The Four Elements

All of life and all of nature is comprised of some unique combination of fire, earth, water and air. A tiny seed germinates and bursts forth, pushed by the fire within it. It grows from the rich earth, nourished by water and sunlight and the air around it, and becomes part of the rich kaleidoscope of earth’s flora. Depending on what type of seed it is, the plant may carry more or less water and air.

The four elements are thus interwoven, forming and feeding the cycle of life. When we work intentionally with the four elements, we step into an ancient awareness of our world and access new language and tools for healing.

As explained by a vibrant Brazilian spiritual tradition rooted in indigenous Guaraní and West African belief systems:

  • Fire corresponds to the passion, creativity, and movement that propels us through life and helps us bring our unique dreams and gifts to the world.
  • Earth is the domain of physical form, where everything manifests according to the laws of physics and the continual cycles of life and death.
  • Water represents our emotions – free flowing like the river or vast as the ocean – that lead to our relationships meandering or flourishing.
  • Air is our consciousness, the space of ideas and understanding, where we can ultimately find illumination.

The cycle of life begins in fire with the spark, and runs its course through the energies of earth, water, and air, moving to the next level as we expand our consciousness. For example an idea occurs to us (the spark) which we feed with continued reflection and planning (fire) and then bring it into being (earth), work through the emotions that arise as part of its manifestation (water) and finally gain new insights and understanding (air). Then the cycle starts anew, from a higher place of awareness.

As we move through this cycle many of us find ourselves getting stuck in one or more aspects of fire, earth, water or air – creating blockages that can manifest in our relationships, health, work or other domains of life.

Healing comes when we are in balance with the four elements and the flow of life. When we let the fire of creativity flow effortlessly through us, happily do the mundane daily work of the physical world, allow our emotions to find natural expression, and seek to continually expand our understanding or consciousness, life manifests positively around us.

We work with four energies in each of fire, earth, water and air, to bring awareness to the areas where we’re stuck, and shift or release old patterns. Each of the sixteen total energies of the life cycle play an important role in our reflection and healing.

Four Elements Workshops

To experience the healing power of the four elements firsthand, join us for four elements workshops this fall. You can attend any or all of the events that call to you:

Healing through Nature

Most of us have experienced a feeling of relaxation or revitalization after spending time in nature. But how can nature help us heal? What are we referring to when we talk about healing through nature?

We can feel nature’s healing effects from subtle to profound ways, on a physical level or on an emotional or even spiritual level. Here are three ways nature can help us heal:

1. Healing the Body

We know that herbal remedies and plant-based diets can accelerate healing and keep our bodies strong. Most pharmaceuticals are based on healing compounds originally found in plants. Nature clearly provides us with a wide array of medicines to heal our bodies, but simply immersing ourselves in nature can also be healing.

Scientists have found that evergreen trees secrete natural chemicals known collectively as phytoncide, which help boost our immune system. The air in forests and near rivers has a high concentration of negative ions that increase serotonin levels and reduce depression, fatigue and stress. Multiple studies have shown that levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline decrease when people spend time in nature, and blood pressure drops too. Learn more.

Forest bathing or forest therapy is a wonderful way to experience the forest with all five senses, and reap the health benefits that the forest has to offer. At Ewassa we also host Art in the Forest sessions, which offer the same benefits as forest therapy but are fun for all ages to participate in. Explore upcoming forest therapy events at Ewassa here.  

Laying on the ground, leaning against a tree, or taking off your shoes when out walking in nature can accelerate the process of balancing through grounding. I recommend spending at least 10 minutes every morning and afternoon/evening outside, with your body directly touching the earth in some way. Just this simple practice can significantly increase your overall feeling of well-being.

2. Providing Life Perspective

As we slow down to watch a bird soar gracefully and weightlessly across the sky, listen to squirrels chatter in the trees, or observe the ants busily working together, we glimpse the continuous flow of life that extends beyond our selves.

The trees, the flowers, the birds, the insects and the animals share the same vitality and life force that flows through us. We’re all bound by the same cycles of birth, fragile infancy, growth, strength, survival, procreation, maturation, decline, and eventually death. We all prepare the world in some way for the life that will follow us. Realizing this can create a deep sense of connection to the rest of the world that is both anchoring and uplifting.

Spending time in nature can help us release the rigidity of “should’s” and “must’s” and fixed notions of how things should be, to soften to embrace a world of beautiful imperfection. Relaxing our perspective on life can help reduce stress and perceive new paths or options.

One of my favorite lines from a movie comes from The Power of One, when Morgan Freeman’s character says “The answer to every question you have can be found in nature.” This struck a deep chord when I heard it many years ago, and over time I’ve found it to be true. When I spend time in nature meditating on a question about my life, I almost always find some sort of clarity or an insightful shift in perspective. I simply need to open my eyes and mind so that I can perceive the metaphors in the cycles of nature, and there I find my answer.

3. Emotional and Psychological Healing

Nature can also offer opportunities for emotional or psychological healing. The reminder of our own eventual death as a tiny piece of the majestic and continuous ebb and flow of life can help us push past our pain or trauma and strive to make the most of the short time we have here.

As we delve deeper into the cycles of nature, the four elements and how they are mirrored in our own lives and psychological landscape, we find powerful tools for positive transformation. For example if your inner fire and creativity is weak, we can perform a fire ritual to re-ignite the spark of inspiration that propels and keeps you moving forward. If you’re having issues with finances or finding work we can examine your situation and work with the energies of the element earth to regain balance. If the waters of your emotions are stagnant or stuck, we can create a ceremony or ritual using pure river water or sea water to help release them.

When we engage elements of nature as part of a ritual of release or rebalancing, it amplifies our intentions and brings potent results.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we work with the four elements or incorporate nature into healing rituals, please explore our services, nature energies and upcoming events.

Nature healing offers something for everyone, wherever you are at in your life. You can seek out nature for relaxation and rebalancing, to help gain insight and perspective on your life, or to create powerful rituals that work on a deeper emotional or psychological level.

If you’d like to experience the healing power of nature, please visit our events page and sign up for any event that calls to you.

Restoring the Soul

Restoring the soul through immersion in nature is an ancient concept. We are reminded of this in Psalm 23:

The Lord is my Shepherd

I shall not want

He makes me to lie down in green pastures

He leads me beside the still waters

He restores my soul…

We’ve lived in harmony with nature for the vast majority of time that we as humanity have been present on the earth. We revered the Sun, celebrating its appearance each morning and singing it to sleep in the evening as its light disappeared in a brilliant display of color.

We contemplated the beauty of the heavens, studied and named the stars and their patterns. As women we menstruated with the Moon, who marked our cycles and the passing of time.

We bathed in rivers, made pilgrimages to waterfalls, rejoiced at the shores of the ocean, and held in awe the humbling power of the volcanoes.

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We felt the natural world every day. We were immersed in it, exchanging air with the trees, attuned to the weather changes and the natural ebb and flow of life.

We are of nature. We are an integral part of the natural world, and it lives and breathes and flows through us.

When we live our lives separate from nature, when we no longer see the stars, take walks in the forest or follow the moon cycles, we often feel a sense of disconnection or imbalance.

I suspect that many of our present challenges can be traced to our disharmony with nature. When we are no longer conscious of the timeless flow of the natural world that lives within us, we lose access to a part of our own true nature and disconnect from key parts of our selves.

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I hold a vision of a space and path where we can each, in our own way, reconnect with nature and rediscover those parts of our soul that we have forgotten. As we return to nature we bring awareness to the storms and droughts that appear in our lives, and find the paths that lead to the green pastures and still waters where we can restore our soul.

Each little flower that opens, each bird that sings, each eagle that soars high in the sky contemplating the beauty of God’s creation, and each of our own lives is an expression of our Creator.

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Our lives are like threads that run through the majestic tapestry of life, just like the lives of the fox, the possum, the pine tree or the magpie. These interwoven threads create an immensely beautiful place that is our earthly home.

When we remember our small place within the tapestry, a part of our soul awakens. When we let the energy of life flow through us, untamed or unfettered, it strengthens. Nature feeds a part of us like few things can, bringing peace and calm to the soul.