Energy and the Elements, Part I: Fire and Earth

I have noticed, writing this blog, that the energy of each element has the potential to be creative.  However, they are creative in different ways. I’ve been wanting to post about how each element manifests the creative force, and when to focus on a specific elemental energy. Also, I wanted to write about how to neutralize out of control elements.  Part 1 will discuss Fire and Earth.

Fire

Fire is masculine and rules EXTERNAL action. It can be driving and burning. You want fire energy to help you take that first step to making your dream real. It is also indispensable when courage is needed. In love, fire is the element that brings passion–this applies not just to romantic love, but to any pursuit that gives you intense feeling.

The elemental for Fire is the salamander, a dragon-like creature which is sometimes depicted as being aflame, but unharmed. More recently, salamanders have been depicted as being made out of flames. The salamander can be large, or very tiny.  An interesting origin story for the legend of salamanders is that real salamanders like to live inside logs.  When the logs are tossed on the fire, the salamanders, naturally, run out of the flames. (source)  Salamanders symbolize grace under fire (literally, in the salamander’s case) and faith that cannot be extinguished (source).  You might like to visualize a salamander as a companion during your meditations.

 

Of course, the phoenix (one of my personal spirit animals) is also aligned with fire.  It represents the necessary burning away to make room to rise stronger, better, and more beautiful than before.  This concept is also seen in the fact that there are some tree seeds that only sprout if they have been exposed to forest fires.

Fire is also cleansing. It can burn away sickness and negative energy.

To bring this courage, passion, and driving force to your endeavors, sit or lie down, and focus on your breath.  Just relax and notice it.

Imagine a small fire kindling inside you. This fire starts right in the middle of the area where you sit (your root chakra) and flames through your lower spine (the sacral chakra) and into your belly (the solar plexus chakra).  The color of these chakras are red, orange, and yellow, respectively.  The red root chakra concerns sexuality (making this exercise excellent before a big date) as well as security, which is necessary for courage and moving outward.  The orange sacral chakra is about enthusiasm, creativity, and joy.  The yellow solar plexus chakra (so called because it is the center of the body, like the sun) governs personal power, expansiveness, courage, and growth.  Visualize these chakras igniting, and the flame moving up the spinal column.

Imagine the fire burning away all negative emotion, all pain, and changing anything that torments you into heat and light.  Imagine this heat and light filling every single cell of your body.

Stay in this warmth and light and flame until you feel cleansed and energized.

Fire is useful for healing if channeled as a gentle heat. This is especially nice for sore muscles or frost bite, or just when you’re feeling chilly.  A good visualization for this is to imagine red, orange, and yellow liquid energy, or light energy, flowing into the effective area.

If fire gets out of control, it manifests as anger and manic behavior.  There is intense activity, followed by a crashing burn-out.  Physically, this shows up as infections.  It is helpful, then, to imagine cooling energy of a green or blue color–either as light or as liquid–and picture it “washing out” and cooling the affected area. If the excess fire is emotional, imagine the entire body filling with this blue/green liquid light.

Earth

Earth lends practicality and patience. It brings abundance and fertility. It moves slower than fire or air energy, with a great payoff.  Soil is not the only component of Earth–flowers and trees are also part of the Earth, and so are useful to meditate on.

Earth is a feminine element, and is very nurturing and calm.  However, this is deceiving. There is a lot of activity in the Earth and its flora.  Think of sap rising, or flowers stretching toward the sun. It takes time, but it is steady, constant change, not the flaring of fire or quicksilver air.  It is associated with the Mother goddess, who gave unconditionally.

The Gnome is the Earth elemental.  Gnomes look like tiny humans, and live in the earth.  Fittingly, they are very practical, and are known for their agrarian and craftsman skills.   They have individual personalities, and are usually depicted as helpful.

Other creatures associated with the Earth are the beautiful dryads, or tree nymphs, and brownies, mischievous elves who live in the trees and in the earth.

Earth energy is helpful is you feel adrift and insecure. It is an energy that gives a feeling of safety, so it is also good for anxiety or any other type of nervous energy. It helps you stand tall.

Earth is also very good for transforming painful memories or thoughts into something healing and valuable.

If you’re feeling anxious, sit or lie down, and just breathe for a few moments. Simply notice your breath, and how it feels going in and out.

Imagine energy in the form of roots growing down out of your body, and up out of the earth. Imagine these two energies meeting. These roots may be dark green, gold, or pink. You are now connected to the Earth element.

Imagine this energy gently supporting you and enveloping you.  It can feel warm, or cool, whatever you need. It wraps you like a blanket or a mother’s arms. The energy is also flowing into your body, strengthening you, and giving you power and endurance, like sap in a mighty oak tree.  Imagine it fortifying your root chakra, located by your tailbone. Feel your spine lengthen and grow tall.

When you need endurance, visualize this energy traveling up your spine into the top of your head.  Imagine yourself growing, growing, growing toward your goal. When the energy reaches the top of your head, visualize yourself having reached your goal. Imagine how wonderful it feels.

Sit in this visualization until you feel warm and secure, or until you have a boost of confidence.

To cleanse and transform negativity, sit and breath as before.  Relax.  Imagine the negative emotion as something you can see–you may choose to make it a monster, or sludge clogging you.  If it is a negative experience, imagine the experience being played on a big movie theater screen. Imagine it shrinking down until it is tiny.

Get the Earth energy flowing through you again.  Then, imagine the Earth’s roots sucking away the negativity, the tiny screen, the monster, the sludge. Imagine it getting sucked down out of your feet, or out of your back, if you are lying down, and into the Earth.  Visualize the healing energy, in the color you chose, being taken into your body through your energy roots.

Now imagine the Earth turning this negativity into soil. This soil is nutrient rich. This soil can now produce positive, healing energy. It has been transmuted.

The shadow side of Earth energy, or a sign of having too much, is sluggishness, lethargy, and depression. Things are stagnant, and there is no motivation. The best way to counter this is to look to the fire and air elements, which are more kinetic.  I highly recommend doing the kindling visualization, described in the fire description, or this air visualization.

Lie down or sit with your feet flat on the floor.  Pay attention to your breath. Don’t force it, just notice it.

This is the element of air. This is what keeps you alive.

Visualize it filling every nook and cranny of your body, every cell.  Imagine it filling all the deflated parts of you.  Imagine it lifting your chest, your shoulders, and your heart. Imagine it surrounding your brain through your nostrils.  Visualize your brain waking up in every cell.

Now, we will go further.  Imagine flying on a stream of air. This air supports you and propels you, just like water. Feel it rushing into your face, into your lungs, refreshing you.  This air is taking you places.  Give yourself the wings of your dreams, if you’d like.  Look down.  What beautiful scene do you spy rushing underneath you? You have an eagle eye view of it.  There are opportunities as far as the eye can see.

Look around you. If you see clouds, or things look murky, imagine a gentle but strong breeze blowing them away.

Tell yourself, I have the energy and foresight to achieve what I want to achieve.  

 

Stay in this space until you feel clear, refreshed, and energetic.

 

This visualization will be reprinted in Part 2, when I discuss Air and Water.

highly recommend Caroline Myss’s Anatomy of the Spirit for further discussion of the chakras.  It is fantastic.  It is in-depth, and accessible without being condescending. It’s also a fascinating read. It not only discusses the chakras, but the Kabbalah Tree of Life and the Christian Sacraments.

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The Queen of the Subconscious: Love, Beauty, Purity, and the Queen of Cups

Cups are the suit of the feminine element of water, and the keywords are love, romance, dreams, the subconscious, empathy, artistic pursuits, and feelings.

 

The Queen of Cups is a person of beauty, kindness, and sensitivity.  Like all the Queens in the tarot suits, she is symbolic of the Mother archetype, with a watery disposition.  The reader’s intuition, the other cards in the spread, as well as the question at hand itself, will give more insight into the role of the Queen in the questioner’s life, whether or not the Queen is a person in the questioner’s life or an aspect of the questioner’s own Self, and whether the influence is positive or negative.

The energy of the Queen of Cups, when balanced, is soft and gentle, yet powerful. This power is one of the Water Mother–all loving and all caring.  This softness is seen in the shades of purple, yellow, and green Mary Guinan chose to illustrate the Queen of Cups in Julian De Burgh’s deck.  The Celtic Cup Queen also is blonde. Cups can be associated with blondes, so if your intuition tells you a blonde is involved, go with it!

I am particularly drawn to the Queen of Cups’ eyes today. The Queen of Cups’ gaze on the Celtic Deck is loving, but direct. She will brook no bullshit. The Queen of Cups, although watery, is not weak. The energy of water, when balanced, is very powerful, very clear, just like the Queen’s eyes.  But belying the directness is mystery. Even a clear lake has mystery–the reflections it gives may give a different impression than what is real, or it may help the viewer see something they have missed.  How appropriate that Water is the element of the subconscious, the mysterious realm inside all of us where answers can be found but are often given as riddles. What is making the Queen of Cups smile this Mona Lisa smile? Is she completely relaxed, or alert? This can be a litmus of the questioner’s emotions–if you see something in a face or a gaze, go with it.

 

Like the Celtic Deck, Kris Waldherr’s goddess (Venus, in this case) is blonde, and dressed in soft cool colors.  Her hair and veil flow like water. Her smile is serene.  The water behind her is placid–but are those mountains or storm clouds in the background? Is there anything churning under the facade of peace?  There may not be.

Venus is fitting for the goddess of the Cups suit because she is the goddess of love and beauty. Cups are concerned with love–romantic love, parent-child love, friend love, sensual love, infatuation, even the love for an art form. Emotional connection is key for the Cups.  Beauty is also important, for Cups also indicate creativity and inspiration, as well as dreaminess.  This isn’t being spacey; it’s tapping into a deep well of ideas and passions. It is connection to a purer part of the self and a higher intuition.  This is the archetypal energy of the Water signs–Luna, Scorpio, and Pisces.

 

Robin Wood’s Queen of Cups is breathtakingly lovely, the picture of romance.  Like the Celtic Queen of Cups, there is a mystery about her–what is in her cup, all covered in a cloth? Whatever it is, the cloth cannot hide the light emanating from it.  That is the Queen of Cups in balance–a light shines out of those with her energy, like the sun or moon shining on the water.  They have an open, generous spirit, and a tranquil wisdom. The deep greens and purples of the Queen’s cloak indicate the depth of the Soul.

The bottom hem of the Queen’s dress is decorated with a scene of children and fish happily cavorting in the waves. Cups can be the suit of childlike joy, as well. Check out the seals in the background. They may look a little like rocks.  They symbolize this joy in being alive, and in delighting in one’s dreams. This is deep, abiding joy.  The seals also symbolize adaptability–they live on the rocks and beaches, but can dive down very deep, bringing up juicy fish. Metaphorically, this is the balanced Cup’s ability to plumb the subconscious and their deeper emotions, and then bring back treasures to “the real world.” Seeing this card in a reading may indicate the questioner has this ability, or knows (or will know) someone who does, who can help them.

 

 

Now I’m going to get all mystical, but since you’re reading a blog about archetypes and tarot and astrology, you have to expect that kind of thing.

I believe in the “still, small voice” that 1 Kings 12 speaks of.  In the Bible, that still, small voice is God. It may be. It may also be our inner voice, our pure, ageless Self.  This Self lives deep within each of us, and it is our highest, greatest, purest Self. It is serene and wise.  When I see the purity of the Virginal Queen of Cups, and the clarity of her crystal goblet, I think of this pure Self.

Is this Queen meditating? What is she visualizing? What voices does she hear? Is she preparing herself for a sacrifice, which she will meet with dignity and selflessness? Because Water is the element of deeper emotions and love, it is often also associated with the concept of selfless sacrifice.

The love this Queen of Cups represents is not gushy or immature (though the Cups certainly can and do represent infatuation, and there is nothing wrong with that. I myself am constantly infatuated with someone or something). It is meant to make the person it is given to become better, and more attuned to the true Self, which can sometimes hurt.

The ice in the cavern makes me think of the rune Isa, which is a vertical line that looks like an I, the letter it stood for in the ancient Germanic alphabet. This rune meant “ice,” and, while we think of ice as being cold and barren, I feel that ice is also about introspection and rest. Many things happen under the ice, and as it melts it cleanses. So, I don’t think of the ice in this picture as a bad thing.  I look at it as meditative.

 

Because Cups are a feminine suit, the characteristics are really “exalted” in queenly form.

 

When a Queen of Cups card is reversed, it can indicate emotional instability, obsession, heartache, and narcissism–the Shadow side of the water element.  It can also warn of cruelty, and selfishness, especially on the part of a woman.  Depending on the question, it can also tell of blocked creativity or lack of communication with the Self.

 

The type of people associated with the Queen of Cups are women who are very kind, caring, sensitive, empathetic, and intuitive. It can also stand for a very creative woman, or a woman who is dreamy. These women can be older, or very mature, or a young woman with an “old soul”. They may seem mysterious and/or vulnerable. It can also represent men who are very nurturing and/or intuitive.

Prosperity and Security: The Ten of Pentacles

As a rule of thumb, when you see a ten in a reading, it usually means the end of one cycle and the beginning of another.  Each suit carries a different set of themes, but, of course, we must remember to be flexible in the reading of any card.  If a card is saying something to you that’s different from the “normal” reading, by all means, go with it!

Pentacles, also called Coins, represent the element of Earth. As such, they symbolize wealth, prosperity, security, comfort, sensuality, and health.

 

Robin Wood’s Ten of Pentacles is a joyous card.

The Ten of Pentacles (or Coins), as drawn by Robin Wood, shows not only material wealth, but emotional and spiritual wealth, as well.  The family is clearly a happy one.  The grandfather is serene, the children are generous with their love, and the golden dog (gold being the color of abundance) is loyal and adoring.  Even the couple in the background, underneath the archway (more on that later) are happily conversing! The old man can be seen as the personification of wisdom and hard work, which lead to prosperity.

Like all of Robin Wood’s cards, there is amazing detail in the Ten of Pentacles.  Pay attention to the particular details that stand out to you. It may be the flowers that the young boy is handing to his Grandfather, or the sun etched into the wood in the corner.

 

Robin Wood has decorated her Pentacles with pentagrams. Pentagrams in and of themselves are very protective–Christians believe that pentagrams symbolize the five wounds of Christ, as well as the five senses, and Pagans see it as a symbol of the five elements bound together with spirit, which is the top point.  This symbol of protection, wholeness, and unity can also be seen in the Pentacle suits of the Celtic and Barbara G. Walker decks.

 

 

The Celtic Deck, like Robin Wood’s deck, shows a happy, prosperous family. The arch over the family’s heads represents security and union, and the braids also symbolize a joining together in a strong  family bond.  The pentagrams are there, too, giving care and protection.

 

Like all of the Pentacles in Kris Waldherr’s Goddess Deck, the Ten of Pentacles is represented by the Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of Prosperity, Abundance, Beauty, and Pleasure.  The tree on the card is ripe with Coins, which may represent material wealth or opportunities. Depending on the reading, these opportunities may be financial, educational, social, or romantic. Since Pentacles/Coins also represent physical reality, they may also indicate robust health or healing.  The grass on the card, and even the flowers along the border, are fresh and bright, underscoring fertility.

 

The archway, as I am seeing it right now, symbolizes a doorway to a new way of life, or a new, joyful sensual experience. This is fitting, as the 10s are the end of an old cycle and the beginning of a new one. I also see it as a symbol of security, just as it was a symbol of security on the 10 of Pentacles for the Robin Wood and Celtic Decks.  What do you see when you look at an archway?

 

Kris Waldherr does not use the pentagram on her Pentacles.  Instead, she uses a lotus flower. Lotuses are the symbols of the goddess Lakshmi.  Lotuses are prized for their abilities to rise out of the murkiest, muddiest waters, inspiring people to rise above their circumstances.

 

 

Barbara G. Walker’s Ten of Pentacles is subtitled “Protection.” It is in agreement with the preceding decks that the Ten of Pentacles/Coins represents security.  Here, however, it has a more mysterious, esoteric meaning. The young woman on the card is connected to the circle of pentagrams by a red cord, suggesting the umbilical cord.  She is tapping into the fertile, protecting energies of the Earth. The circle of Pentacles reminds us of the cyclical nature of the cards, and that the ten represents both an end and a beginning.

 

We can also see the young woman is as a weaver.  She is weaving a strong, healing charm in her circle of pentacles, and her thread is thick with bright red life.

 

The Ten of Pentacles, like the Ten of Cups, generally represents good, healing, joyous energies.  If you choose to read cards reversed, it can mean a thwarting of the dreams they represent, or simply a postponement of their attainment.