This bright, jolly, 13th century rota sings gaily about the arrival of summer. Its four part harmony is popping with the joy of the season. There are blooming meadows, merrily singing cuckoos, prancing bullocks and farting goats. The song evokes many of the qualities of summer and the Fire Element: expansiveness, joy, expressive movement and an overall outward orientation. You can listen to it here.
The first notes of summer in the southern hemisphere are usually seen around the midpoint between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, about November 6th. The days are long and becoming longer, the temperatures warm and getting warmer, the sun bright and growing brighter by the day.
This year, however, there has been an abnormally cold and wet start to summer in southern Australia. I’m reminded of the jape about the English weather, that the main difference between winter and summer in England is the temperature of the rain.
Last weekend I taught a Fire Element workshop in which we invited the energies of Fire to fill the room so that we could immerse ourselves in a Fire bath. It was an unseasonably cold and wet day and it took a while to turn up the flame. In one spontaneous moment, I invited everyone in the group to spread their arms out wide, a gesture often associated with joy. As we all spread our arms out, I noticed that smiles broke out on everyone’s face. I didn’t even need to bring out the silly rubber chickens to get people smiling.
As we open our arms, we open our hearts. Through this posture, we can access the contented joy that is the natural state of the heart. And since the fundamental movement of Fire is outwards, joy flows naturally out into the world. What is more, this arms-wide-open stance also invites the world in.
I’m going to make it a practice this summer to open my arms out wide at least once a day.
I invite you to join me.