Your journaling this month will provide you with opportunity to examine what your perceptions of the Natural world and the Elements are. This will form the foundation of your understanding of the elements. As we move through the month, some of these perceptions will change, will grow and will be affirmed as your personal truth. This is after all the work of the thinking Witch. To assess, formulate opinions, test those opinions and then stand strong, recalculate or abandon all together what we believed to be true. This is the growth process that keeps the Craft evolving within and these are the tools that by our own hands help to make the many definitions that encapsulate the Wiccan Path.
Some thoughts to get you started:
- Begin by thinking about what your personal definition of the “Natural World”. What is included in that definition?
- How you would describe each of the elements?
- How do you feel these elements are expressed in the Natural world?
- How do you feel these elements are expressed in the Mundane world?
- Do they differ within the Spiritual world? If so, in what way?
- Which of the elements do you feel the most affinity for? Why?
Meditations on the Elements
This week’s focus is on settling into and connecting to the elements in the quiet space of your mind’s eye. You may do these meditations in whatever order you wish, indoors or outside and as often as you wish. Feel free to allow your own knowing of the element to create its own meditation as you progress in the work.
The Elements in Action
This exercise will train you to become more aware of the interaction of the elements as you move through your daily routine. The more connections and points of reference you can make to the varied forms of the elements, the deeper your understanding of the many layers of complexity that each hold. Before you know it, you will automatically be making the points of reference, internalizing these and have them as the stores of energy that you may later draw upon in your magickal workings.
Sitting outside on a warm, sunny day pick something in your eye line to observe and focus your attention on:
AIR: What thoughts does this observation bring to mind? Are you thinking about this observation in a state of rational mind or just simply allowing the varied thoughts to present themselves in whatever manner they wish?
FIRE: What action is inspired by what you are observing? What action is taking place as you are observing? Does it make you want to join in, continue to sit and observe or walk away?
WATER: What feelings arise as you watch the scenario unfold? What emotions are prominent and what emotions are you holding back?
EARTH: What is the physical setting and concrete reality of what you are observing? What would some descriptions be in creating a solid picture as you retell the scene?
SPIRIT: Think about the range of experience you have had in your period of observation moving through mind-will-heart and physicality. Now, create a synthesized perspective of your experience. Use all of the elements in a way that reflects the story with the most clarity. Reflect on both the positives and negatives you observed and then try to balance them in a way that provides a clear, concise interpretation. This final synthesis is the action of Spirit- coalescing and combining those necessary components of each of the four foundational elements to create the more refined essence of their sum total.
For at least one full week each day make a note of one thing new that you observe that you never noticed before. It can be something as trivial as noting how long a light takes to change or something more covert such as the first bud of a flower or plant. Each day try to “see” something new. Becoming more aware of the little details that cross your path each day, you become more aware of the interconnectedness of all things. You will also more clearly see what effect you may have on that minor detail, or how it may affect you in ways you were unaware of previously. Be sure to record your experiences in your journal.
Breath work is a staple of magickal practice. Control of the breath and knowing when and how to use the levels of energetic dynamic that can be achieved by breath begins with the basics of learning how to breathe correctly. Energy follows awareness and is move along its current of flow by breath.
The Elements and The Four-Fold Breath Technique
Now, that you have gained some first hand experience with the elements, it’s time to apply that experience to breath. In the last lesson we began the practice of the Four-Fold breath. In this iteration of that practice we are going to actively focus our intent on the subtleties of the elements as they present in this practice.
Obviously, air is fully engaged in this practice, but what about the other elements?
AIR moves into your lungs on the inhalation and begins the cycle of flow.
FIRE or energy is produced as the lungs process this incoming flow and the neural impulses respond to oxygenation.
WATER creates the pattern of ebb and flow that occurs in response as the cycle of taking in, and exhaling out is stimulated. Oxygen moves throughout the body, flooding and filling it with life-giving breathable air.
EARTH is the sustained and renewed product of our body, bringing about a relaxed and even breathing pattern that enables every autonomic function to healthily and fully operate.
And, SPIRIT is the affirmation of life that as we breath maintains our physical experience held in the sacred space of the Divine.
With these analogies (and I encourage you to formulate your own to fully understand the dynamics of this elemental breathing) in mind, begin a newly informed practice of the Four-Fold breath.
Begin by sitting in a quiet, comfortable setting.
Focus your attention on the rhythm of your breath. As you begin to feel your body relax focus your attention more fully on your breathing.
Take a full deep breath- inhaling for a moderate count of 1-2-3-4
Hold this breath for a moderate count of 1-2-3-4
Exhale for a moderate count of 1-2-3-4
Hold at the completion of exhalation for 1-2-3-4
You may continue to breathe in this manner for several sets of the four. Eventually, your breath will establish its own rhythm and attention to counts will not be necessary.
Tips: Try to maintain an even steady rhythm of in-flow and out-flow. This allows greater ease of holding at the fullest point of expansion and holding again once the breath has been expelled.
Do not be surprised if the first few attempts bring inability to hold at the peak and base of release and intake for the full 4 counts. Depending on the state of relaxation and possibly any additional pre-existing respiratory conditions, you may fond this difficult at first.
Usually, after several times of practice and with each practice any rhythm, flow or relaxation issues decrease and then generally fade. Remember, for some this may be a new type of physicality and awareness of breathing that is normally left on “auto-pilot” as we go through our day.
If you have been following the exercises offered as Foundations of Practice, you are beginning to form an outline of committed work towards a specific goal. The shift in your perception gained in Lesson One’s Foundations and now a deeper understanding of the Natural World and the Elemental components sets the wheel in motion towards raising the bar on your experiences. Keeping this work in mind as you move through your mundane affairs and finding ways to incorporate the lessons learned are the initial steps taken in living a magical life 24/7.
Great job on your dedication and achievements thus far!