Our Elemental Constitutions

by | Apr 30, 2012 | Living the Intuitive Life

The Elements

The energies of fire, air, water, and earth represent inner, as well as external energies. Chinese medicine, Tibetan medicine, Native American Tradition, astrology, and even the practice of Western medicine in its beginning days, are all rooted in elemental theory.  In the correspondence of external elements to inner qualities, fire relates to creativity, air to communication, water to feelings and earth to manifestation. The unique combination of fire, air, water, earth energies expressed within each of us give us our spectacular individuality.

The challenge to find elemental balance often represents a central theme in our lives. If we are low on earth energy, we will find it hard to exercise our body or manage our money. If we are low on water energy, we will find it hard to recognize and honour our feelings, or pay attention to our dream states. If we are low on air energy, we will find it hard to be curious, and to communicate our thoughts and what we know to others. If we are low on fire energy, we are challenged to believe, have faith, or maybe even be creative.

To be “low on” an element means that we do not have easy access to the qualities or essences signified by that particular energy. The elemental energy is, of course, readily available to us from the context of the natural world. However, it takes work to realize the qualities of that element as an inner resource.

A lack of elemental energy represents a place of longing to belong. The old antidote to healing this wound was to look outside of ourselves to people or situations that we felt could complete us. We partnered with, worked for, or befriended someone we, consciously or unconsciously, expected could fulfill this seemingly missing quality within us.

Another familiar choice in working with a lack of elemental energy is to develop a strong aversion to the qualities and functions of that element. For instance, someone with a low amount of earth energy will be averse to exercising or being responsible for finances. It may be hard for someone with the least amount of energy in earth to pay attention to physical needs, such as making time for breakfast or lunch. A low amount of earth energy manifests as someone who ignores the body’s need for fuel and refreshment; she just keeps going without regard to stop/rest messages her body tries to send her. Managing money represents another challenge for a person with the least amount of earth energy. Earth energy likes concrete thinking and balancing the plus and minus ledgers. In money matters, just as with the body, it is best when input and output are in balance and the practical, patient, staid energy of Earth glories in this equilibrium.

 Where Time Stands Still (Morning Glory)
Photo Credit: Joel Bedford via Compfight

Fortunately, both of these old solutions are slowing dying out with other old paradigms that no longer serve us in these changing times. The new operational paradigm encourages us to become full, complete, and responsible for within our own being.

The truth is, we never really lack something. It is a matter of hide and seek. When we consciously work with the elements as external energies, we build strength and access of that element as an energy within us. For instance, someone who has the least amount of elemental energy in water does well to reflect on water views regularly. Even a photo helps.  Taking baths rather than showers once in a while also helps build up an inner experience of fluidity and connection, which are qualities of water.

Photo Credit: Kevin Dooley via Compfight             

Water energy represents connection on the cellular level, as water does within the human body and on planet Earth. For  someone with the least amount of water energy, finding balance means gaining comfort in feeling and in sharing those feelings. Feelings support intuition, such as a “gut feeling”, that something is right. Water, therefore, represents that fluid expression of intuition where one connection leads to another and rationality, or thought, (air) is not involved. In that sense, water also represents trust. We see an example of this trust as water flows everywhere without changing its shape; rather, it bends to the shape of what is underneath or around it, as flowing water does with rocks in a creek.


Around and Around We Go
Photo Credit: Paul Sapiano via Compfight

For someone with the least amount of air energy, finding balance with the elements means stretching one’s capacity to explore and share ideas. Air swirls thought and connection and it is curious. The element of air is also a mediator, blending above with below and one with the other. The internet, where on page leads to explore another page, on and on and on, is a good example of air energy.  If spending time like that, exploring where the trail leads, is challenging to you, or disruptive, take a breath and set a time limit, like five or ten minutes and maybe add a thought that you are open to discovery and see what happens when you support your exploration in these ways.


Flying Into The Sun
Photo Credit: Vinoth Chandar via Compfight

Fire energy represents passion and life and creativity and play and fun.  All of the creative expressions, such as art and writing and dance and song, even great athleticism, have their roots in fire energy.  Fire energy also represents spirit and belief and trust.  People with strong fire energy do not have have to see to believe.  People with strong earth energy do have to see to believe.  The earth energy folks need concrete evidence.  Neither one is good or bad in themselves, it is the nature of the energies.  That is why an understanding of one’s own elemental energies helps understand frames of references, challenges and life choices.  Understanding the elemental energies of those close to us also helps with understanding, respecting and relating well with those around us.  There is a lot to be learned and understood when working with the elemental energies as inherent human qualities.

Bringing integration to the elements in which we have the least amount of energy is important, however, this piece alone does not represent the entire story. We also can bring balance to the elements in which we have the most amount of energy. This way of thinking corresponds to the practice in Chinese medicine of working with excess and deficiency.  Softening an over reliance on the elements we are most familiar with also helps us live a vital, destiny fulfilling life.

In my intuitive consultations with individuals, a sense of one’s elemental dance often comes into the work.  If you are curious to explore how the challenges you deal with in daily life might relate to your elemental constitution consider that there is information available to assist with greater integration and life balance.