Ingredients for Alchemy
The four elements — water, fire, air, earth — don’t just exist in our environments, but makeup our entire being. In addition to their practical functions, each of them has certain qualities and quirks that can be wielded to our advantage. Water is amorphous and ever-flowing, just like our feelings and subconscious. Air is indecipherable and consuming, just as thoughts and conversations can be. Earth is stabilizing, providing us with security and resources. Fire can combust instantly or burn steady, just like our passions, depending on how they’re tended to.
Some of us are content to get lost in thought, while others could float in feelings all day. Some circumstances call for a grounded approach, while others demand action and intensity. Understanding how we personally embody each element and how they seek to be utilized can helps us create harmony with our environments. This ritual will help you dissect any situations that you are seeking clarity on to understand where an element might be lacking or where you need to pull back.
Two bowls of water
A candle, match, or lighter
Preferred cleansing tool that burns (sage, palo santo, sweetgrass, cedar)
Crystal of your choosing (suggestions: obsidian, onyx, black tourmaline, bloodstone)
To begin, cleanse and set up your space so that it feels calm and inviting, with your ritual items within arm’s reach.
Set a timer for five minutes. During that time, you will do an “un-meditation” where you will not just observe your thoughts, but see where they lead you, taking note of where they linger and circle. Where is clarity or closure needed?
After five minutes have passed, write down the most recurring thoughts that were calling for your attention. They can be as specific or general as you like, try not to overthink this part. I recommend listing no more than four or five things, with each one on a different piece of paper.
Next, you will take one of the pages and consider what you have written. Think about how this situation came to be and the role you have played in it. What feelings does it stir in you? Do you feel fiery and agitated? Perhaps tenderness is needed. Do you feel threatened or nervous? Maybe it’s time to tune into what grounds you.
Then you will allow the paper to be consumed by the element that the situation is most in need of. If you need to take action or release, you will burn the page and let the ashes fall into one of the bowls of water. If compassion or love is being asked of you, drop the paper into the clean bowl of water. Nestle it under the crystal to lend earthly support or let cleansing smoke surround it if you need a new mental approach. If you feel like your situation is needing assistance from multiple elements you can get creative and dip a corner of the paper in water and then place it under the crystal, or rub it against the crystal before burning it, etc.
Repeat this process with each piece of paper. You might notice a pattern emerge, that all of the situations are lacking a certain element or that you favor a specific element in the way you approach problems. If this is the case, you might set an intention to invite more of this element into your life.
Once you have tended to each of these thoughts, bathing them in the elements that will bring about more harmony, give gratitude to yourself for showing up for this practice. Even with this simple ritual, you have demonstrated to yourself that you are ready to break cycles, to take a different approach and invite new elements in.
Feature Image by Cecilia Di Paolo