Have you every deeply considered the elements? What is the chemical make up? What are their key defining  attributes?

Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha as taught me that these are principles which means by their very nature they are what they are, unchanging in their foundation. They are very much honoured and related to as the foundation of existence in many native traditions.  Fred Alan Wolf discusses that each element which are “out there” links to our “in here” experience through our senses. We can all agree, for example, that fire feels hot and dry and water feels wet and cold. Earth gives us the sense of dry and cold, while air is felt as moist and hot. So earth and fire have dryness in common ( constant) and what makes them different is the hot/cold (variable). He even goes on to discuss how we transform each of the elements into the other by changing ‘the variable’ quality. We can see examples of fire becoming earth as a gaseous star cools down and forms a solid mass or dwarf planet. Or water becomes ices when cooled down and air when heated up.

These elements are therefore experienced through our senses and are not separate from our perceptions. What are these elements without the sensation of hot/cold, moist/dry? Does it mean by changing our perception, we are also changing the element itself?

Exploring this caused me to enquire further into the chemical make up of all these different elements. What was interesting to me was that oxygen was fundamental to all the four elements and how links with the make up of humans. We are connected to all the elements as we are made up of 65% oxygen. We are also very connected to the earth as we share many of the earth’s elements in our make up. All the chemical compounds found in the earth are also found in the human body. For example we are 18% carbon, 10% hydrogen, 3% nitrogen, 1.5 % calcium, and 1% phosphorous.

Follow along in chapter 3 of Matter into Feeling as Fred Alan Wolf gives us the keys that unlock the alchemy of the universe and our role in it.

Marianne Love