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Engaging the Elements: Earth

May 10, 2021 0 Comments

Engaging the Elements: Earth

Engaging the Elements: EARTH

Rooted  /  Determined  /  Loyal  /  Practical  /  Sensual

by Sara Timms / Art, Mother Nature, by Atalanta Fugiens

 

Do you ever stop to think about what the Earth is actually made of? We walk on it every day, eat food that’s grown on it, vacuum the crumbles on the rug that lies on it, and unless you’re a gardener or a child, we probably don’t touch it very often. But the Earth and ground we live, eat, sleep, and walk on is very important- from microscopic rocks like dirt and sand, and tiny living organisms like worms and bacteria, to giant redwood trees and mountains, the Earth and her gravity is what keeps us from flailing into the chaos of outer space, literally grounding and protecting us from the unknown. Let's look deeper…

What makes up the Earth? Dirt is a relatively thin layer of crust around our Earth which coats more solid layers of rock, and a molten inner core. If you want to get technical, dirt is actually considered to be “dead” by dirt and soil nerds as it is often just sand, clay, and silt. Dirt can also be formed when certain farming methods take all the nutrients from the soil without replenishing them, which leaves barren soil that cannot grow crops. Soil, however, is considered “alive” because it contains nutrients, worms, fungi, insects, and organic matter. Dirt is generally light colored and cannot support much plant life, whereas soil is dark, damp, thick, and supports much plant life because it is dense with nutrients. Soil takes thousands to millions of years to form by breaking down various organic materials, and is essential to sustain life on Earth. 

Trees and bushes, with their strong roots that hold hillsides and mountains together, and their trunks and leaves that manufacture the oxygen, nutrients, and energy we need with which to live, provide not just sturdiness and food, but can also be broken down into things we need like shelter and clothing. If we look at the Earth specifically in terms of providing our nourishment, we will see that from ancient and tribal practices of hunting and gathering, to the mass produced agricultural needs of today, it is imperative that we take care of our Earth so that we may sustain properly - especially as some scientists estimate that we have roughly 60 years left of growable topsoil on the Earth (source). Take this concept and fast forward to the current moment where we can literally tell our computer or phone to bring food to our door without touching a plant or seeing a granule of soil, is such a luxury! We may not recognize it as such in the First World but if you look at the history of humanity, and at less wealthy cultures in the world today, it’s most definitely a royal privilege to be able to consume food without getting our hands dirty. 

While our ancestors were not able to enjoy the modern luxuries of today, they did not necessarily deal with the same problems we have either. The luxuries of today may have sounded like Heaven on Earth to them, but to truly bring the bliss of Heaven to the Earth, we actually need to be more connected to Earth (and let’s not forget that she, too, is a fecund Heavenly body as deep and mysterious as the vast cosmos above when it comes to our actual knowledge of her!) The point here is to remind us of our humble ancestral origins of farming, hunting, and gathering, and to ask ourselves if perhaps a piece of those origins might benefit us today. Modern society is anxious, plagued by fear, chaos, uncertainty, and a barrage of information coming from all sides at all times. This is the digital age, where we process digital information and stare at screens all day and thus are in a little bubble of singular focus. The more we do this the more we become more seemingly detached from the presence and tactile element that is Earth. What are our feet, our roots, doing when we are on that computer? Where are we, our branches, growing towards when we swipe mindlessly on our phones? What is our core telling us, and where is our nourishment coming from? What do we really truly want? 

These questions our ancestors never had to ask, because without phones, computers, cars and the like, they were more connected, more conjoined to the present moment, the Earth. If we use the characteristics of Earth as a metaphor or archetype in our mental health and spiritual practices, we realize that while always thinking ahead (Air), or feeling all the feels (Water), and taking all the action (Fire) is important to everyday life, if we do these things without the balance of the Earth element, we may find ourselves easily spinning out of control, desperately seeking an anchor of stability, abundance, and normalcy. 

 Where is the wisdom of Crazy Horse, the calm acceptance of the farmer through hell or highwater, or even the knowing grin of The Oracle in The Matrix? It is in the Earth my friend, and that is where your center and your roots can be found as well. 

heartseed by jeanie tomanek

Heartseed by Jeanie Tomanek

 

Historical Lore

  • The Wheel of the Year. In modern and traditional Pagan cultures the Wheel of the Year marks the passing of the seasons with 8 different festivals which are directly related to the fertility cycles of the Earth. 
  • One of the most important pre-biblical Gods in the Middle East, Baal, was considered to be a fertility God. In this capacity he was called the Prince, or Lord of the Earth. He’s also connected to the Bull via his siring of a Bull Calf in one myth. 
  • The Ox, a variant of the Bull, rules Taurus which is one of the three astrological signs ruled by the Earth Element. These animals were used traditionally to pull a plow, an instrument and method used to till soil for planting crops, and aligns well with the dependability and steadfastness associated with the Earth Element.
  • Geb was the Egyptian God of the Earth and ruled snakes which live in the Earth, as well as fertility cycles of the land. 
  • The Sumerian Goddess, Ki, ruled over Earth, and her partner An ruled Heaven. Their union is said to have produced many of the plants upon the Earth. 
  • The Greek myth of Demeter. This Goddess of the Harvest and Fertility tells the story of her daughter being abducted to the underworld by Hades. Demeter was distraught by her daughter’s absence, which is why the Earth is barren for 6 months in the winter until Persephone is allowed to return to the surface for 6 months, when Demeter makes the Earth fertile again. 
  • The Earth herself is called Gaia in Greek Mythology
  • In England there is a traditional celebration in January called “Plough Sunday” where a formal “Blessing of the Plough” takes place, and in which farmers even ride their tractors to church. This holiday is combined with traditional folk dances, and celebration of the blessed seeds which will become the bountiful harvest. 
  • Spider Woman or Spider Grandmother is a figure in many Native American Creation Myths, who lives underground, is identified with the Earth Goddess, and helps people with advice and healing. 
  • The three Earth Signs are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn and tend to be grounded, stable, and practical. 
  • In Inca Cosmology Mama Patcha (a.k.a. Pachamama) translates to "mother nature". She was the most important deity in their myths aside from the Sun.Her husband was Pacha Kamaq, a dragon, and a fertility deity who presided over planting and harvesting. She was able to create earthquakes.
  • The wild nature God Pan is also found as Celtic Cernunnos with deer antlers, and The Green Man. 
  • Pele the Volcano Goddess actually creates new Earth with her molten lava. 
  • Hygia is a Greek Goddess of health from whom the classic pharmacy symbol of a chalice or mortar and pestle was derived. This was one of her symbols as well as the healing serpent, as her cures and medicines were said to be derived directly from the Earth. 
  • Many indigenous tribes have a Turtle Earth Mother. Turtle is a caring, protective, patient, and stable version of the Earth. 
  • Mother Nature is the personification of Earth as a fertile, loving, nurturing Mother who provides for her human children
 

    The wheel of the Year

    The Wheel of the Year 

     

    Understanding and Using Earth in Our Practice

    To understand how we can use the elements in our everyday practice, we can examine how the element exists in our reality or perception. It’s literally impossible to not use the Earth element in your daily practice! You would have nothing to stand on, nothing to burn like incense or herbs, no paper made of plants to write on, etc. So the most important and easy way to incorporate the Earth into your practice is simple awareness and gratitude. Figure out a personification or mythological character associated with the Earth if that’s helpful, and consider how much she/he/they have given you. Consider too that your body is made up of all the elements that also make up the Earth, so you too are a living breathing Earth God or Goddess or Deity...a consciousness within a body of Earth-elements.  Every single piece of matter with the exception of meteorites comes from the Earth. If your home is an industrial concrete loft, or log cabin, or space capsule...all of it began in the Earth. By connecting your mind and heart (via gratitude) to the Earth based origins of things, you are re-connecting to the roots...to your roots. When we connect to the roots, we are more centered, stable, grounded, confident, and even dare I say, enthroned. 

     

    daria patrilli

    Painting by Daria Petrilli, 1970 

     

    Ritualistic Inspirations

    General Disclaimer: Always proceed with great caution with the elements! To avoid mishaps, and creating elemental disasters, contain your magic within a protective circle of salt, or energetically sealed with an astral circle drawn with an athame. I recommend adding to your ritual “For the good of all and with harm to none”. Remember that life and magick are a creative process. The elements have general correspondences (example: fire=creative, water=emotion, earth=foundation, air=mental world) but will always be expressing themself through your body in different ways depending on your growth, and life circumstances. Utilize these changing tools! 

     

    • Earthing is getting very popular these days! It’s literally just walking barefoot outside. There are many studies which show that the human bioelectric balance is reset by the electron exchange that takes place while Earthing. 
    • Study the Pagan Wheel of the Year and start celebrating the shifting of seasons and the fertility changes that go with it. 
    • Choose an Earth or Fertility related Deity, light a green candle for Earth, and open a meditation by inviting that deity in to communicate with you. That may happen through thoughts, images or feelings. 
    • Create your own “Earth Communion” fast, and spend 3 days eating only foods that came directly from the Earth ie fruits, vegetables, herbs, legumes, etc. 
    • Study and learn the meanings and uses of herbs from magical, culinary, or healing uses. 
    • Take a mud bath! I would recommend a spa, but if you’re feeling adventurous there are perhaps more frugal options. Or try a mud mask as a much easier alternative!
    • Study the ancient Earth based culture of the land you live on. Most all land was inhabited by Earth Based cultures before Europeans moved in, and there is much to learn about not just the Earth, but ourselves, when studying ang utilizing these ancient philosophies and practices.
     
    Alla Tsenk
    Painting by Alla Tsenk

     

     Need material inspiration to work with Earth? Shop our favorites below!

     

     

    The Earth Element Candle for harnessing the power of Earth, and is especially great for invoking the three Earth signs of the zodiac.

     

    Mugwort for cleansing, strength, and protection.

     

    Balance & Grounding Crystal Kit for emotional, spriitual, and physical balance.

     

    The Fertility Ritual Kit to welcome new beginnings, abundance, and a strong foundation.

     

     

    Can't find what you need? Shop all things in our Earth collection!

    earth 

     

     

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    Read more on astrology, horoscopes, occultism, magick & ritual on our blog, Esoteric Insights!





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