The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils, and More - Arin Murphy-Hiscock 2017
Work with the Four Natural Elements
Attune Yourself to Nature
Discovering the Green Witch
The four physical elements form the building blocks of a green witch’s understanding of the world around her. They represent the raw material of nature. The flow and interaction between the four basic elemental energies form the basis of change, transformation, growth, evolution, and development in our environment and in our lives. Each element has a specific energy. Traditionally, they have the following associations:
✵ Earth: grounding, abundance; receptive and passive
✵ Air: communication, intellect; projective and active
✵ Fire: passion, creativity; projective and active
✵ Water: emotion, sensitivity; receptive and passive
While these traditional associations are useful and a handy shortcut, how you perceive the energy of each element influences your personal practice and how you interact with the world.
EXERCISE: SENSING THE FOUR ELEMENTS
This exercise helps you build a personal relationship with each element. Before you begin, review the previous energy-sensing exercise.
✵ Your green witch journal and a pen or pencil
✵ Small dish of earth (Note: make sure it’s rich earth; if all you have is dry potting soil, use a dish of salt or a stone or a crystal.)
✵ Hand fan (or a small piece of card stock)
✵ Votive candle in a candleholder
✵ Matches and/or a lighter
✵ Small dish of water
✵ Small towel
1. Begin by sitting quietly at a table or on the floor with the supplies set out in front of you. Take three deep breaths. As you exhale, visualize any tension leaving your body.
2. Visualize your fingertips glowing with your personal energy. Visualize the sample of earth glowing with the energy of earth.
3. Gently reach out and rest your fingertips on the soil (or salt or stone or crystal). Close your eyes and allow your personal energy to contact its energy.
4. While connected to the earth energy, observe as much as you can about how it makes you feel.
5. When you are finished, withdraw your fingers and brush them off if necessary. Shake your hand to remove any excess energy or odd sensations. Open your journal and write down all of your observations. What observations did you make about the energy of earth? How did it make you feel? What did it make you think of?
6. Pick up the hand fan or card stock in one hand, and hold your other hand out, palm up. Visualize the palm of your hand glowing with your personal energy. Close your eyes and slowly begin to wave the fan or card, creating an air current directed at your other palm. As the air moves, see it glow with the energy of air. Allow the energy of the air current to meet the energy of your palm and observe the sensations you pick up. Vary the speed of the air current and observe whether that makes a difference to your observations. When you are finished, set aside the fan and shake your hand to remove any excess energy or odd sensations. Write down your observations about the energy of the element of air in your journal.
7. Light the votive candle. Again, visualize the energy of your palm glowing. Visualize the flame of the candle glowing with the energy of fire. Hold your hand beside the flame at a safe and comfortable distance, and reach out to the energy of fire with your own energy. Observe as much as you can about the energy of fire. When you are finished, snuff out the candle and shake any excess energy off your hand. Write down your observations about the energy of the element of fire in your journal.
8. Bring the dish of water toward you. Visualize your fingertips glowing with your personal energy, and see water glowing with the energy of the element of water. Slowly touch the surface of the water with your fingertips and allow your personal energy to engage with the water’s energy. Observe as much as you can about the energy of water. When you are finished, withdraw your fingers and wipe them on the small towel, then shake them to remove any excess energy. Write down your observations about the energy of the element of water in your journal.
For a different experience, try to find a large natural manifestation of each element’s energy with which to interact. Interact with the energy of the summer sun to gain a different experience of the energy of fire. Stand in a rain shower or snowstorm or next to a strong flowing river to gain a different perception of the energy of water. Bury your legs and feet in sand or take off your shoes and work your toes in freshly turned garden soil to interact with the element of earth. Stand outside on a windy day to experience the power of air. Write down your experiences and observations in your green witch journal.
To keep yourself attuned to the basic energies produced by the elements, perform this exercise at least once a year. For a deeper understanding of the cycles of energy in your area, interact with the elements on a large scale once every season. Doing this will help you better understand how the local energies interact and how their levels and presence ebb and flow with the cycle of the year.
INVOKING THE FOUR ELEMENTS
Although the four elements are always present, you can choose to recognize them in your practice by formally inviting one or more of the elements to aid you in your green witch work. This formal invitation is often called invoking the element.
Invoking an element is a conscious act that draws that element’s energy to you in your environment. Invoking an element can be done if you want that element’s particular aid or energy to blend with the work you are doing. For example, if you are creating a garden sachet for fertility in your vegetable garden, then you may invoke the element of earth to be present while you construct the sachet and weave the elemental energy into the energy of the sachet to help support and reinforce it.
Instead of placing your elemental symbols according to one of the traditional directions, you can create a more accurate connection with your own geographic location. Where is the largest body of water in your vicinity? Where are mountain ranges? Where are plains across which the wind drives with nothing to stop it? Where does the sun seem to shine most brightly, with the most heat? You may want to reassign elemental associations with specific directions. This too can affect how you conduct personal practice.
Many green witches like to work with a symbol of each element nearby, which honors the elements and creates a balanced atmosphere in which to work. As we learned in Chapter 2, each element is traditionally associated with a cardinal direction. You can balance the overall energy of an area by introducing an elemental energy that is lacking. A small collection of all four elemental symbols supports the balance of all four energies. It also provides the green witch with a source of elemental energies from which she can draw in her magical work, if empowered to do so by those sources. Those symbols can be as simple as a small candle for fire, a feather for air (or a stick of incense to represent both fire and air together), a stone or green plant for earth, and a small glass of water. You can set them in their proper directions or in any way that appeals to you.
You can also have symbols of all four elements in your workspace where you do green witch work and formally invoke the presence of all four. If you choose to invoke all four elements, you’ll have a powerful pool of energy to draw from while you work that can support your magical goal.
MEDITATING ON THE ELEMENTS
Sometimes brainstorming with other green witches (or Wiccans and other neopagans) can help you create a new set of associations for something. Relaxing and thinking about a single element at a time can also yield a surprising variety of images, thoughts, and personal correspondences. If you do this work, don’t forget to have your green witch journal nearby to record ideas as they arise in your mind.
Sit comfortably in your green witch space or in another familiar and comfortable area. Choose an element and begin to free-associate. Don’t do all four elements in one session, however; do them on separate days.