The Four Elements
A brief explanation about the classical four
The four elements as a doctrine that explains the structure and the essence
of matter and the world of phenomena were first explained in the fifth century
BC by the preSocratic philosopher Empedocles. He called the four elements "roots".
He claimed that these elements are indestructible and unchangeable and that
the combinations between them create structural differences. According to Empedocles
there are two forces that control all matter. These two forces are love
Love attracts the different forms of matter, while strife separates it. These
two forces create variation and harmony in the universe, as attractive and repulsive
forces. Similar to the Taoist Yin Yang concept, these two forces strengthen
and weaken their position but neither force ever wholly disappears from the
dominance of the other.
In the primeval order these two forces and the elements co-existed in a condition
of rest and purity in the perfect form of The Sphere. In this original state
the forces were dominated by Love while strife guarded the edges of the perfect
sphere. Eventually the force of strife rose into dominance and dissolved the
harmonious state of the primeval matter thus creating the world of phenomena
with it's light and dark forces and what we perceive as a dualistic reality.
These ideas were probably the basis for the Jewish mysticism –The kabbalah
with the idea of the endless eternal light dwelling in a state of rest and inertness
and the shattering of the sphere – Ha'klipa - Hebrew for "shell" creating
the world of phenomena, light and darkness, good and evil.
According to Empedocles these forces dwell in every human, and as our souls
gain knowledge through reincarnation we reach the eternal. The use of these
ideas and recognizing our “own element is a powerful way of finding your
way and your true nature.
The four elements and the fifth hidden element
Our forefathers referred to five elements, four that can be changed and experienced
by the five senses and a fifth that represents space, a vast emptiness or a
spirit that cannot be sensed by the four senses and cannot be changed.
These perceptions where prominent in Ancient Greece, in India, Japan and China.
The Greek perception, influenced the way European culture visualized things
and the art of Alchemy during the Middle Ages.
The four elements and the Platonic solids
It is interesting to see that the five fundamentals are analogous to the five
The platonic solids are five shapes whose apexes meet to form a perfect sphere.
The five forms and their combinations create all possible molecular structures
and through them reality in its entirety.
The four elements in Hinduism
According to Hinduism, all the elements where created from the "akasha" or vast
emptiness. The human body is also formed from the five elements with each
of our senses being tied to a specific element. Additionally, each of
the elements represents one of the Chakras'.
- The first or basic chakra is represented by the earth.
- The second Chakra is represented by water.
- The third chakra is represented by fire.
- The fourth, the heart, is represented by the air.
- The fifth chakra represents the sound.
- The sixth chakra, the third eye represents light and darkness.
- The seventh chakra, the crown chakra, represents space and thought.
The four elements in Buddhism
In Buddhism, the four elements are the key to all things and the understanding
of suffering and how to end it. Earth represents solidity, water, a liquid,
represents cohesion, air represents movement and vibration and fire, temperature.
Analyzing events using the senses and understanding the way we feel and sense
things, holds the key to freeing ourselves from suffering.
Finding the dominant element in your life
Which element represents you or which element you most need? To find out you
can try the following test. The images you experience with your senses
will show you the right answer.
All you need is a quite place, a sheet of paper and a pen. Write down
the names of the five senses (taste, smell, sight, sound and touch) and leave
a few lines between each of the senses.
Now, concentrate of the thing you want to test or the question that interests
you. Close your eyes as if you were starting to meditate and wait for
few moments. Now, concentrate on the first sense that appears on your
list – if the first sense is taste, try and sense a specific taste.
Wait until you feel it and immediately write down what you thought of.
Move on to the next sense, wait until you really feel the sense and in this
way, complete the list, sense after sense.
The most important thing during the entire process is to avoid and attempt by
our intellect to change our list. It is vital that you write down exactly
what you thought of, even if it seems to be totally illogical.
After completing the list, examine what you have written and the answer will
be revealed to you symbolically.
In order to demonstrate to you, I'll share with you my experience the first
time I tried the system:
My first experience was with a woman who, at that specific time, was concerned
by a question relating to her life and I had to discover what the question was.
I wrote down on a piece of paper the five senses. The sense of taste gave me
of taste of rice and reminded me of the dining room in a kibbutz. The
sense of smell brought water vapor and the smell of soap and I felt as if someone
was being washed close by. With the sense of sight I saw children playing
and with the sense of sound, I heard them playing.
When I concentrated on the sense of touch, I felt hand being rested on the shoulders
of someone seated – as if they were trying to help. My conclusion
regarding the woman's question was that she was, in some way, connected with
some sort of therapy, apparently children, but the image of the hands on the
shoulders pointed to the treatment of an adult.
When I told her what I had experienced and what my conclusions were, she burst
out crying and told me that she was a kindergarten teacher on a kibbutz but
that her question was why had her husband had an accident that had left him
crippled and in need of constant help.
It's possible that the first few times you try this test, the results will not
be clear. Continue to try and eventually the results will become clear
I wish to end this article with a song by Spinal Tap
"When there was darkness and the void was king and ruled the elements
When there was silence and the hush was almost deafening
Out of the emptiness, Salvation!
Rhythm and light and sound
It was the Rock & Roll creation
It was a terrible big bang
It was the ultimate mutation
Ying was searching for his yang
And he looked and he saw that it was good
Rock & Roll Creation
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