Ancient Greeks, along with many other cultures, believed that everything on the Earth was made up of four basic elements - Earth, Fire, Water, Air. Other cultures believe there is also a 5th - Ether/Space and sometimes even a 6th - Consciousness. As always, there are many schools of thought on all topics such as these.
One element that is present in all theories (that I know of) is the element of Earth. We all carry some of all of the elements within our being. They are all vital for our wellbeing and keeping us in a balanced state of being. The earth element is probably the easiest of the elements for us humans to understand, because it governs the material and physical aspects - the more solid and dense states of matter. Such as those that we can perceive with our 5 senses of smell, touch, sight, sound and taste. Our physical body, the world we see around us, our finances, food we eat, our daily habits or routines are all governed by the element of Earth. Let's delve a little more into these qualities and how we can balance our Earth element to bring more harmony to our daily lives.
What are the qualities of earth? Let's break it down!
The element of Earth is really what forms our connection to our physical world - including our physical body. It governs especially, the densest parts of our being, such as: teeth, nails, lips, hair, bones, muscles and fat. The element of Earth is what gives us form and weight in our environment, in a tactile sense. In Chinese medicine it relates to the stomach/spleen and therefore is responsible for the distribution of nutrients and digestion - our sustenance.
Those who perhaps are Earth signs or have a lot of them in their chart (Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn), or have constitutions where earth is more dominant usually are quite practical, loyal, moral and responsible along with nurturing, caring and empathetic. They have a well developed sense of integrity with strong convictions and they stand behind their words. They generally move through life with patience, purpose and intent, not making rash decisions or changing things up too regularly. Mostly, you can find them in sensible long term careers or relationships. They tend to enjoy the material things in life and like to feel safe and secure in their environments.
The Earth element is associated with our Root Chakra. This is located at the base of our spine and is the chakra that relates to our feelings of safety and security. When it's in balance we have a strong sense of belonging. We know who we are, and know our place within our group or tribe, as an individual. Our Root chakra is about how connected we are to our physical body, other beings and our physical surroundings. It also rules our sense of feeling calm, steady, grounded and not rushed.
What might happen when our Earth element is imbalanced?
Bear in mind, the earth element may be too active or not active enough. If we have too much Earth we may feel as though we are stuck, either physically, or in our habits, behaviour patterns or “our way”. We may find ourselves with no motivation, unable to get moving or even in a state of depression. We may also feel like we need to people please, over organise, sMother others or that we lose our connection with more spiritual aspects of ourselves. Since earth governs our body, we may also find ourselves feeling stuck in our digestion/elimination too or have challenges in the above mentioned body areas in particular.
Without the balance of the Earth element, we might find ourselves literally feeling as though we are disconnected from our bodies and stuck in our thoughts, or off with the fairies - with our heads in the clouds. We can feel insecure within ourselves. We may find ourselves rushing through life, and have challenges managing stress, worries or feelings of anxiety. Since earth helps us to connect with and understand our place in our community, we might find that we feel out of place, lost, uncertain of who we are or even left out.
How can we balance our Earth element?
There are many ways that we can balance our Earth element. Here are some of my practical suggestions.
Move with purpose
One of the ways to help form a pathway - either uplifting from too much earth or bringing ourselves back down to earth if one of the other elements is overactive - is to get moving. Starting with slow, conscious and breath focused movements will do the trick of getting you gently towards either direction. Then you can adopt either a more grounded approach with still or very slow movements, or if you need to lift your earth element up, then you can go for a more vigorous approach. Starting slow is the key to not shocking your system from too much, all at once.
Reconnect with your body
Reconnecting with your body will help you to get out of your head and back to earth again. One way I love to do this is with Yoga, but another is to practice self massage. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, but physically bringing your hands onto your body and gently tapping, lightly squeezing your muscles, or giving your lower back, hands or feet a massage can really help you to reconnect with that physical, earthy, sense of you. Getting a massage also works a treat if you enjoy that.
Connect with nature
Of course, being in nature makes sense when it comes to balancing this element. One thing I've always found helpful is tree hugging, or touching and feeling other beings of nature - such as leaves, grass, animals etc. Literally spending time with them and connecting with them. Lying on the ground, or practicing Yoga and meditation outside is also great. Something else I learned recently, which I have now incorporated into my 'earthing' practice, is to find a tree and stand barefoot, in the dirt, within it's roots. You can dig a small hole, or just burrow your feet a little and literally get into the earth. Anchoring yourself in your environment is one key way to help balance this element.
Work with the Root Chakra
A meditation for the Root Chakra calling in the vibration of the colour red, or chanting the mantra "LAM" while focusing awareness on the area at the base of your spine is one way to help encourage balance of this chakra and the element of Earth. An idea could be to imagine the red colour as two spirals of circling energy - one in front and one behind you, emanating from the base of your spine. If you like affirmations, ones that I like to use to connect with the Root chakra are:
"I am safe, secure and grounded", "I am connected to my body, the earth and all other beings", "I am confident and calm"
Check in with your daily routine
Are you over or under planning? Are you committed to your responsibilities? Do you have a good balance between your commitments and your self care practice? These are all great questions to ask yourself when thinking about the Earth element. Take the time to write yourself a daily plan that is achievable, realistic and that has not only the chores but time for some fun too. When I write my daily list of things to do, I add in to that list things like - go for a walk, Yoga, meditate, take a bath, play with cats, write in journal, read, dance around the living room! Things that aren't just work, that bring me joy. This balance is so important and will help to create balance between aspects such as work or finances and living life on this planet - Earth!