The ancients believed that the world is comprised of four basic elements that sustain life: water, air, fire, and earth. These essential energy forces combined to create life with assistance from a fifth element—that of ether, or spirit. They are not only integral components of the material universe, but also elements that exist within all humans.
This is why working with the elements is powerful and influential for us. By connecting with them and understanding their presence within us, we become aware of our connection with nature and our relationship with the Divine. Honoring the elements allows us to honor and understand ourselves and our link to the world around us in a more insightful way.
Water can be found in oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, and springs, both above and underground. Life on our beautiful planet would not be possible without water, as every living creature from microorganisms to mammals depends on it. Our human bodies are composed of more than three quarters water.
It’s no surprise that this element represents flow, calm, and clarity. Its transformative nature makes it a cleanser and purifier. We may ask ourselves where are we in the flow in our lives and where are we stagnant? Water also has a link to our emotions. Where are we overwhelmed by our emotions? Where have we turned our emotions off?
It is symbolic of dreaming, healing, fluidity, purification, regeneration, stability, strength, change, fertility, devotion, receiving, and unconditional love. Water symbolizes death as well as rebirth. It is life-giving but can also be destructive.
Fresh water stands for life and good health, while polluted or stagnant water is symbolic of bad health. It is associated with the autumn season and the west direction.
Air can be found all around us, but its most visible manifestation is through breezes or winds. Like water, air is the element of life itself as all living creatures, both plants and animals, require it to live and thrive. It is what fills our lungs and every cell of our bodies.
It is associated with the breath of life and attributed to transcending power. Air symbolizes communication, intelligence, perception, knowledge, learning, thinking, imagination, creativity, harmony, and travel. The element of air helps us transcend our lower thinking mind and connect with Divine intelligence.
This source of life can also, at times, become a force of terrible destruction. We can call on the element of air when we need the winds of change in our lives. Air is associated with the spring season and the east direction.
Fire was the first element to be created when the universe was born. It gives off light, and is transformative, and when merged with other elements, it can change and grow. For instance, when fire encounters air, it grows bigger and burns brighter.
Fire is reflected in our blood and our body temperature. It speaks to the power of transmutation, burning away everything and leaving only truth to grow from the ashes. It also corresponds to being in full expression, much like a large bonfire.
Fire is attributed to transformational and purifying powers. It can give warmth and enable life, and it can also burn and destroy. In the spiritual plane, fire stands for Light. The element symbolizes incredible energy, activity, creativity, passion, freedom, power, love, vision, anger, strength, will, assertiveness, courage, dynamism, desire, and passion.
When I need clarity about a particular situation in my life, I like to work with the element of fire to burn away anything that is not my truth. It is associated with the summer season and the south direction.
The Earth element can be found in fields, hills, mountains, and plains, and is home to all living beings. Survival would be impossible without earth. Its fertility provides energy and sustenance to all living creatures.
Our bodies are composed of minerals of the earth in the form of our bones. It allows us to complete the energetic circuit in our connection, amplifying and magnifying our intentions. Earth reminds us to ground deeply here in this physical reality to connect to Divine wisdom.
It symbolizes prosperity, fertility, stability, orderliness, groundedness, sustenance, creativity, physical abundance, nourishment, solidity, dependability, security, permanence, intuition, introspection, and wisdom.
We can connect with the element of earth when we are looking to better embody and apply spiritual principles in our lives. It is associated with the winter season and the north direction. The ancestors are also associated with the element of earth.
You can read more in my book NATURE: Divine Experiences with Trees, Plants, Stones and Landscapes. Within these pages are some of my favorite ways to align with the natural realms and activate earth energy wisdom in your life!
ANA MARIA VASQUEZ, author of NATURE: Divine Experiences with Trees, Plants, Stones and Landscapes, has a profound connection with nature and animals. As a Multi-Sensory Animal and Nature Intuitive, she specializes in working with and helping others understand and interpret messages coming from Nature. Ana Maria sees nature and animals as mirrors to our inner landscapes that support us in making shifts that we otherwise wouldn’t make on our own.
As a shamanic practitioner and certified Intuitive Strategist, Ana Maria also helps other unpack their intuitive backpacks and utilize these gifts in their lives. Her online courses Let Nature Be Your Guide, Modern Shamanism, and Nature as a Messenger are popular courses on Sacred U.