Being curious about the deeper patterns of life, humanity and the cosmos, I’m consistently attracted to the concept of the Elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air & Space. Every philosophy I explore, they are there: East and West. From the Chakras, to Alchemy, Native and the Mystical traditions – they all embrace the elements as part of a cosmological system intended to cultivate harmony and balance.
The Elements are within us. The experience of Earth as bones/muscle and water within every cell, are obvious. Fire is body warmth and digestion; and air, our breath. When any of these are out of balance, we are unhealthy, and if pushed to an extreme, cease to exist. We don’t naturally consider this, except when in dire circumstances (ex. crushed body, severe dehydration, heat stroke, asphyxiation). However, if we were in perfect element balance, our individual life experience would be vastly superior to our norm.
My interests in the elements go beyond this embodied aspect too; historically the elements are used in ritual and imagery to re-mind humans to ‘pay attention’ to them. I pay homage to them in various ways in my art imagery. My focus here is upon Earth.
This exemplary piece connecting to earth energy is through the cosmological symbol of the ‘Tree of Life’. The overall form of the central piece is simultaneously a leaf and tree, with yet another tree (ceramic broccoli posing as such) on the central platform. Two more trees, with poetic Earth ruminations, flank the central Tree. The center tree holds the other elements too: bronze veins, like little rivers, suggesting water, flow out the branches; wires of energy arise out of the broccoli canopy, and from the trunk below ~ simultaneously suggesting the fiery energy of roots/food flowing into the creation of the ‘tree’, and projecting life force energy out into the surrounding environment. The blue ‘air’ is the background. The focus is Earth, yet all the elements are present. To view this work in detail, click here.
Earth ~ Tree of Life 29” h x 21” w x 7“ d
Encaustic, Ceramics, mixed media on birch plywood.
Earth is the energy of stability, being grounded, and more subtly, creating safety, especially for the physical self. It is the foundation of every person embodied at this time on the planet. It has in many ways become distorted with a focus on material wealth as the cultural ‘value’ above all else. So many people are in constant fear (the shadow side) about their safety as it relates to physical well-being. Much of this is hype, an illusion created by those who desire to have power via financial wealth.
Your true wealth is your health! Which is where the focus on taking care of your physical body comes in through exercise, healthy diet and so forth; for me, this reveals itself in my other passion of teaching yoga and living foods. It is also through respect and care of your physical body, that you will be most able to appreciate life and contribute to the greater good.
Another approach to embrace the Earth element is to practice Patience. Like the earth’s slow cycle of creation, manifestation takes patience and perseverance. If you lack the Earth element in your life… make sure you go out in nature and appreciate it’s beauty and cycles; tune into the quality of Patience, so aptly revealed in nature. Attune to Patience before you engage in work that requires the long haul of your energy. It is through repetition that you become an expert, and valued for your gifts and skills.
The Earth dearly needs your assistance in curbing the tide of destruction humans are on. A healthy person requires a healthy earth. I encourage you to make choices every day that counter the devastating path humanity is on: choose organic food; make a lighter carbon footprint; choose a sustainable lifestyle, support conservation and protection of earth and her creatures.
We all need inspiration to remember the bigger perspective of how we contribute to the evolution of self and the planet. I hope you enjoy this art piece as a reminder of how the Earth is so elemental to our well-being. The 2 prose poems on the flanking ‘trees’ of this Elemental Wisdom – Earth artwork read:
Leaf, Forest, Tree
Waves of Energy.
Hand, People, You, Me
Actions of Care
Towards Self & Other
Out of Humus
The Blessed Mother
Of Earthly Existence