There is so much chaos in the world this week that I decided to do some gardening to get away from it all. I have quite a large garden but a lot of it is grass. The back garden is raised above the level of the house so it is easy to work in as I don’t really have to bend down.

I have weeded, moved plants around and generally got my hands dirty. There is something about working in the soil with plants which are growing and therefore alive. I talk to them and encourage them to grow and they have done. Most of my plants in the garden at the moment are perennials so grow every year and they spread too. It is good to see how much they have spread over the winter months and many are already flowering. What joy this brings to my heart.

I then decided to fork over a small patch near the bird feeder. I recently moved some plants here after splitting them. They seem to be settled are starting to spread again.. After I started digging the birds rushed off but then settled in the nearby hedge watching me so they could pick up any worms that appeared. So I had company for that part of my gardening work.

Then it was time to water as the ground was quite dry. I have a lot of plants in pots as well and they needed water too. My little greenhouse has some pots in it which also needed watering. Salad greens are sprouting as are the peas. I am looking forward to eating them later in the year.

But what joy and satisfaction I gained doing this work. I had worked with the element of Earth and then Water and Air was all around me. My inner Fire gave me the energy to do the work so a good day with the elements.

Here is a photo of one of the plants in my garden.

Earth, Air, Fire and Water

Some years ago I was asked to give a talk on the four elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water, to people who may not know anything about them. So I put on my thinking cap and looked at things we did every day that if done with mindfulness especially, were a way of working with the four elements.

Each person was given a small booklet about these elements. It contained some information about the element and some exercises that could be done anywhere at any time, and also four small crystals, one for each element.

I was thinking about the Earth element the other day when I was working in the garden. I was doing some dead-heading and pulling out weeds. What a wonderful way to work with the earth. I found it very healing and therapeutic. It was a physical and practical act and to me this was so much an Earth element way to work. It renewed my connection with the earth too and made me more determined to do what I could to stop pollution and other things detrimental to our planet.

So now let’s look at the element of Air. If we were outside on a windy day my mother used to say the wind was blowing the cobwebs away from around us. Cleansing the aura as I now know. Air is connected to inspiration, new ideas, messages, movement, breath of life and new beginnings. Standing outside on a breezy day is a good way to connect with Air. Imagine yourself flying and see how that feels. Did you ever climb trees or walls when you were young, and then jump off? How did that feel? Just imagine that now though not do it practically!

I’m leaving the Fire element until last so now what about the Water element. I love to be near running water. I see it cleansing the earth as it moves along. It is receptive to my thoughts and I link it with compassion, trust, love and wisdom. When you take a shower, your are cleansing yourself and the aura around you. Think about it as you shower. You always feel better after a shower, or after walking by water especially running water or the sea. We often say ‘go with the flow’ when talking about problems in our daily lives. So flow like the water. You can imagine yourself floating on calm water with a night sky above. Then write down how you felt.

So lastly, the element of Fire. Fire can transform things as you can easily see if you burn something like a sheet of paper. So it changes things and cleanses. It is also about purpose and growth and rebirth. I like to think of our inner fire, the force that enables us to do things, to accept ourselves and to transform our lives when needed. I like to watch the flame of a burning candle. Try it and see how you feel .

Of course, this is a simple way of looking at the elements but it is a good place to start. The druid path takes you deeper into the elements and deeper into yourself but if you know nothing about them then start simply.

The Air around us

As a druid I love the element of Air. I love to be outside breathing deeply of the air around me. Of course that air needs to be clean not polluted and that brings me to my blog today. I am continuing the theme of life before pollution. Or was there no pollution in the air when I was young? Actually the air was more polluted then where I lived in my childhood than it is today but a lot of the pollution was different. I lived on the edge of a very industrial area, potteries, mines, steel and brick making plus many other types of manufacturing. The smoke was horrendous and you did not put your washing out on the line when the wind was blowing the wrong way bringing the smoke into your garden. Bronchitis was common as was asthma. Then the Clean Air Act came into force and things changed.

Now we have different kinds of air pollution. Farmers spray chemicals on their fields and a lot of it stays in the atmosphere. Even liquid manure gives off ammonia, a poisonous gas. But what about the silent polluters, the radio waves and other electromagnetic waves of our mobile phones, their masts and the electricity pylons. I am sensitive to such things in the air. I can’t walk by an electricity pylon as it makes me ill. The same with mobile phone masts and there are many of them now. They seem to spread like wildfire.

Many years ago Rachel Carson wrote the book ‘Silent Spring’ mainly about the effects of the insecticide DDT. A recent book has been written about the electronic silent spring, the pollution of our technology. But there is also air pollution in our homes caused by things like scented candles, not all of which are natural, and those air fresheners which many people love but which cause me to cough and splutter for a long time. Many of the fumes from these are toxic and affect our nervous system. We need to think about the items we use in the home and outside in the garden and be aware of what happens to our bodies when we breathe in these toxic fumes.

There are many more ways of polluting the air but I am sure you know most of them. So let’s think about how to make our air cleaner as well as our seas, rivers and streets. A big job but if we all did our bit then it would improve. One last thought, many of us have central heating. What is in the steam that is emitted when the boiler is on? That steam goes out into the air we breathe. What effect does it have on that air?

Weather Watching

I love the changing weather and I see the elements at work each day. This morning they are having a rest after a rather strange week. Some days it has been wild and windy as the element of Air chases things around having fun with the wheelie bins too. Then the element of Water has produced heavy rain and hail showers and even a bit of snow. Then along comes the element of Fire, the sun, to warm the earth and dry up the wet patches.

All of these combined together are an essential part of our world. Without them we could not live. Air cleanses and removes bad smells and debris from the atmosphere, water cleanses too and soaks into the earth allowing plants to grow and insects to live. It also provides us with drinking water from reservoirs and provides life for fish in streams and rivers. The sun warms the earth and us too and helps trees and small plants to grow.

The earth is always there for us too, to walk on, to sit on and to enjoy. Do you see the elements in the weather too? Do you see how they combine to give us life?


Stormy Weather

This week has been a week of hot sunny weather with several storms, some of which have lasted for many hours. Usually storms clear the air but this does not seem to have happened so far and we still have hot, humid weather.

I was thinking how all the elements are involved in a storm; earth, air, fire and water. There have been lightning strikes and flash floods, showing us the power of nature. A walk by the swollen river last week brought the amazing smell of damp woodland and swirling water over the weir. It is such a distinctive smell but difficult to describe.

But I wonder if our planet is giving us a message. Is she trying to show us what can happen if we have no respect for her? I am lucky to have a garden at the front of my house. Some of my neighbours have tarmac or fancy paving stones leaving nowhere for the rain to go thenĀ get angry over the large puddles that form. Houses are built on flood plains, rivers and streams are filled with rubbish. Is this the way to treat our planet? People cut down trees because (I quote)’ they don’t like cleaning up the leaves or cleaning out their guttering.’ But how good for soaking up the rain are our trees?

Have we lost our connection with nature? How can we teach or show others how important our gardens and trees are to your future? What can you do?

muddy river