“Stay close to nature and its eternal laws will protect you.”
My grandmother had four daily rituals in with which she honored the four elements. To honor water, she put her feet in running water. For earth, she made sure her feet felt grass. For fire, she made sure she saw the sun. And for air, she stood underneath the canopy of stars each night.
My grandmother, like other American Indians not only honored the four elements every day, they prayed to the Four Directions every night. Kabalistic Jews spoke of the Four Worlds. The Hawaiian Hula culture immersed itself in the Four Elements. Buddhists wrote the Four Noble Truths. There are four ruling archangels, four cardinal directions, four earth seasons, four times of day, etc. Author Debra Silverman in her book, The Missing Element writes, “Egyptians passed onto us their version of the Four Elements, which is steeped in astrology – the oldest science on earth. These people honored the land they lived on – not because it was a good idea, but because they were dependent on it for their survival and they had to pay attention. They operated with rocks in their pockets and wisdom in their hearts.”
In many ancient civilizations, these four elements are regarded as the foundation of the whole body, part of every basic principle about healing the body, and the foundation of life.
The constant interaction of the four elements gives rise to the processes of the human body and is the impetus behind physical life, making the concept of keeping all of them balanced important. Of course during the normal course of one’s life, the elements go in and out of balance in a continuously changing state of health or disease.
Substances that are solid can be said to have the qualities of the Earth element. Solid qualities of the body that are of the Earth element include skin, muscle, tendon, bone, viscera, fat, and other solid organs.
Imbalance of the Earth element would manifest as symptoms of the organs associated with the Earth element. Some examples would be: skin disease, bone disease, tumors, and other “solid” disorders.
Substances that are liquid are of the Water element. Liquid qualities of the body that are of the Water element include blood, eyes, phlegm, saliva, lymph, urine, semen, other liquids of the body.
Imbalances of the Water element would manifest as symptoms of the organs associated with the Water element such as blood disease, eye disorders, renal disease, venereal disease, bladder or urinary tract infection or stones, and any diseases manifesting in abnormal urine or other liquid discharge.
Substances that have movement are of the Air element. Moving qualities of the body include respiration, digestion, and excretion, motion of the limbs and joints, sexuality, aging.
Imbalance of the Air element would manifest as symptoms of the organs associated with the Air element such as pneumonia, cough, mucous congestion, tuberculosis, bronchitis, other respiratory infections, fainting, dizziness, and arthritis. The Air element is considered to be the most important element in promoting mobility, strength, longevity, and vigor.
Substances that have heat are of the Fire element. Warm/hot qualities of the body include body temperature, circulatory system, and metabolism.
Imbalance of the Fire element primarily manifests as diseases of the Fire element organs: he heart and circulatory system.
The easiest way to balance these elements is to simply to expose yourself to the elements in their primitive forms. Put your hands into dirt, feeling the coolness, heaviness and solidity of the ancient earth element. Take a bath or visit a stream to feel the flowing wetness of water. Feel the breeze blowing on your skin and get in touch with the change and lightness of air. Turn on your stove or make a campfire and connect with the heat and power of fire. By doing this, you will get closer to an archetypal understanding of these concepts, and like my grandmother you will be on your way to balance the elements on a daily basis.