The Four Elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water are the basic building blocks of life, and the world around us. Our bodies are literally made up of these four elements, and we could not sustain any life without them. They can also teach us a lot about ourselves. From the shamanic perspective, the elements relate to personal characteristics and can influence our behaviour. There are some common expressions which illustrate this such as “he’s really down to earth”, “she is such a fiery woman!”, “my life just isn’t flowing well right now” or perhaps, “he has his head in the clouds!” By connecting with the elements we can discover where our strengths and weaknesses lie and correct imbalances within ourselves. Lets begin by discovering the Earth element.
The Earth element represents solid matter, our physical bodies and the material world in which we live. Having a good connection to the Earth element means being physically fit and in good health, having healthy appetites, and an appreciation of the sensual side of life. The Earth element gives us stability, the ability to provide for our physical needs such as having a comfortable house and regular income. Earthy people are practical, reliable and able to carry their ideas through to completion. Being “down to earth”, abundant and present are gifts from the Earth element. However excessive Earth energy can make a person overly materialistic, greedy, vulgar and stubborn. The solidity of the Earth element must be balanced by the lightness of the Air element and the fluidity of Water.
A good way to reconnect with the Earth is to get into the garden and get your hands dirty. Gardening reminds us of the Earth’s natural abundance and reconnects us to nature’s cycles of growth and regeneration. In Shamanism all things are considered to be alive, to carry the essence of Great Spirit or consciousness within them and so all things contain wisdom and can be communicated with. If you wish to create more stability in your life, I recommend finding a stony beach or rocky terrain and sitting quietly with the stones there. Relaxing into a meditative state, you can silently ask the stones to teach you about stability. If you find yourself too stubborn or too fixed in your opinions then you might like to sit beside the ocean or creek and ask the water to teach you about fluidity.
Shamanism is about learning from nature. Consciously connecting with the elements is a powerful way to rediscover our primal, essential self and a useful tool to help us understand ourselves better. What can you learn from the Earth element today?
This article was written for Connect Magazine edition #77 February 2011