Working with the raw natural elements is a process of connecting with the external elements and internalising their qualities. Doing this ultimately leads to connection with the essence of the elements. The internalisation of elemental energies helps us to cultivate positive qualities and eliminate negative ones.
We are most affected when we go where the land is in its natural state: mountains, open plains, forests.
What affects us is not only the physical beauty that we see with our eyes; rather it is how the whole body responds.
Often these responses are unconscious but with practice we can learn to internalise the energies of the natural elements for healing and regeneration.
We can draw the qualities of Air in with our breath, as air brings us the quality of change; we can let the comfort of Water pervade and surround us, and feel the warmth of the Sun on our skin and take it into the deepest part of ourselves. We can let the sunlight be the external phenomena that evoke the healing qualities of the Fire element, which imitates the capacity to create and set this creativity in motion. We can connect bare foot with Earth and feel the solid stable security rise. As everything arises from Space, in us the sacred element manifests itself as awareness.
Ultimately we can merge with the elements.
We connect the external quality with the internal quality and then dissolve the distinctions. Reaching out is reaching in when we have developed practices that connect the two. Otherwise reaching out is just reaching out and a going away from us.
To practice ritual it is helpful to go to an area where the natural elements are strong. A good time to practice with sacred images and symbols, is while sitting at a fire feeling the warmth, going for a walk feeling the wind blow, standing on a ridge of a hill seeing afar, standing amongst trees - while becoming aware of the elements internally.
For me the trees are the most powerful connection; they connect from deep within standing with their feet in the clear waters below, drawing the warmth of the fire of life through their strong bodies from deep within earth to the crown of their heads swaying gently in the breeze whispering, withstanding storms, bearing silently wisdom of hundreds of years.
There are traditional signs of success in this way to practice with the elements, but the most important sign would be what was internally weak would become strong, while negative qualities begin to fade away as we connect with the essence and stop looking to the outside for the cause of our imbalance.
Find "your" tree or even grove on one of your walks and visit it regularly or /and plant a tree, tend to it, watch it grow. If you have a space in a garden, wonderful! Dig the hole for the tree with your bare hands, care for it, talk to it and hold your ritual there......you will find deep satisfaction and healing.