Our workshop with David started over a week before ‘the due date’. David kindly prepped us with information on the elements and invited us to get in touch with the elements in a 9 day build up to the workshop itself.
On one of these days I could hear the sea thrashing its mighty power – It was a perfect example of the variation and potential power of each element – when there is not enough or when there is too much. I like to think this particular day was perfect
By the time the day of the workshop had arrived – David had asked to be fired up, grounded (earth), connected with air and water – and finally to allow some serenity for the flow of Ether.
The day with David was truly splendid. What felt like for me a cosy gathering of folks whose experiences and walks of life seemed to range far and wide.
Working with the elements affords lots of opportunities for experiential learning and combined with David’s depth of his knowledge and how that affords a truly enriching day.
We started with the ‘wheel’ of Elements – Earth, Water, Fire and Air with Ether at the centre. David outlined how many other groups and cultures had very similar wheels where the word for e.g. earth may be replaced by Warrior (Men’s movement), Sensation (Jungian function), Black Bile or Melancholy (the Greek humours) In essence the idea of our beings, our lands and our soul/spirit world being interconnected, seems to be the key theme throughout all systems of thought or belief.
Throughout the day, David invited us to experience the elements from different perspectives. We walked or “danced” each of the element walks with ‘loose’ guidance as to how we might best connect with each element. We picked “oracle” shells we were drawn to from a container. Each shell had a number with a corresponding message – with the option to ‘verify’ the message further by choosing a water card from a pack of Elements cards. David allowed for as much ‘immersion’ in the moment as possible, inviting us for example to sit in the ‘fire’ chair and dream our dreams, and later after we had written and folded some personal messages or affirmations – we went outside and burnt them in the fire pit.
We clapped as our messages were burnt and the smoke took them into the air.
You may note that we were ‘tucked’ neatly by the hall porch as the ‘elements’ of the day were fairly spectacular at giving us an experience of each, and at that moment the water was flowing.
Another moment as we were doing a cleansing ritual prior to this the heavens opened as the most magically timed moment – it wasn’t lost on us.
Later we explored how the elements all have an important place in each of our lives, at different times. Similarly, and particularly beneficial for our counselling roles – how excess or lack of any element may present itself. Interestingly, this is often evident
Healthy “Grounded, Stable, Solid as a ro
“Flighty, Unstable, Ungrounded” “In a rut, Inflexible, Stuck”
A client who has too much earth, will most likely need some ‘fire in their belly’ to reignite their passion and zest for life. To shift out of a rut as it were.
In a similar vein, a client with ‘inadequate air’ may be stifled, like they are suffocating. Whereas a person with excessive air may be described as ‘head in the clouds, flighty, full of hot air’ and such like. A balanced air perspective might bring about comments such as ‘free as a bird’, ‘fancy free’. The language has its own wisdom here!
Particularly in our counselling role (but equally in our own lives) we can listen to the language used by our clients and others, to pick up the nuances that might lead to a more pragmatic resolution of any given situation.
It seems very important to honour and acknowledge each element whilst recognising each person’s ability to go to either end of the extremes on each spectrum. Allowing a client to recognise where they fit in this world of elements certainly brings a fresh perspective to what ‘state’ we can invite ourselves and our clients to embrace to bring about change and opportunity.
A rich day in so many ways David. Thank you