Working with the four elements is all about getting the right blend at the right time.
Knowing just which parts of yourself you need to bring to into play when – effectively playing to your strengths, but in a very deep and personal way. There’s no such thing as ‘achieving perfect balance’, but it’s certainly worth aiming for more elemental harmony when things feel all crazy-like!
Often when I read for a querent, a major issue which is highlighted is a ‘missing element’, or an overemphasis on another. For example in a love reading, perhaps there are many swords (air) but no wands (fire) – the querent is thinking and thinking and thinking about the issue, but there are no no fiery sparks with which to create action. Or in a business reading, there are no cups (water) so we need to look at how we can bring more heart and soul into the querent’s work.
Here’s an exercise I suggest to clients where there is a problematic imbalance of elements…
Practically speaking, you might find it helpful to do some kind of mapping exercise, drawing out the different elements of yourself and the ways in which they seek expression, their strengths and their limitations. You may have your own ideas about how to do this, but if you need a framework, I would suggest using the four elements: earth, air, fire and water.
Get a big sheet of paper and put your name at the centre. Then draw four lines coming out from your name, one to each coner of the page. In the four sections you’ve created, think about the ways you express and use these four elements of yourself:
Your material surroundings and what you can make with your hands, your physicality, your relationship with your home and with nature and the earth.
Your intellectual self, your sense of right and wrong, truth and untruth, justice. Your world-view when it comes to human nature, the unique way in which you analyse and interpret your world. Your ability to see minor details or a long-ranging view. Planning, thinking things through, seeking knowledge.
Your heart, your love, your emotional self. How does this operate? Do you let it lead you without rationality, or do you temper it with the other elements. How do you deal with your own emotions? What can you create from them?
Your inner spark, your inspiration and drive. What motivates you, and how do you deal with this?
Finally you might want to bring in a fifth element: Spirit. I feel that spirit resides within the four elements above but for many people it is a separate and distinct part of themselves – their spiritual or religious selves, the way they relate to or understand the forces that create and destroy, their understanding of ‘luck’ vs ‘destiny’ and so on. You’ll have your own ideas about this!
The reason I suggest an exercise like this is threefold:
First of all it can help to mark the beginning of a new era in your life.
Doing something like this a year ago may have thrown up very different results – as a changed person looking to the future it is good to take stock of who you are.
Secondly, it will enable you to plan your way forward.
If you’re formulating plans for the coming months and looking to get busy with new projects and ideas, understanding yourself as a rounded person with skills and weaknesses in many different areas can help you to play to your strengths in the most informed and confident way.
Lastly, it can keep you on track.
You can use your map/chart (or whatever you create!) to ensure that parts of yourself do not become neglected as your plans begin to manifest.
It’s easy to get so exctited about a project, relationship or idea that we forget that we are not just emotion, or not just fire. For example, I might get so involved in all of the energetic fire and thoughtful air of setting up a business that I forget to take care of my health or my home (earth), or I might get so deeply into my new allotment (earth) that I neglect my emotional needs (water). And I reckon everyone is familiar with the classic situation where we become so excited about a new relationship (water) that we neglect all other areas of our lives! Becoming more aware of the elements that make you you can help you to avoid these pitfalls and progress your plans in a balanced way – far from being dull, this is a powerful force which can only bring you greater success.
I’m a 30-something writer, artist, tarot reader, and perpetual explorer of the space between thought, feeling, and action.
I believe that spirituality and ritual are for everybody. I’m about the journey, in all of its messy, non-linear, chaotic iterations. I am excited by anticapitalist business and living with my whole entire self present. I use tarot cards to bring forth hidden truth, and ritual to affirm my commitment, over and over, to my ever-shifting path.