Franklin Merrell-Wolff on the Inner Fire

By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness

This is a part of The Teachers Speak, a series of articles on the Culture of Awareness.

“Fire is burning, man pull your own weight!” – Bob Marley

If you read my writings often, you might be familiar with the inner fire or violet flame. I usually use it in reference to inspiration from Source, but as we’ll learn here, it has far more uses than providing creative inspiration. This is one of its uses, but there are others we should be aware of that are just as helpful, if not more so.

The ‘fire’ is a powerful spiritual force that burns away everything in society and in the individual that inhibits growth, evolution or enlightenment, enabling us to reach a higher state of awareness that’ll eventually take hold in society.

If everyone became aware of it overnight, the populace would be more enlightened and willing to change the world than ever before.

Cleansing and Purification

Franklin Merrell-Wolff

Franklin Merrell-Wolff explains the fire in a way that, in my opinion, perfectly describes what it does by likening it to physical fire. I’ll share his words on it below, and when reading about it, I realized that I’m going through this process right now.

Through a series of lessons and experiences that are showing me what no longer works in my life, I’m making way for the fire to cleanse it all, purify my being and give me the strength to emerge with more wisdom and creativity to share with the world.

I’m sure we’re all experiencing this on some level, even those who don’t consider themselves spiritual. It can be difficult, but it’s all a part of the evolutionary process and we’ll eventually move on from it.

Bridging the Physical and Spiritual

In spiritual terms, the fire is a force birthed from love that exists in higher states of awareness and its purpose is to break the spiritual through to the physical.

Even though the physical and spiritual aren’t separate to begin with, our awareness is so fixed on the physical that we’ve shut down our higher senses. We’ve become completely unaware of the bliss that exists within, and those who try to bring our awareness to it are called crazy and rejected.

The fire bridges these two seemingly separate realms by getting rid of the ego-centered blockages that prevent spiritual awareness, and it brings with it adversity and, sometimes, pain. It’s all for the purpose of getting rid of what impedes us, and when we look back, we’ll be glad we went through the things we did.

The Fire Is Real

Franklin writes that the fire is not just a figurative concept. As you proceed further down the spiritual path, you discover that it’s the energy of purification and it’s very real.

“In the old days when I read of this Fire, I supposed that It had but a figurative meaning. But while the Fire is figurative, in a sense, yet It is also a quite real and even a sensuously felt and manifested fact. Not only have I felt this Fire, but It has been induced in those who live near me.

“They report feeling It as genuinely as the heat of the sun and manifest some of the effects of the sun’s heat as it acts upon the human body. The Inner Fire does reach down to the outermost of the man. This does imply that, looked at aright, the metaphysical is not utterly divorced from the physical.” (1)

The fire doesn’t destroy, he writes; it transforms.

“A Fire descends and consumes the personal man. For a time, short or long, this Fire continues. The personal man is the fuel, and the fuel, in greater or less measure, does suffer. But fire does not destroy; it simply transforms.” (2)

He uses the example of physical fire to illustrate the inner fire’s purpose.

“This fact can be realized by an analysis of what takes place through the action of ordinary fire. If a log is burning, the fuel is principally, if not wholly, in the form of carbohydrates, and the fire transforms these into carbon dioxide and water vapor.

“There remains a small amount of ashes, the persistently earthy portion of the log. The carbohydrate in the log was a fixed form, partaking for a long time, of the earthy solidity of the mineral associates in the log. But as the carbohydrates become carbon dioxide and water vapor, they take on new form in the freer world of the air.

“So too, does the Fire which descends and consumes the personal man but Transform him.” (3)


The Fire Liberates

In my opinion, this quote is important because it reminds us that the fire liberates instead of consumes.

It also gives a concise picture of what it’s like to go through the ‘dark night of the soul’ moments that lead to transformation, and if you’re struggling with this right now, remember that you’re not alone and you will get where you need to be if you stay on the path you’re making for yourself.

In the end, the fire frees you to explore your heightened spiritual awareness by lifting away the heavy weight of fear and misaligned desire that kept the doorway between you and Source shut tight.

Once all the clutter is out of the way, you can embrace the blissful visions and ecstatic states of being that exist beyond your physical awareness but mingle with it right under your nose.

Left in the Ashes

As the fire purifies, Franklin writes, the limited self is left in the ashes while the true Self floats gently to full consciousness.

Only the ash of the personal nature is left behind, while the rest, the best of the personality, is taken up to be conscious, in airy spaces.

“The ultimate state is one of a far, far greater Joy. It is possible for the man passing through the ordeal so to shift his center of self-identity that the pain, instead of being strong, becomes but a shadowy undertone of a Melody that is Joy.” (4)

To identify with the fuel (a.k.a. the limited self) is to suffer when it burns; to identify with the fire is to discover joy and bliss unlike anything the ego can create.

“He who identifies himself with the fuel predominantly suffers much and keenly, but if, on the other hand, he unites himself with the Fire, all is changed.

“The Flame of the Fire is a dance of Joy. There is no pain on this level of Consciousness. The transforming man does not then wait until after the Burning to Know the Joy, but feels It through and through while in the midst of the ordeal, which now has almost completely ceased to be an ordeal at all.” (5)

Free from Pain

The fact that it’s free from pain is perhaps the most important part of the level of awareness the fire unlocks.

The fire effectively brings you to a space free from the internal suffering that prevents the exploration of consciousness, and once the pain is burned away through often difficult circumstances, you’re free to rediscover all the things you’ve been missing.

You’ve only been unaware of them for the blink of an eye compared to how long you were aware before this life and how long you’ll be aware after, but regardless, they’ll be an incredible discovery and you’ll have the fire to thank for it.

“I Clearly Felt the Fire”

Franklin describes his experience with the fire immediately after a transformative spiritual experience involving ambrosia (bliss) and the Current. He also writes about a ‘throttle’ that helps control the Current so it doesn’t overwhelm you and cause fatigue or depression.

“In the days immediately following the Transition, I clearly felt the Fire; and because I did identify myself mostly with this Fire, those were grand days, despite the fact that there were brief periods of reaction when life seemed low in the physical body and it was difficult to assert the will-to-live.

“But now, these periods of reaction are growing less, both in that they are shorter in duration and are less intense.

“There exists a throttle, command of which gives to man the power to control this Current. It is but a due exercise of wisdom so to adjust the flow of the Current that Its action is balanced to meet the strength of the personal man.” (6)

A Balanced Approach

This is another revealing quote that brings awareness to the importance of taking a balanced approach to enlightenment. As much we all want to be overwhelmed with bliss and experience an immediate cessation of all of our problems, too much of this bliss at once can overwhelm us and cause us to feel low at first.

Approaching the fire, as well as the enlightenment it brings about, in a balanced way will allow you to gradually withdraw your attention from what prevents spiritual growth while accessing higher planes of wisdom and bliss.

Or, you can soar into the heavens without a care and you might not have the same results as Franklin. I recommend moderation even with spiritual activities, but as we continue developing these higher senses, the need for moderation will fade.

The bliss we seek will become a constant aspect of life, and one day, we’ll look back on a time when we were just beginning to access it and life seemed dull and void of purpose.

We’ll laugh at the miniscule amount of time we spent in that ‘low’ state of consciousness in comparison to the infinite amount of time we’ll spend in bliss, and we’ll never forget that the fire helped us return home.


As usual, Franklin’s writings have helped me deepen my understanding of a crucial concept that could help a lot of spiritual people who don’t understand why they’re dealing with so much adversity.

I learned more than I expected about the fire today, and we have this force to thank for the difficult but necessary experiences that bring us closer to the Source.

Everything is here to help us grow, and one day, the troubles that are so common now will be destroyed in the fire along with the habits and tendencies that often cause them.

We’ll finally let the spirit into every aspect of our lives, and Source will provide all of the inspiration we need to get out there (while routinely going within) and improving the world in some way.

Knowledge of the fire will spread to those who are unknowingly being purified, and the result will be an awakened society and a global revolution of consciousness.


  1. Pathways through to Space. A Personal Record of Transformation in Consciousness. New York: Julian Press, 1973, 39.
  2. Ibid., 38-9.
  3. Loc. cit.
  4. Loc. cit.
  5. Loc. cit.
  6. Loc. cit.

Inspiring a Revolution of Love, Compassion, and Wisdom

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