The element of Earth represents our Mother – Mater – Matter – Material – the planet Earth itself. It represents body and solidity. It represents permanence, stability, and security. Foundation. Reality. Normality. Earth represents the things you can see and hold, the physical aspects of life, and the process of manifestation. It is food. It represents ‘facts’ – those things that can be confirmed by others, by personal experience. Simply, it is the awesome act of simply being.
In the wheel of the Elements, Earth is placed in the North. This is the place of nature, the fruitful earth, old age, wisdom and ice and snow. It is also, paradoxically, the midnight sky and place of the stars, which twinkle and sing the songs of our spirits in the infinite spaces overhead. Old age and death are also attributed to the North, as winter is the season when the vegetation dies, composts, and returns to the earth. The Sun also seems to die at this time, becoming weak and low in the sky, unable to repel the frost giants that overwhelm the land with ice and snow.
Earth promises purification, grounding and deep healing. As we walk through the countryside, we experience the healing influences of nature when we open our hearts to the awesome beauty that surrounds us. We can climb a tree, sunbathe on a large rock, or simply sit down, relax and daydream. We can meditate, practice Gazing and slow down our thoughts, even go to sleep in a shady, protected place. Simply by allowing the spirit of the land to do what it naturally does, we become healed, purified and renewed.
For a more intense experience of Earth, we can visit and spend time in a cave. There we are completely surrounded by the earth. It is no coincidence that saints and mystics throughout the ages have always been drawn to live in caves. For twenty years or so I used to spend the period from Solstice to just after the New Year celebrations in one of the caves I had discovered on my travels in the U.K. and abroad.
I found it transformational and very healing to substitute the frantic holiday mania with the deep peace I found when I sequestered myself in the solid earth for two weeks or so. Although I brought candles and a headlamp, I also spent time in the darkness, meditating, fully immersed and at one with the Earth. It was if the grunginess that had accumulated over the entire year dissolved away, and I emerged newly-born, renewed and ready for a new annual cycle.
Every element offers its own type of healing; Earth is the element that rules the healing of our physical bodies. Types of healing include surgery, massage, chiropractic, herbs, crystals, nutritional therapy in its many forms, acupressure (shiatsu), and anything that involves hands-on treatment.
The Earth Elementals are called Gnomes. They appear in many sizes, literally from molehills to mountains. Gnomes are the easiest type of Elemental to see, if the observer slows down to the speed of Earth and has a good imagination. Humans can communicate with Gnomes easiest among the elementals because they are the densest, the most like us. They live inside the earth, and don’t like exposure or sunlight. They work hard and tend to be quite serious.
They can be good friends to those who love and work with the earth. They respect wealth and those who are thrifty and recycle. They appreciate coins, stones and crystals as gifts; they are also attracted to any work we do to heal the Earth, for example when we recycle, plant trees, garden, or practice Geomancy.
Whenever you enter an unhappy, wounded place, request help from the Gnomes. Sit quietly awhile and ask them for guidance. It is helpful if you carry with you an ‘earth healing kit’: a special crystal to plant, some dried herbs for smudging, a sacred song or two, ideas for a ceremony, a bag of wild flower seeds, or a musical instrument. Open yourself to guidance and intuit a course of action; trust yourself and if it feels OK to you, do whatever feels appropriate.
Simply meditating and filling the area with healing energy is usually enough. Maybe you will find yourself making a small stone circle when it feels right, and then dancing a dance of joy within it! Allow yourself to be free and creative… build a cairn, sing a song, play a tune on your flute, make a prayer, make a nature sculpture from items you find nearby, or simply appreciate the beauty of the scenery.
Gnomes help to heal the body, and the Earth itself. They will help you to break habits that aren’t healthy. They will work with you to generate prosperity and abundance. They will assist with any issues concerning work, family and community.
If you wish to make an altar to honor the element of Earth, place it in the northern part of your house, or outside, to the north of your house. Place a large flat stone in a place that feels good. Use an altar cloth if inside, or a combination of cloths colored in browns, greens, and black. On the altar place objects such as crystals, rocks, plants, coins, herbs sacred to earth, some moss, a pentagram, horns or antlers.
Cleanse it with smudge, and invite the Element of Earth and the Gnomes to make their homes there. Light a candle (with appropriate color and incense) whenever you want to activate your altar for any reason, and keep it clean!
Gratitude is the attitude sacred to Earth. Be thankful for the miraculous gift of life, and for the awesome opportunities it presents to you. Contemplate and celebrate the abundance you experience every day, and spread your good fortune around to enrich everyone you meet!