The Oxford English Dictionary notes that our word salamander comes from the Greek σαλαμάνδρα, which Latin basically takes wholesale in its salamandra. It’s even been a part of the English vocabulary since about 1340 A.D. since Ayenbite of Inwyt uses it as salamandre.
Roderick says that in Wiccan lore, salamanders are “small, lizard-like creatures that live within the etheric forces of fire.” They also “bestow the powers of the element fire, such as passion, inspiration, sexuality, drive, ambition, energy, movement, and linear direction. Salamanders also have the power to invert these traits and abilities. When that happens, they can create hot-headedness, force, aggression, anger, rage, or intimidation”. Roderick also notes that witches “work with salamanders when they want to rebalance their own fire energies or work magic that connects to fire. They also call upon salamanders as guardians and protectors of the magic circle’s southern quarter.”
Again, I prefer Deborah Lipp’s description. She says that “Paracelsus viewed salamanders as great, radiant, god-like beings. Woodcuts show them to be dragon-like, some winged, some not, and some with human faces. Some say that the shapes you see when staring into a fire, which sometimes appear to be creatures, actually are beings–salamanders, and that is how they should be visualized. Of course, just as a fire is constantly changing its shape, salamanders can be shapeshifters, but they will always look fiery, especially in coloration.”
“Salamanders are Fire. They burn and explode, they smolder and burst and consume. They are temperamental, impulsive, quick, and willful. They have no caution, no concern, no restraint; none of those are in the nature of Fire. Magicians who invoke Fire elementals must always be careful and cautions, because salamanders are incapable of these qualities. It’s very hard to get a salamander to do your will, because salamanders are Will. Usually, if they cooperate, they leave their own stamp somehow.”
Practice: Meeting the Salamanders
What You’ll Need
- Fire Incense
- Fire Oil
To begin, light some fire incense and allow it to waft over your body, infusing you with its energies. Place a dab the fire oil at all seven body-energy centers: base of the spine, pubic region, solar plexus, heart, throat, center of the brow, crown of the head. Next you will engage in a guided imagery. As always, you can read it and memorize the imagery sequence now, have a friend read it to you with your eyes closed, or tape record it for later playback.
Find a comfortable lying-down position and close your eyes. Take several deep breaths and allow your body to become relaxed. Slowly allow the earth to hold you completely. Surrender your body weight to the planet, where it belongs.
Imagine that you stand facing the south atop a sand dune that dominates a vast white-hot sand desert. No matter where you cast your gaze, all you can see is this burning white sand that seems to stretch into infinity. Hold your spirit hands up toward the south. Feel the heated energy of the land as it circulates completely through you until you feel that you are unified with the energy.
Next imagine that you are casting this energy out through your hands and it appears as an electric-red power that crackles and sizzles. Turn your spirit body in a clockwise direction, casting a circle of protection and containment with this energy that bursts forth from your hands. When you face the south again, the energy that once emanated from your hands subsides.
You are now completely surrounded by this field of energy, yet you are able to clearly see through it, out across the dunes. Imagine that you raise your hands to the sky and summon forth the salamanders, the spirits of fire. Soon you see small flickers of fire sprout up from the desert floor. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of these little flames appear and they begin to move toward you and your circle. As they surround your magic circle, you have a chance to observe them carefully. You can see a fiery-red lizard (or miniature dragon) contained within each of the flames. As they surround you, your circle takes on a sparkling rosy hue. Ask the salamanders where near to your home you can find them. Remember what they tell you.
Reader: pause for a few moments.
When you have heard their answer, bid them farewell and firmly request that they return to their magical realm. Little by little, you observe the salamanders pop back below the white sands, leaving only the sparkling rosy aura that surrounds you and your magic circle. This aura left behind is the balancing force of fire. Feel it balance you, center you, and cause you to become whole.
Reader: pause for a few moments.
When you feel you have absorbed enough of the elementals’ powers, it is time to close the circle that you have created. Imagine that you hold your hands up to the south, begin to turn your spirit-body in a clockwise direction. This time as you turn, imagine that you draw the energies of the circle back into your body. Then allow the energy to pass through your body and return to the earth below your feet, grounding it completely.
Once you have finished, it is time to open your eyes. Get down on your hands and knees and place your forehead to the floor, grounding and solidifying all of the energy you raised.
Take time to journal about your experiences, to draw a picture of the salamanders, and to write down where you can find them near your home.
Well, I guess the 1990s are a bit of an upgrade from the 1980s. The thing is, I was so sure I would see large, powerful dragons because–intellectually–that kind of massive power is what I associate with Fire. And yet, when I drew the red circle in the desert (by the way…HOT! My spirit self was positively soaked with sweat), the little licks of flame shifted between flame and these adorable little baby dragons, not at all unlike the character Charmander from the Pokémon games and TV cartoon. So freaking cute. I am becoming a little disturbed as to why my elementals are so innocuous looking. Is it because I think they’re things to be handled very, very carefully and they want to be friendlier?
At any rate, the clearest idea I got of where these elementals could be found nearest to me was–oddly enough–the agricultural fields of the valley. I guess it’s because they get so dry and crackly in the summer. Really, without irrigation, I’m not sure the Willamette valley could grow half of what it does. The salamanders can also be found in our volcanic mountains and at the various hot springs, as well as the woods. After all, the forest fires here are quite the concern!