As much as I dislike being cold, I hate being hot even more. In fact, I’ve probably have a bit of a thing for the cold, despite my human body telling me that this is not something that is enjoyable. Regardless, I’m fascinated by it.
I honestly wonder if the cold, ice and snow is more of my home element than fire is. Memories of liking the cold are far more older than any memory of me liking fire (and I’ve never quite got over my dislike of heat – especially hot water).
I learned to like fire in my Junior year of high school when I had both chemistry and arts and crafts in the same semester. In my “arts and crafts” class, one of the things our teacher taught us was basic jewelry making, namely working with metal and enamels. This required the use of fire with torches and flint starters. My chemistry class required the use of Bunsen burners, which are lit in same fashion as the torches in my art class, using flint starters.
Needless to say, I became rather adept in starting fires with them and it was essentially magical in that I had difficulty at first, but when I finally learned the trick to making that spark that lit the gas…well, it was pretty cool. However, the fire in those situations were controlled fire, the fire that is controlled for humanities end. They were hardly anything like the wildfires that rage in the wilderness or even the bonfires that people so love to gather around.
In fact, I’m not even very fond of bonfires myself. They’re too…hot to be around. I may have a fiery personality, but I’m no firebug.
Which brings me back to the cold. I’m attracted to it. Far more than I am attracted to the heat of the fire. I tend to not turn on the heat in the winter unless it’s absolutely necessary, preferring to regulate things by hiding under comfortable blankets. Part of this is because, well, my body tends to run hot and I get uncomfortably hot quickly. Blankets are easy to put on and take off as I need.
My earliest memory of my preference for colder things comes from when I was eight and was visiting Disney World with my parents. At the hotel we were staying at (Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, if you care for the specifics), there was the usual hot tub type thing, but there was also one that contained cold water. Which fascinated me, because I had never come across such a thing before. I loved it and well, I think my parents probably thought me a bit odd.
It’s that memory that my mind always goes to when I think about my relationship with cold things. Not too long ago, I had been focusing on the element of fire and I thought that was my element. However, in the last year or so, I’ve been shifting slowly toward ice (which is often seen as part of water, but I have my own issues with water…even though I am attracted toward it’s solid form). However, I think this shift doesn’t mean that fire is not my element nor that ice is the only element that I can associate with.
Fire, perhaps, may be the element that composes my soul and helps me burn brightly (that is when it is not buried beneath my depression), but I need something that would balance out what is inside me, which leads me to the cold ice. One of the main dualities in my own spiritual practice seems to be fire and ice. This is, incidentally, also reflected in my home paradigm, in which the twin worlds Muspelheim and Niflheim interacted with each other and in doing so, enabled the first primordial beings to exist.
Interestingly enough, this duality of heat and cold, fire and ice, was already in place in my mind before I figured out that the Norse paradigm was “home” for me. In my freshman year of college, I started working on a story in which the two main characters were a fire mage and an ice mage and they were co-workers. They had different ways of working, but despite their conflicting ways of being, their elements also complimented each other. The ice mage was a negotiator, the person who first tried to defuse the situation the pair was called in to handle. The fire mage, on the other hand, was more of a fighter, who handled situations when they became violent. Each other backed the other in their respective roles, though their attitude towards paperwork was quite different.
I personally identified with the fire mage and the story ended up focusing primarily on him (the other stories in this universe also ended up focusing on fire mages…but there is still room for the other elements to tell their stories, so who knows where things will go). But in novel I’m in the middle of writing, started during NaNoWriMo last year, the protagonist of my story (and ultimately the character I strongly identified with) has an affinity for ice, snow and the cold. His magic is tinged with coldness. He is, of course, balanced out by another character whose primary association is with fire.
Ultimately, I think my path is leading me to work with both fire and ice and finding the balance between the two and discovering what the two, combined, create in the end. Like the twin worlds of fire and ice in Norse mythology, they are one form that the forces of creation can take. And in the end, perhaps they are also the forces of destruction and instead of one being the destroyer as in the Robert Frost poem…perhaps you need both.