazing soul juice and take a time-out when needed or run the risk of that fire burning up or burning out, at which point it may be too late.


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