"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." ~ Viktor Frankl
If you’re familiar with my interest in astrology, you’ve heard me mention that one of the core benefits of working with its myths is a further understanding of our complex natures and how we differ in our individual interactions and behaviors. You may also be aware of my determination to present from a holistic perspective on the importance of incorporating both science and ancient wisdom into our healing and wellness practices.
As I write, I’m drawn back to thoughts of the Periodic Table of Elements from past chemistry classes. A table which lists 118 elements at last count, including both natural and man-made. Out of these, our bodies are comprised for the most part of only four: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen – with small traces of others making up the remainder. Coincidentally, the notion of these four primary elements have been passed down in ancient wisdom practices to promote wellness and life balance dating back over ten thousand years.
Every culture has looked to the sky, the first being indigenous people who saw life as a circle and looked to the stars above for sustenance on earth. This is depicted in many cyclical belief systems, which began the tradition of the four elements that are also now incorporated into the astrological mandala; the very same elements our bodies thrive on.
Oxygen which is the life supporting component of air represents our “air” element. Carbon first made from old stars and now found on earth, has different pure forms, one of which is diamond and represents the “earth” element. Hydrogen, a flammable gas denotes the “fire” element. And finally, nitrogen which is obtained from liquefied air refers to the “water” element.
Here is how these elements are represented in the myths brought down through astrology:
Fire is the element of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. Those with strong influences (generally Sun, Moon or Rising Sign) can at times come across as bossy, seem unaware of others, and appear forceful or intolerant. These attributes in and of themselves are not negative. I’m sure we can all think of situations where we acted in similar ways. This natural element of fire, if nurtured, has the wonderful potential to grow generous and brave leaders.
The air signs of Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius may often get stuck in thought. They can seem detached and unfeeling. Yet, without the air element, communication on all levels would be lost and we could not gain a deeper understanding of each other.
Water which is incredibly important to our survival is the element of Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. We may find these individuals too sensitive, emotional, moody, or vulnerable. However, within their element they bestow upon us a love for family, a depth of life, and genuine compassion that connects us authentically with others.
Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn; those connected to the earth may seem overly materialistic, fixed in their ways, or appear to focus too much on their work. Yet, they are also the ones that help us to manifest our dreams and aspirations.
As you’re reading, I'm sure you can see how mixing these elements could potentially result in a chemical reaction. Yet, by knowing what constitutes one’s natural composite we can appreciate the need of all elements from a stance of wholeness, just as nature accepts wholeness within its changing cycles.
Enclosed in the circle and our bodies we have all of these elements – none are better than the others. The difficulty comes when we are not open to understanding...
We wouldn’t expect a fish to live out of water, because water is its natural element. Similarly, it’s natural for birds to fly through the air, animals to find habitat on earth, and like other forms of life, we have natural elementary behaviors too. We each require the support of different environments based on our true nature and elements. Yet, somehow we expect that others by way of birth or family associations will be the same as us…but sooner or later, we recognize life doesn’t work that way.
Our complex natures are our gifts and lessons. I give great thanks to my children, family, and my past and present relationships for helping me to understand what my element(s) truly are. The only way we get to know this is through others. So consider, just as scientific research moves us forward, the exploration of our personal elements can progress our hearts, souls, and relationships into purer forms. Together we can create powerful man-made elements to support wholeness and to enhance our bonds through communication.
Every moment the universe is showing us something if only we’re aware. Do you see the signs?
© Cathi Curen 2017