When I began my studies of the craft I was introduced to the concepts and power of the elements. I started on the wheel at the powers of Air, it was a perfect way to help me find a new balance -by knocking me off of my old one. Needless to say, it worked, but for better or worse I’d been left to contend with the forces of initiation on my own. It would many years before I’d learn to hone my own skills, embrace my strengths and find a way to move beyond a seemingly endless cycle of repetition.
Often, I hear that magic should never be worked for personal gain, that belief is foolhardy at best and one that I had my clutches on like a racoon in a trap. Magic can be used to understand the self, to bring peace and aid in solving conflict when all else fails. In most cases, my own workings were targeted at myself. There came a time when the magic seemed to dissolve. Every path I turned down felt like a dead end. I experienced brief build-ups before the destructive aspects of the elements would make another visit. It came in the form of abandonment, grief, betrayal, and even what some call supernatural phenomenon.
I told myself that the elements were cleansing and purifying my life. Anytime vows are sworn it invokes the powers of challenge and initiation. I acknowledged this as an aspect of my personal path but inside it felt like a riddle begging to be solved. As soon as I was certain my relationships were working out, my financial life was stable and things were on a positive uphill ride, it would come tumbling down and I’d have to begin all over again. Dreams of homes coming apart at their foundations, earthquakes and bugs spilling out of cracks in the ground came to me at night. No matter how much I pretended, there was a deep, uneasy feeling I couldn’t seem to put to rest.
It wasn’t unreasonable for me to ask “Why” over and over in my head. Forces of the Otherworld know I’ve not been the best listener. The answer began to show up in dreams. The animals that came were the borrowers, diggers, and bug eaters. Ant-eater visited to help me find out exactly what was “bugging” me -at least he said so. The bugs appeared around family members. Symbols of destruction were quakes, tornadoes, and even floods. Luckily, I often survived what seemed to be an apocalypse.
The gifts of Earth and its powers are many but without having a receptive frame of mind and spirit it can pass by. The first step was learning to be receptive. I learned this lesson the hard way. First, I had a terrible habit of not taking care of myself. I’d become over-focused on fears and remained in a survival mode. I stayed busy. I didn’t stop and listen to the messages I was being given about my health. I fostered relationships that were unhealthy for reasons in multitude which meant that my support system was completely deficient. The results were the loss of stability, security, relationships I thought were important and near loss of self. Slowly, I regained my balance.
For me, it meant returning to school in my thirties and look at financial and career success in a more positive light than I once did. The trials of Earth taught me to take care of myself, to be resourceful and remain receptive to the many gifts offered that I was once blind to. I shifted from a spiritual focus to a focus on my body, daily routines and work in a way that would be productive long term.
Learning to be receptive means accepting help when it is needed and putting pride to the side, it means sitting in silence and placing projective magic away until guidance is understood and action is taken. Don’t hesitate to work magic for the betterment of life, ask help if you are dealing with unconscious self-limiting beliefs, practice being receptive and grateful on a daily basis. With the powers of the Earth, build foundations, discover what nurtures or where nurturing is most needed. It might mean digging into the past and facing the excruciating truth, but it also means positive change and moving forward.