(Private Collection C – Whare Ra Archives – C 134)
The Elementals of Fire – the Salamanders – are much more difficult either to describe or to deal with. Man cannot exist, even for a brief period, in fire. In using the Element he has to take the precaution to keep it enclosed in some kind of receptacle, and if he is careless and neglectful, even for a few minutes, the consequences may be terrible. Fire, more than any other element, absorbs almost any material into itself and destroys everything in its path.
The only way to check it is to use the antagonistic element of Water – for though man has experimented with various chemicals, still he has to fall back on water.
It is very difficult to give a definite idea of the appearance of Salamanders – the clearest picture to be obtained is by watching a fire of logs (especially drift wood which is impregnated with salt) and good coal. Remember the leaping, writhing flickering flames of red, yellow and violet with flashes of vivid green; then recall how frequently a strange face or form may leap from the fire itself, and you have an approximate likeness of the Fire Elementals. They are dangerous beings with which to have dealings, and it is wise to avoid all contact with them until the Student is sufficiently advanced to be able to keep steady control, not only over them, but also over himself.
In any dealings with the Elementals it is necessary to maintain an atmosphere of impersonal tranquillity. It is a cardinal tenet of the Order that magical practice should never be used for selfish ends, even though those may be apparently good in themselves. In the same way the Elementals should never be summoned to gratify curiosity or personal desires. They should be treated as a general rule, very much as we treat animals – kindly but firmly.
They are capable of responding with loyalty, but they should never be permitted to overstep the clearly defined boundary, which lies between them and us. Also, it must be realised that as they are pre-human therefore we must communicate with them by means of signs and pictures. Their language is more alien to us than that of animals and we can only translate our meaning to them, or understand theirs to ourselves by a method of projection somewhat similar to the cinema. Many of them have an acute sense of sound, and all of them react to rhythm. Therefore, Music, and especially the intoning of rhythmic sounds (which we call mantras) affect them strongly; and they are also sensitive to colours and certain forms which are akin to their own nature.
It must be clearly understood that, whereas man is composed of all four elements and Spirit, the Elementals are almost entirely homogenious with only a slight tincture of the other Elements. Therefore, it is easy both to distinguish one class of Elementals from another and to check the accuracy of our vision. An Earth Tatwa, for instance, may have a trace of water or of fire, but if any of these appears to an equal degree then it is wise to break off proceedings and return to banish carefully and start afresh.
On the other hand, if we are using “charged Tatwas” then two elements are present and may be accepted.