By Kerstin: Fire, air, water, earth… The classical elements are about understanding and expressing experiences and responses we may have, rather than being the building blocks of nature from the Periodic Table.
They reflect how we respond, at the core. Perhaps they remind us of our earliest days of consciousness… of our interaction with the environment… something often lacking in today’s modern society. The elements are an old way of uniting our sense of self and relative place in the world.
They stand for interactions, cycles, dualities, forging, releasing, relationships, emotions, feelings, thoughts, actions, and much more.
When humanity was young, fire was special. It would arrive suddenly, via lightning or from the earth, which we perhaps guarded while we could. It was dangerous when wild, yet kept us warm and lit the dark when tamed. Its energy transformed our surroundings, for better and worse. It’s energy shaped metal, and cooked food. It was about effort, sight, and hunger. It’s the only element we don’t necessarily need to survive, but it transforms us.
Air, on the other hand, is invisible. We heard bird and animal sounds that were carried through distances on the wind. We could smell the weather, feel the breeze through the air. It refreshed us, brought us information, and cleared doubts. We became aware of space through it. We need it to breathe, literally, and spatially. At gale force, we need to shelter from it, however, and so there is a wild, uprooting aspect to this element as well.
Water is connective. We need it like air. It quenches, washes, soothes, carries, spreads, and creates depth. Too much of it, and we drown in excess… Too little and we wither. It’s therefore the emotion element in many cultures. We need love like water, and it’s a need to be in a deep connection with someone that stirs us to share experiences. Water is the element of relaxation too… perhaps an old, embedded memory of floating for our first months of life. Life changes through water as it can dissolve, or combine.
Earth stabilizes, and is our structure. All that has combined and gravitated together to make for valuable reward is symbolized by earth. It’s from the planet that all grows, and feeds our lives. Cherish what we find and are given, embodied, and we have plenty to give in return. Through this element we’re reminded of attachment however, and falling for having rather than utilizing. It’s the densest element. A reminder of all things pragmatic and practical.
Sometimes, ice as an element is also observed. Ice brings clarity and sharp focus, a time of stopping the flow and taking stock. Winter was a traditional time to go within, and so ice can symbolize inner stillness. It can also represent blocks to our path, and temporary isolation. It’s coldness is a quality that brings out the survivor instinct, turning into Spring’s joy in due time.
The elements remind us of the seasons, and cycles of return. That we tend to focus on only a part of the whole story and need to understand all things change into with the elements … as new experiences.
Spirit, like ice, is also a variation of a fifth element for some. It’s the transcendence out of the mundane level. This comes perhaps from us needing a sense of purpose. Space beyond the environment. Or the untried horizon. Somewhere to unfold into as we develop ourselves, as we continue to evolve.
Love and Light,