The Elements are Medicine
Updated: May 3, 2021
This was a Facebook post I made about six weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, offering guidance for soul care in these perilous times.
How are you, dear ones?... No, how are you really?
As we enter our second month of shelter in place, and shift from crisis mode toward developing more sustainable systems of mutual aid and community care, practices of spiritual/emotional/physical well-being, and strategies for using this pivotal time to foster social justice and liberation -- are you finding the support you need? How are you caring for your precious self with tenderness in the midst of this new and evolving landscape? Or are you operating (as much as you can) outside the level of feeling just to keep on keeping on? Are you afraid that if you allow yourself to feel that will open the gates to an overwhelming tidal wave of emotion?
I started to write this note as a letter to empaths, and then realized that with collective trauma, anxiety, and grief so omnipresent, everyone is feeling it to some degree (consciously or not). Are you remembering to do the practices to release the accumulated emotion? Do you have practices to do that? Do you need some?
If your answer is Netflix and your substance of choice, no shade here. Those can be helpful forms of stress relief. (And, yes, they are some of my go-tos as well.) But they are not much help for clearing or healing trauma and grief. Or for accessing the deeper sources of strength and wisdom we need in these times.
What are the medicines for your soul?
Nature and particularly the healing powers of each Element are some of the most powerful medicine i know for clearing / transforming / healing trauma and grief. There is such deep love and wisdom in Nature... Here are a few ways to think about engaging each Element:
EARTH - put your bare feet on the earth and breathe down into the center of the earth; breathe Her deep peace and nurturance into you. Lay on earth (back or front) and breathe, feel, cry, release, receive. Ask Her to pull out of you and transform whatever does not serve. Pray for it to be transmuted. Thank the earth. Grow plants -- garden if you can, or even houseplants are healing companions. Gardening is absolutely saving my life right now.
WATER - when possible, visit and be with the waters (ocean, lake, river, etc). Take a spiritual bath or shower. Even an "ordinary" shower can be used with prayerful intent as spiritual/emotional cleansing, clearing, renewal. Affirm this as you drink water, too. Rinsing your hands, face, wrists, neck with cool water can help clear energy you've taken on from others. Flower-water sprays are good for this as well. Use all this COVID hand washing time to affirm you are clearing anything that no longer serves your life. Thank the water.
AIR - start with your breath: slow deep nourishing breaths, long full exhalations. It may make you cry; that's okay. Release what needs to be released. Be present with yourself and keep breathing. Go outside and feel the fresh air, let the wind blow you clear. Use sacred smoke (smudge) to clear and purify and bless. Thank the air.
FIRE - go outside and feel sun nourishing, recharging, and purifying. Let it shine away or dissolve whatever needs to be released or transformed. Feel yourself radiant with the sun's light and power. Write down what you want to release and do a burning ritual. Thank the fire.
As you cultivate your relationship with the Elements, they will teach you their medicine. Remember, what we touch is the body of each Element, but there is a deeply powerful Ancestral spirit within each Element as well. Engage them with respect and gratitude.
Please be gentle with yourself in these difficult times. And if you need human support, reach out to someone for a listening heart or a prayer. None of us can do this alone. I love you.
Photo credit: i created this composite from images on UnSplash - fire - Rafael Feroli, water - Luis Vidal, earth - Artem Makarov, air - Christian Wiediger.