Heart and Soul: Sacred Elements of Healing

The Pacific Northwest is a living embodiment of Divine life. From the old-growth forests to the mist-capped mountains to the tidal flows of the Salish Sea to the subtle changes in shimmering light that adorn this beautiful place. All reminders of the depth and breadth of life. All part of a greater whole in which we are blessed to live.

Corinne Heline in her classic book “Star Gates” reminds us of how deep our inner connections with the outer world are: “Man is a universe in miniature. All that lies about him in the heavens and upon the earth have their small reflection in his being … So the great wheel of the universe turns, and renders its own unique contribution to the human unfoldment, and the gifts it brings are spiritual as well as material.”

We are intrinsically interwoven with the natural world that lies around us. To embrace this awareness is to realize true wholeness and integrity of being.

The ancient mystical traditions all celebrated the transcendent aspects of nature. In more modern times, we have reconnected with this essential truth through quantum physics that show our essential unity and through the reemergence of the ecological movements of Gaia, Mother Earth.

Matthew Fox has developed Creation Spirituality that reunites us with the natural world of which we are a part and to which we contribute our energies for good or ill. To be whole, to be complete, to be truly healthy is to reestablish this lost connection between us and the Divine. In wellness, one remains connected to the Source of all life … the Divine Well.

One of the clearest ways to realize the multi-level nature of our Being is to honor the various elements in the world around us of which we are a part. In the mystical Jewish tradition of Kabbalah, the place of manifest creation is called Chaith Ha Kadesh, and the first appearance of Spirit in form comes as the four elemental energies … earth, air, water and fire. From these four emerge all of the myriad complexities of the manifest world that lie all around and within us. To do healing work is to return to this point of creation … to this elemental grid of possibilities … to unlimited co-creative space. It can be done at every level of being: body, mind, heart and soul.

Earth represents the physical realm that includes our bodies. It is the manifest world of form and function. It reminds us of the importance of walking upon the world in a connected, grounded way. It invites us to open to receive the blessings of life that nourish and sustain us. It is the energy of the South which represents family and those who have gone before. Through the power of the Earth, we honor our physicality and celebrate its healing nature. For our bodies are created to seek wholeness, which is why they respond instantly to injuries and illnesses at the cellular level with regenerative forces. The calling of Earth Wisdom is To Be. Look to the trees that surround you here in the Northwest to remind you of the power of Earth … with roots extending deep into the rich soil and with branches reaching skyward in growth.

Air represents the mental realm that includes our thoughts, perceptions and communications. The way we view ourselves, our lives and our world profoundly affects our life experiences. It reminds us of the importance of being in the world in a conscious, connected way that expresses our intentions. It invites us to open to receive the blessings of life that guide us and bring awareness. It is the energy of the North which represents our true North Star which ever guides us through life with focus. Through the power of Air, we honor our consciousness and celebrate the healing possibilities that arise with new understanding and revised perceptions of our outer world. The calling of Air Wisdom is To Choose. All around you the mountains abide. Allow them to remind you of higher vision, elevated understanding, and the eternality of  your soul.

Water represents the feeling realm that includes our emotions, responses and unconscious life. It is the invisible world of the web of life that links us heart to heart. It reminds us of the importance of true abiding … being deeply connected with the world around us. It invites us to recognize the importance of how we feel about the flow of the unfoldings in our lives and how we replenish our inner current. It is the energy of the West which represents the intuitive and responsive aspects. And there is truly no greater mystery than how profoundly the presence of love can change our lives.

Through the power of the Water, we honor the profound heart healings born of loving compassion and forgiveness. The calling of Water Wisdom is To Embrace. Journey to the shore of the waters that surround you here on the Olympic Peninsula and allow yourself time to simply embrace the beauty of nature, life and your own soul journey. For a ship is safe in the water of the harbor, but that is not what ships were made for. You, too, were created to voyage upon the waters of this world.

Fire represents the spark of life itself that radiates from everything. It is the passion, strength, faith and courage to live. It reminds us of the creative nature of life itself as it serves as catalyst for change. It invites us to recognize the wonder of infinite creation, burning away the dross to reveal the gold. It is the energy of the East which represents the coming of the new day, of new life, and of new possibilities. Through the power of the Fire, we honor our soul selves and behold it in others as we heal our doubt and release our hesitations. The calling of Fire Wisdom is To Dare.

On these clear nights, look to the night sky for the inspiration of the heavens. By day, be enlightened as you watch the water and see how the sparks of light are released by the dance between water and sun.

There is one final and most essential elemental energy honored in the sacred traditions. It is that of Ethos or Spirit. This is the transcendent reality … the vibrational frequencies of creation … the Light found in all of life. Though this element of Ethos we see the great Divine grid in which all are held in vibrant potential. As we do so, we are incorporating all the elements into one cosmic unity and recognizing our place within it. And therein lies the greatest healing of all … the replenishing of our Inner Well that we might have true Wellness at every level of being. Namaste.

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith serves as minister to the Unity Spiritual Enrichment Center in Port Townsend. She found heaven on earth when she came to the Olympic Peninsula 10 years ago. She is a spiritual pilgrim and student of the universe with a special dedication to the interfaith movement.
She can be contacted at
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