Learn About the Four Elements

Air - Earth - Fire - Water

Four Elements / Thomas Vogel
Four Elements. Thomas Vogel / Getty Images

The four basic elements (sometimes called "temperments") are air, earth, fire, and water. Understanding what each element represents helps us evaluate where our individual strengths and weaknesses are. Healers have found that focusing on the elements can often be helpful when seeking what course of treatments would best address our problems.

  • Air represents intellect, mental intention, and connection to universal life force.
  • Earth represents grounding, the foundation of life, substance, connection to life path, and family roots.
  • Fire represents energy, a tool for transformation, connection to personal power, and inner strength.
  • Water represents emotional release, intuition, and inner reflection.

Air - Earth - Fire - Water

We are surrounded by the four classical elements (air, earth, fire, and water) within our environment. They are represented by the wind in our skies, terra firma, warmth from sun rays, and a wide variety of watery resources (seas, rivers, lakes, creeks, and ponds).

There are many healing traditions and religions which incorporate the elements in their practices. The four suits in the Tarot represent the four elements. The medicine wheel is an example of Native Americans recognizing the four elements. Wiccans honor the classical elements along with a fifth added in that represents the spirit or the self.

I tend to be drawn to watery resources whenever I feel a need to be re-energized. Taking pampering soaks in the tub, walking in the rain, and skinny dipping in the ocean are personal favorite indulgences. Water is a spiritual connection for me and I thought this was true for everyone until when, surprisingly to me, a feng shui consultant I met told me that she personally found being near water to be draining.

She explained how wood feels to be more supportive of her spiritual being and physical nourishment.

Feng shui has a five element system: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.

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