January 01, 2016
The Fifth Element
Consider a clay pot. It starts from minerals found in the earth. Mixed with water it becomes a malleable substance that can be shaped into a form. Bake it in a fire, stoked by the winds of the bellows, and you temper that object, giving it a strength that can hold up under use. Just as this pot is born of the four basic Elements of Creation, Earth, Water, Fire and Wind, so too are we. But as every alchemist and shaman knows, there is a fifth element at play as well.
From the beginning of time, cultures have broken Nature down into its basic constituents in an effort to better thrive on Planet Earth. Ancients alchemists recognized that there is a visible world constructed of four basic elements. Each one has a different temperament. Water, for example, has the uncanny ability to shift forms. It can move from solid ice, to a liquid, and finally to gaseous steam. Fire, alternatively, has the properties of transmutation. It consumes entire forests, for example, making way for new growth. From the subtle flap of a tiny butterfly wing powerful Winds arise, and of course there is the Earth element, giving us the basis of all structure and form. The fifth element, Ether, they say, is more elusive. It is the consciousness between atoms, the very fabric of the sky.