Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Four Elements

In the movie, Angels and Demons the four elements, Water, Air, Fire, and Earth, feature prominently. I'm highly susceptible to ways that may provide a framework for understanding this grief journey, and since a reminder of the elements in the movie, I've been reflecting on these elements. I've thought about how they intersect with my life now, and how they might provide a framework for understanding other aspects of this grief journey. After reading a bit (here's one page from online), I discovered that once these elements were fused, but then the forces of love and strife broke and separated them. It was, or perhaps is believed that individuals possess a preference for one of the elements. So I took a quiz (apparently I thought it could tell me something I didn't know, heh heh): I most identify with air, water, and fire, and I least identify with earth. Yeah, I'd say that makes sense. I'm pretty upset with earth right now. The element where my child now rests.

Water washes my wounds, transforms and releases pain through my tears, and gradually wears a new path for this journey.

Air provides transparence to see what is and sustains me as I inhale disbelief, anger, despair, and exhale hope, peace, survival.

Fire burns metaphorically throughout my life destroying me within and without, making room for new growth and a new normal.

My child lies in the Earth. Her body is swallowed and claimed by Earth. Silently resting. Absorbed. Eventually transformed. But the earth is for her, and not yet for me, I am not at peace with this element. Water, Air, and Fire need more time to fuse what strife has separated.

Water is comfort.
Air is hope.
Fire is renewal.
Earth is death.

And yet, healing has begun.


  1. Something in this triggered the thought of this Mary Oliver poem:
    which I love and which somebody sent to me right after Henry died.

    May healing continue.

  2. Beautiful. THANK you.

    In Blackwater Woods

    Look, the trees
    are turning
    their own bodies
    into pillars

    of light,
    are giving off the rich
    fragrance of cinnamon
    and fulfillment,

    the long tapers
    of cattails
    are bursting and floating away over
    the blue shoulders

    of the ponds,
    and every pond,
    no matter what its
    name is, is

    nameless now.
    Every year
    I have ever learned

    in my lifetime
    leads back to this: the fires
    and the black river of loss
    whose other side

    is salvation,
    whose meaning
    none of us will ever know.
    To live in this world

    you must be able
    to do three things:
    to love what is mortal;
    to hold it

    against your bones knowing
    your own life depends on it;
    and, when the time comes to let it go,
    to let it go.

    ~ Mary Oliver ~

  3. Thank you for sharing your journey with such graciousness and creativity. It is always a delight to read your blog, even when you are especially sad or angry.


  4. Your words never cease to amaze me. You never cease to amaze me.
    Thank you.