Honor the four elements

.: Number 9 :.

Have you noticed that it is expensive to live near a river, at the top of a mountain, or next to a tree-lined park? Sun bathing, star gazing, even the simple act of planting a seed in a garden. Forests, waterfalls, canyons, the ocean. Earth, Water, Fire, Air. Whether we realize it or not, we place energetic value on the natural world. Humans have gathered in elemental vortexes of energy since the beginning of time and even now it is perhaps our deepest, most primal instinct that draws us to these energetically charged places. With high magick, elemental rituals work particularly well for anxiety because they address the fundamental forces that connect and form nature on the physical level and on the level of consciousness. You don’t need to think or interpret, the simple act of adding the energy of the four elements creates stasis in your home, body, and mind.

Beyond the elemental directions invoked in Western pagan and neopagan rituals, elementals can be found in almost all cultures across the world–the ancient Indian system of Ayurveda, the Chinese system of feng shui, Native Americans and the medicine wheel, and the five pure lights in Tibetan Buddhism. These systems deepen and enhance the understanding of elementals. But for the sake of simplicity, the rituals discussed below allow elementals to brought in to the home and body without any specific practice, study, or access to nature. Evoking these forces creates immense energy potential because it is the manipulation of the major energetic building blocks of reality. Elements directly tie in to the process of energy moving from the divine realms to our 3 dimensional reality. Understanding elementals therefore enhances understanding of manifestation. I have broken down elemental and manifestation correspondence in to the following system based on the study of alchemy:

Feelings (fire) lead to thoughts (air). Thoughts (air) lead to emotions (water). Emotions (water) lead to sensation (earth). Sensation is the manifested creation.

The first place to start in elemental ritual is to observe which elemental forces come to your specific constitution or temperament naturally. This can give you insight as to which elements to seek out to create balance. For some this can be associated with astrological sign and chart. But you can simply observe your physical body and mind to gain understanding. Does your mind move quickly or slowly relative to other people? How about your body? Do you need a lot of sleep to feel balanced? Or do you need a lot of exercise to find equilibrium? Do you feel grounded on a day to day basis or as if your mind is in outer space? Do you often forget to eat or is it difficult for you to put down your fork? Do you change day to day, moment to moment or do you feel more fixed, steady in your approach to life? What is the quality of your skin: cool or hot? Oily or dry? (Note that you can have more than one elemental in your constitution.)

Once you have identified your personal quality or qualities, notice the foods that you crave, the people you surround yourself with. Often we seek out opposites or balance in our environment without realizing it. For your ritual choose any energy that you notice may be absent from your life that falls within the realm of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. The following lists each element, their qualities, and techniques to access them on a daily basis in your home:

.: Earth Element :.

Earth is the boundary or container for other elementals to be expressed. It is the body, Gaia, Mother Earth. It is associated with the Root chakra, the archangel Uriel and the season of Winter. Earth qualities are fixed, still, and cooling. It connects us to nurturing mother energy: safety, comfort and rest. Earth is consistent, reliable, and changes more slowly than the other elementals. It is the physical, material plane and it also relates to anything you manifest into this reality. The earth elemental is the fruit of your energetic or spiritual labor. Your intentions and internal mechanisms or beliefs correspond to what you create in the Earth realm. Looking at your physical, earth body, can be a great place to get insight in to your state of mind. In order to manifest through the physical reality, it requires the qualities of earth to be in balance: patience, consistency, and repetition. Our physical world is composed of time and space, which are limitations or boundaries. The earth elemental enables us to work with the physical form to create and to nourish the body.

If you seek the restful, nourishing energy of earth, start your ritual by accessing trees, plants, and soil of any kind. You can purchase a simple house plant and keep it at the foot of your bed or in your kitchen. Every day touch or water the plant as needed. When you are in contact picture green energy being shared between you and the plant. Over time build a relationship by researching the plants name, origin, and specific needs. Speak to your plant or simply acknowledge the plant’s consciousness. You can do this outdoors if you have access to trees of any kind. The key with any earth ritual is to practice it every day consistently. Additionally, if the weather allows, find a day to go outside in a park, the woods, or a field to practice earth charging. Take off your shoes and lie on your back in the soil or grass. Close your eyes and allow your hands and feet to fall open in a shavasana posture. Visualize the center of the Earth. Picture a deep green energy. Imagine this energy is a tether, a line of light that moves up through the center of the Earth in to your body. At each inhale picture that energy flowing in to the back of your skin. Mother Earth holding you, filing your physical body with energy.

.: Water Element :.

Water is the life force or blood that flows through the physical and energetic planes. It is tears, childbirth, sexual fluids. It is associated with the Sacral Chakra (2 inches below the naval), the archangel Gabriel, and the season of fall. The qualities of water are fluidity, movement, and change. It comes in three states: liquid, ice, and steam, expressing a versatility unique to this elemental. Water is connected to the unconscious mind, lunar cycles, dreams, femininity, creativity and sensuality. It is pure chaos or potential and it subtly influences everything that we create in the physical world. Like the moon reflecting the sun, water reflects our deepest, most heart-felt desires. It is the darkness, the secrets, the mysteries. The thing that you can see but only out of the corner of your eye. Water also cleanses and nourishes the body and the earth. It has the ability to bring forth life from the earth. In many traditions water also connects us to our emotions. Water can be utterly still and calm. Water can also be erratic, a destructive, powerful force of nature. In manifestation water is the unconscious mind that runs in the background of all our conscious thoughts. Balance and purification of the unconscious yields purity of intention. There is no longer fear or limiting beliefs influencing your magick on the unconscious level. When you practice the purification of water ritual, you can more directly and effectively manifest desires in to the reality.

In order to incorporate the flowing and purifying qualities of water, start by becoming intentional with your use of water every day. When you have completed your work for the day, take a shower or wash your hands. Close your eyes and visualize the energy flowing off of your body or hands. Embody the state of water and allow that flow to enter your body. Additionally drink water regularly. An easy way to start increasing water intake is to drink water with every meal. Before you eat or drink, close your eyes and bless the water and food. Allow gratitude to flow from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. As you eat and drink the water visualize the energy charging your body. You can even leave a container of water in front of a window that faces the moon or outside (you can use a mason jar). Choose the night of a full moon and allow the energy of the moon to enter the water. The next day you can drink the water, boil it for tea, water your plants, or find any technique that best serves your creative needs.

.: Fire Element :.

Fire is the catalyst for life and evolution. Magick is closely tied to fire as it is pure, raw energetic power. It is associated with the Solar Plexus chakra, the archangel Michael, and the season of summer. Qualities of fire are heat, destruction, and purification. It is connected to the supreme power house: the Sun. Fire destroys, however destruction does not have a negative connotation here as destruction or death leads to new life and growth. The archetypal image here is the phoenix rising out of the ashes. It is the inevitable change that occurs in the world around us and inside of our bodies. Digestion itself is the fire element at work. Fire can also be connected to passion, intensity and emotion. Emotion is energy in motion. Energy in motion moves thought forms in to the physical reality. They ignite an idea, the passion that brings forth manifestation in to the physical reality. In it’s most elegant form it is self-empowerment and assertiveness.

If you seek to add more heat or even greater energy in your routine, ritualistically seek out sunlight on a daily basis. This can be done by taking walks outside or sitting in front of a sunlit window. Close your eyes and feel the grounding earth energy where your feet or seat contact the ground. Envision the sun entering through the top of your head down the center of your body in to your stomach like a pillar of light. If sunlight is not available, sit in your home in front of a candle or fireplace, ensuring the fire is contained. This ritual can be done with sunlight, a flame, or with your own mind. Close your eyes and feel the warmth. As you inhale, visualize the warmth entering your hands, moving through your arms, and entering the center of your body. Hold the energy there with each breath–do not let the warmth escape. As you breath see warmth and power glowing at the center of your body. Visualize your cells filling up with energy, your aura gaining luster and brightness. After three minutes of this, inhale and hold the energy at your solar plexus for three slow counts. As you exhale imagine the energy flowing in to your feet. When your lungs are empty hold the breath for three more slow counts and visualize the energy entering the ground beneath you. As you inhale again visualize the fire moving up into the center of your body again. Be mindful to contain the warmth within your being and to not let it escape. Fire can be erratic so only practice this ritual when you feel calm and grounded.

.: Air Element :.

Air is the breath, the invisible force that animates all life. It is the breath in your lungs, the energy that moves your heart. It is your thoughts, your imagination, your dreams. Similar to fire, air is also closely tied to magic as it is closely tied to powerful, invisible forces. It is associated with the Heart chakra in Hindu tradition, the angel Raphael, and the season of spring. Qualities of air are movement, lightness, and extreme change. The ancient Greek deity Hermes is also connected to air and they are both divine representations of the mind. The mind like air changes rapidly and contains limitless creativity. Hermes is the traveler or psychopomp that moves rapidly between the world of humans, gods, and the dead. He is a powerful magician, alchemist, thief, shapeshifter, and shaman. Similarly, air move us through the realms of consciousness–the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. Through discipline, the air elemental has the ability to take us to higher levels of understanding and exaltation of physical form. Combining the Greek and Hindu interpretations of air, the mind and the heart as one animate us to create and project magick on to the physical reality. The coherence of the mind and the heart enable purity of intention and rapid materialization in to the world.

If you seek to access the movement and creative qualities of air, start your ritual by enhancing the air flow in your home or space. Open windows and turn on fans to circulate the air. Move furniture or objects so that there is a clear path between windows and doors. Light incense or gather objects associated with the air elemental such as feathers, wind chimes, or wands. Next find an open, clear space and sit in front of your object. Close your eyes and sit tall so that your sit bones press in to the ground or chair. Relax your shoulders and imagine someone is pulling the top of your head with a string. Turn your attention to the air in your lungs and bring the breath to your low belly. Place the left hand on the pelvis and the right on the stomach while keeping looseness in your shoulders.

I offer two techniques to tap in to air that come from the Yogic tradition of pranayama which is the control of prana or life force through the breath. The first technique is heating and the second is cooling. Select the energy that best serves you in your ritual.

The first is Kapalabhati Pranayama or Breath of Fire which is used to oxygenate and detoxify the blood. It builds heat and vitality in the body. You can use this technique to combine elements of fire and air in one ritual. Start by panting like a dog with your tongue out. Feel the pumping motion in your belly and pelvis. Next pant but move the breath to your nose. Last close your mouth keeping the powerful breath through the nose. Inhales and exhales should be even and steady. This video breaks down the technique.

The second technique is called Sitali Pranayama which adds moisture and cooling to the body. It slows down the nervous system and creates a state of calm. Use this pranayama to combine elements of air and water in your ritual. Slow down your breathing. Curl the sides of your tongue and breathe in through your mouth as if you’re breathing through a straw. If you cannot curl your tongue, alternatively you can practice Sitkari which has a similar affect. Simply inhale through your mouth with your teeth together. The following video takes you through the technique.

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