Exercise - Experiencing the Elements in Nature
Take time out to experience each of the Elements in its natural state in turn. Be prepared to spend a little time on each; at least 15 minutes, preferably more. Do not be tempted to try to deal with more than one Element on any one day. As these exercises really must take place outdoors, please make sure that you pay attention to your personal safety. If you can, remove your footwear so that you are in direct contact with the earth. Also experiment with having your eyes open and closed. Try to use all of your senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. In the case of the latter, you may find it better to inhale through your mouth rather than, for example, actually placing soil into it. Pay attention to how each Element makes you feel both physically and emotionally.
Air - On a windy day, go to a high point, preferably one which is not sheltered by trees or buildings, where you can experience the Element of Air. If it is cold, make sure you wrap up well. Feel the air blowing through your hair, moving your clothes and trying to buffet you. Take with you a few leaves or flower petals and cast them into the wind, watching how it takes them, lifts them and moves them. As you stand there, give thought to other types of winds, both stronger and gentler.
Fire - On a hot and/or sunny day go to somewhere which is sheltered from the wind, where you can lie down in the sunlight. Absorb the heat and light of the Sun, feeling also the warmth of the land you are lying on. Take your time to think about all the things which depend on heat and light, but do not risk sunburn or look at the Sun itself. Imagine what life might be like with much less, or much more, Sun.
Water - Here are two ways of experiencing Water; do both if you possibly can so that you can compare the experiences. First, go out in the rain, lift your head up and catch some drops in your mouth. Allow the rain to wash over you, look at the ways it lands on trees and plants and the way it soaks into the earth. Also observe the way it behaves when it lands on the pathway or road, and look at the effects it has on the things around. While you are there, consider the benefits of the rain. Secondly, go to a stream, river, pond, or lake which is not too dirty or polluted. Put your naked feet into the water, and use your hands to splash a little onto your face. Again, give thought to life with much less or more water, and consider those parts of the world where all the water is frozen as well as those where water is scarce. If you live near the coast, then also do the second part of the exercise in the sea, perhaps even going right into the water and submerging yourself completely if it is safe to do so.
Earth - The first part of this exercise is best undertaken in your own garden, or in that of someone who is prepared to let you actually dig the earth. If neither is possible then you can use a tub or container of earth as an interim measure, but try to return to the Element at some point. Dig a hole wide enough for you to place both hands in it, and deep enough that you actually go beneath the top 2-3 inches. As you dig, look carefully at the things within the soil, both living and inanimate. Use your hands to feel the texture, both on the surface and further down. If you can, place your feet into the earth too. The second part may be something you have to defer until you go on a trip to somewhere suitable. Find some rock formations - they don't need to be huge or particularly impressive. Place your hands flat on the rock surface. Look at the stone to see what is growing there, noting color, texture, and the direction of any lines and cracks. Consider the forces and energies that resulted in their being. If you have the chance, try also to visit a cave so that you can experience being surrounded by the earth.
When you return home after each experience, make sure that you write it up, including all the thoughts and feelings that came to you while experiencing each Element, and anything in your dreams the following night that relate.
from The Real Witches' Craft by Kate West
Exercise - The Elements Within
During parts of the following exercises you may access some fairly strong feelings, so before you begin it is a good idea to make sure you are prepared to deal with these and are able to bring yourself back to normal. In the Craft we sometimes call this returning to ourselves grounding or earthing, and it is something which should take place after any kind of meditation, as well as any form of magical working. Probably the best way to ground yourself is to have a warm drink and something to eat, preferably sweet, to replenish your physical energy as well. Alternatives include briskly rubbing your arms and legs with your hands, or fairly strenuous but tedious physical activity such as doing the vacuuming!
Dealing with strong emotions can be somewhat harder, and often it is best to allow them to work themselves through; if you feel like crying then do so, if you feel anger then go and pummel a pillow or cushion, and so on. Because these exercises can arouse strong feelings you may want to ensure that you will have privacy both during and afterwards. Part of the object is to learn to handle your feelings, so please dont try to suppress them. On the other hand, many people find that they have no residual effects after the experiences, and this, too, is perfectly normal. Try to only deal with one Element on any one day and write up your experiences as soon as you can.
Air In some respects, deliberately bringing the Element of Air, and thought, to the fore is the hardest to achieve; as it is hard to think, and think about how you are thinking, at the same time. Because of this here is a selection of exercises you can choose from: Imagine you are going away for a few days. Try to choose somewhere particular but which you have not visited before. Take a pen and paper and make a list of everything you think you might need to take with you. Plan for every situation, event and weather you can sensibly imagine happening. Be as detailed and thorough as you possibly can. When your list is finished, make a second list, this time assuming you can only take one very small bag. When both are complete, compare the way you felt whilst compiling each. In your head, calculate the number of seconds in a year, or, if you find this easy, the number of seconds you have been alive. Imagine a conversation with someone you know fairly well, but make it about a subject neither of you knows a lot about. Try to imagine what each of you will say, and make it last for at least ten minutes. Afterwards, consider how it felt to be strictly focused on mental activity: were you at all aware of your body, or other aspects of yourself?
Fire If you have a real fire this is best, otherwise place several candles in front of a mirror so that you can see lots of flames. Do make sure that they are in secure holders and not likely to set the room on fire! Now recall a time when you were really very angry anger is often the easiest passion to recall. Think through the whole situation from the first things that upset you until you can really feel the anger rising up inside of you. Once you are truly angry, stop for a moment and think about how your whole body and mind feel. You may find that you are shaking, sweating, or have other physical symptoms. If another person was the cause of this anger, ask yourself how you would feel about working a healing spell for this person right now. Once you have explored the sensations, either work through the feeling or let it subside naturally. Make notes on the build-up of feelings, how you felt when they were at their most powerful and how you felt as they were released or subsided.
Water To explore your emotions do both parts of this exercise: In the first part run yourself a deep, pleasantly warm bath. Make sure that you have a specially warm and fluffy towel to hand for afterwards, and a box of tissues within reach just in case. Once you are in the water think back to an event which was particularly sad; perhaps the loss of a pet, or the break-up of a relationship. Again, allow yourself to really experience the feelings that made up the emotion. Write this up fully as before. Do the second part on a separate occasion: Choose a humourous book to read or film to watch, making sure it is something which will really make you laugh out loud; often this will be something you are already familiar with. Alternatively, recall a really funny situation that happened to you, or which you have heard about. Allow the humour to build, and afterwards give thought to how you felt. When you write this up, compare it with experiencing sadness and see what, if anything, you feel the build-up of the two emotions have in common, and what is different to each. Also compare the way they leave you feeling once they have subsided.
Earth This exercise is one which may take several attempts to complete, as lots of people fall asleep when first trying. It is, however, something you might like to repeat many times as it is very relaxing. Prepare for bed in the usual way: if you are in a relationship you may need to have an early night when your partner will join you later. Lie on your back with no pillows under your head. Try to ensure you are lying straight with your feet slightly apart and your arms beside you bur not touching your sides. Focus on your breath until you are breathing slowly and evenly in through your nose and out through your mouth. Now, starting with one foot, move one toe at a time, then stretch and flex the foot. Do the same with the other foot. If you cant actually move your toes one at a time, do your best. Now flex the ankles one at a time, then rotate them. Going slowly up your body, bend and flex each muscle group or joint as best you can. Continue right up to moving your neck, chin, mouth, eyelids, eyes, and eyebrows. If you are still awake, repeat the process in reverse. When you have finished, your whole body should feel completely relaxed. Lie there for a few moments and think about how each part of your body felt before, during, and after you moved it. Imagine your mind travelling through all the parts and try to see them in your imagination. Ask yourself how they really feel: are there any aches, pains or discomforts? Which parts feel good, which dont? The following day, and only after you have written up the first part, stand naked in front of a mirror and make a point of looking at all the parts of your body. Compare how you feel about the way each looks with how they actually felt in the movement exercise.