NEW SERIES-THE SPIRITUAL USE OF “ELEMENTS”
STARTING WITH WATER
FIRST A LITTLE ELEMENTAL HISTORY
The spiritual use of “elements” or energies or substances have been incorporated into cultures around the world since day one. These are not the “elements” you learned about in chemistry class on the Periodic Table that represent the atoms which make up our world. Instead, they are forces of nature and/or physical substances that have been important in our survival and lives since ancient times. They are so basic that cultures and religions have gods and goddesses dedicated to them. They are used ceremonially in all major world religions today. In a word, they are ELEMENTAL. For instance, the Chinese use wood, fire, earth, metal and water in their Five Element Table of Correspondences which connects all parts of our lives including health and healing in a holistic way. Native Americans use the Medicine Wheel and the four directions and incorporate their version into sacred ceremony—usually air, water, earth and fire. Other cultures have used different combinations. What is important is that even in this modern world, we connect to these basic forces and substances. Connection with the “elements” simplifies our complicated lives and brings us back to our roots.
WATER-The basis of life
LET IT FLOW
Water represents flow, formlessness, powerful force, life, amplifies intuition
- Water is cleansing, purifying Example: Sweat Lodge, Swedish Sauna, Russian Banya (bath)
- Water is used ceremonially Example: Baptism
- Water is used to heal-can’t live without it
- We came from the sea, human beings are 85% water
- Water provides peace-an oasis, resting place, beauty
- Running water- Waterfalls, fountains or breaking waves provide negative ions which give health and energy.
THINGS TO DO TO SPIRITUALLY CONNECT WITH WATER
The Native American Sweat Lodge
1. TRY OUT A SAUNA OR SWEAT LODGE (Moist heat) These are used world-wide. Versions are found in North and Central America, Ireland, Finland and much of Europe, Russia, Africa, Japan, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Spiritual Benefit: Renewal and the purification of body, mind, soul and spirit.
SHARE WATER- When in a woman’s circle or with a group of friends, passing around a common goblet of water is a lovely way to connect friendship from person to person. By sharing water, you are sharing life. Pour any water left over into the earth outside or into a potted plant.
Physical Benefits: Sweating rids the body of wastes. In this modern sedentary age of pollution, artificial environments, synthetic clothing and lack of regular exercise, a sweat bath can open clogged skin pores and stimulate the healthy flow of a body's own natural sweat. YOU’LL FEEL LIKE A NOODLE! TRY ONE OUT. Suggestion: Russian Banya: 1441 York St., Denver, CO. Combines massage, sauna, hot tub, honey and oak scrub. A total experience.
2. MAKE A MAYAN FLOWER BATH- (Use flowers or herbs soaked in water to pour over yourself) Gather plants between 11 and 4 pm to maximize aroma and healing qualities.. Choose Peppermint, Rosemary, St. John’s Wort, Plantain, Chicory, Burdock, Yellow Dock, Sage or Wild Flowers.
Fill container, 3-5 gallons with water, submerge plants gently squeeze with hands while praying. Place in Sun for 3-4 hours. Put stool in shower and pour water over your body with sponge, dipper or cup. Sing, pray, chant or listen to music. (Protect drain with screen if necessary.)
3. MAKE YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL BATH- Begin with a clean tub. Choose nontoxic, unsprayed flowers such as mums, zinnias, marigolds, rose petals, violets, pansies and float them in the tub. Light candles. Play music. Make it beautiful. Soak, meditate, cleanse body, mind, spirit.
4. SWIMMER’S MEDITATION
Warm up 10 minutes regular swimming
Empty your mind
Let thoughts flow in and out
Feel all your body gliding through water
Pray or create mantra
5. GO TO THE HOT SPRINGS- Thermal waters from the earth have long been used for cleansing and ritual and healing. Natural hot springs are filled with healing minerals. Native Americans considered them sacred, neutral ground, places where even warring tribes could come together in peace. Colorado is filled with hot springs and opportunities to bathe. Try Indian Springs in Idaho Springs or the public pools in Ouray or Glenwood Springs. There are lots more.