The 4 elements in you…

…Should be in balance. Are they?

Lucy the Oracle
11 min readJun 2, 2024
Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

A previous article of mine has been making waves. Have fun with it if you haven’t seen it, clicking here. I find it especially entertaining that most of the comments are coming from people who felt outraged because the shoe fit. Their wide majority: men who identified with “water” and didn’t like that I mentioned it is considered feminine in alchemy.

Oh, I’m sorry, dudes. I’m very, very sorry. I really feel for you! It must hurt very deeply. The problem is… I didn’t make that up. Oh, do you think I did? Do you think I’m talking off my arse?

I mean… When you have even a basic understanding (and I’m talking, basic BASIC B-A-S-I-C extremely basic. Teenage esoteric magazine level of basic. That’s how ridiculously basic it is!) of literally any metaphysic tradition, old or new, well-known or not, from anywhere on the planet… you know for a fact that water and earth are feminine elements, whereas fire and air are masculine.

Astrology says that (tropical, sideral, AND Chinese — they all say that), so does witchcraft (western, Eastern, tribal from basically anywhere on Earth, and the list goes on), so does chaos magic, so do a shitload of mythologies all over the planet, and so on. But when I say it on a blog post here on Medium, I’m making shit up.

Sure.

As usual, this is a serious case of denial. I’ll tell you what’s going on: fragile masculinity. That’s the unaddressed elephant here. This problem is old as balls and super easy to identify: you talk about a feminine kind of energy, a man identifies with it, but retaliates because he doesn’t like identifying with it, as if thinking “oh no, does that mean I’m not fully a man?” — Rest assured, it doesn’t. It takes more than that for being trans. 100% honest. If in doubt, let’s look into what happens when we reverse the roles:

Let’s suppose I was talking about a masculine energy, and women identified with it. Would they come raging at me for “daring” to talk about it because I’m taking away their womanhood? Uhhhh… No. Women who identify with “fire” and “air” usually just consider themselves fierce and blunt [and insert other qualifiers here] but they’re WOMEN. Right?

So… What’s the problem, now? Why the double standard, comparing the two scenarios?

Oh. I see. There’s a little thing called Patriarchy, isn’t there? It’s this social problem where women, and femininity, and softness, and care, and “water”, and anything archetypally female… is considered “lesser than” [its masculine counterpart]. I mean… we live in a society, don’t we? In this society, what do we value? Why… Results of course! Facts. Figures. Achievement. Growth. Conquest. This. That. Black. White. Rigidity like that. One, two, one, two, one, two. There’s no room for blurring the lines, trusting the unseen forces, letting anything linger or be digested for a little longer.

It’s the world we live in. If anyone, anyone at all, can deliver productivity for its own sake — be it a man or a woman — that person is valued. This is why women can be yin or yang and it’s all good. Yin is undermined socially but it’s considered “normal” for us so we get a free pass; Yang is desirable by societal standards so that’s also thumbs up. However, if A MAN is predominantly yin… Oh no. What a tragedy, isn’t it?

And who is to blame for that problem? Me? Are you sure about that? Are you going to blame this random oracle learner on the internet with a small blog? If you are going to do that, it’s cool with me. Honest. But I’m just putting the reflection out there for YOUR sake. I hope you’re smart enough to realise the truth here, instead of going off a knee-jerk reaction indefinitely. Ya know… I believe in you guys. I trust that my readers have at least two braincells.

When I spoke about “femininity” or “feminising”, I wasn’t LITERALLY talking about human gender. I was speaking metaphorically — as I usually do. Again, look at my name. Is it Lucy, the Scientist?

Some teachers DO try to feminise people, it’s not just a perception, it’s a fact, because in esoteric areas of knowledge, here in the West, we only value water and earth. We completely forgot the beauty and the value in the other two elements. We should learn with Eastern traditions that survived unbroken to this day, where people value all 4 (and more, they include metal and wood and space, etc). But even if we keep to the basic 4… We all have all 4 in us. Yes, we do. Everyone has water, and yes, all its subtlety and caution and motherly care, even straight males in the army. Everyone has fire, and yes, all its inspiration and impulsivity, even the girliest ballerina. And so on… I’m sorry to inform. Don’t like hearing it? Complain with god(s). I’m just the messenger. Wanna shoot me? Why, feel free. The message remains.

Now that our initial reflection is over (and hopefully, this elephant has been addressed), let’s move on to the main topic:

Photo by Marc Szeglat on Unsplash

Water, earth, fire, air. That’s what our planet is made of. That’s what we are made of.

A warning: I’m blocking trolls. Go on, try me.

And in case you’re autistic or have another kind of difficulty with subtext, here is a helpful note about tone: I’m speaking metaphorically. It’s not literal earth, literal fire, etc, nothing is literal. I hope this helps. Let me know if not.

So, as I was saying, we need all 4. It’s not just water and earth (sorry, “mother earth worshippers” who demonise sun gods); it’s not just fire and air (sorry, “warrior god worshippers” who demonise anything intuitive and ecstatic). All 4. Again, I didn’t make this up, if you don’t like hearing it, complain with the higher-ups in charge.

Another thing I’ve had complaints over is my use of expressions such as “water people”, “fire people”, etc because they’re reductionist. Well… I agree. They ARE reductionist. But you know what they also are? Realistic. I’m diagnosing a problem. I’m not going to disagree with anyone and say it’s somehow good to lean on one only element so much in terms of thought, behaviour, and spiritual patterns. It’s not! You guys are right. But should we just sweep this problem under the carpet? Or… Perhaps there’s a better way to deal with it?

The way I found to deal with it was to bring it to light. Maybe this hurts — like exposing a wound. However, if we don’t expose the wound, does it ever heal?

Something I’ve come to notice in all these years of dealing with people in spiritual communities (especially in modern paganism) is the common theme of running away from triggers. Usually, when someone has “daddy issues”, this person will become a die-hard goddess worshipper who only cares about women figures in the pantheon and the importance of motherhood and womb imagery, earth and water, and more earth, and more water, etc. Fire bad! Air bad! Conversely, people with “mammy issues” (myself included) will have the opposite knee-jerk reaction: gods only! Men are safe, women are dangerous. Earth bad! Water bad! Ooga-booga. No, they don’t say it outright. Neither did I during my radical phase. It’s common to make these impulsive al-or-nothing judgements whereby “all men and male archetypes are potential invaders and conquerors” when your father was a problematic man, or “all women and female archetypes are potential manipulators who want to keep their beloved dependent on her without ever growing up or emancipating” when your mother was the problem. We make these judgements without realising, and will often lie to ourselves that we’re not making them, that it would be ridiculous or stupid.

But is it really? Is it ridiculous or stupid? If it was, it wouldn’t happen so much. Let’s just acknowledge this common blind spot and let’s stop pretending we are really as evolved and ready to guide others as we claim to be. There’s no getting there without a good bit of introspection, you know? Often times, a legit social problem you’re setting out to try and address is shrouded and enmeshed with your own mommy or daddy issues that really should just be taken care of in therapy and not make their way into anyone’s activism.

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

I’ll repeat what I said in a previous article: what do we get if we take some earth, soak it in water, and keep adding more earth, more water… and so on to it? Depriving it to the best of our ability of fire and air (even the fire from the sun)? Mud. We get mud. Nothing grows there other than maybe fungi, because plants need light (or “fire”) in order to photosynthesize, not to mention air so the roots can establish. And that’s (metaphorically, I’ll remind you once again. People love taking things literally and surface-level…) what I see happening in western spiritual communities formed by someone with “daddy issues” — there’s way too much sentimentality and softness, but no encouragement for initiative; quite on the contrary, fear-mongering and taboos reign supreme so that everyone remains passive, without a life of their own outside the cult, and at the mercy of the cult leader. That’s textbook religous behaviour here in the industrial west. Or am I lying? Of course not. It happens across the board from Christian to pagan to other revivalist religions to agnostic cults that claim to promote mindfulness and so on. Worse: new people who already have this “fire” of initiative and this “air” of strategy in them get guilt-tripped and manipulated out of these qualities; suffocated; buried very deep in this “mud”, never to rekindle their enthusiasm and joy for life again. Some develop physical debilitating problems, entirely psychosomatic. It’s a serious issue we should find the root cause of, instead of jumping from cult to cult calling them out and dismantling them. New ones will form, and all that work will have been for naught. The more you prune this problem, the stronger it gets. You need to address what’s causing it deep down. That’s what I am trying to do. Am I perfect at it? No. But I’m trying. I don’t see many others trying. All criticism and not enough attempts to do better than I. Criticising is very easy indeed, from the comfort of your armchairs.

I was going to tell you a personal anecdote, but never mind. I’ll just let the future unfold as is. “Mother earth only” cults (yes, CULTS) tend to fail miserably because, again, I’ll repeat, they’re coming from leaders with daddy issues; They’re not coming from the wisdom we once had in Ancient civilisations, because if you really study them, you’ll realise that yes they worshipped mother earth, but there was more to their religion too — more Yang energy, to be specific. A lot of people these days are appropriating the word Pachamama, and I as a South American am NOT impressed by that. Ever even been to Peru or Bolivia? Yeah? Ever learned from the local elders? No, you haven’t. If you did, you’d also know you’re not dealing with monotheism… Or… maybe you know? And maybe you bastardise it anyway when bringing it over to the western industrial world, because “oh no, we have too much of one thing here. The answer is fighting that by bringing people too much of the other thing”.

*Slow clap*. Bravo. Yes, of course, History definitely tells us that countering radicalism with an opposite kind of radicalism is super unproblematic and wise. It has worked every time, hasn’t it? When was the last one? The cold war?

Photo by Sergiu Nista on Unsplash

Conversely: what do we get if we light a fire, feed it oxygen, and keep lighting more fires and feeding them? A problem for the fire brigade. That’s what we get. If an exaggerated amount of water + earth buries and suffocates with too much control… Too much fire + air will give us the opposite: an excess of chaos and destruction. Again, metaphorically — in case certain people have already forgotten I am no literalist.

And where are we seeing this excess of chaos and destruction? In churches, temples, and other sacred places? Definitely not. As we saw already, here in the industrial west, religions and spiritual groups are in fact too “motherly” (to put it nicely. I could have chosen less flattering qualifiers), abjectifying anyone or any groups that can be perceived as a threat to their sense of cohesiveness. Our metaphoric fire + air is instead in our economic system. Capitalism operates under the premise of infinite growth and conquest… But that’s an extreme, and we do not need to completely disregard all the healthier shades of grey we could potentially be promoting, just because what we’re currently seeing is black and white.

We’ve tried a black and white divide before. As I said, during the cold war. Did it lead anywhere productive? I’ll let you answer that one. You’re smart enough.

…But when I speak of bringing these qualities over to the world of religion and spirituality, people get mad. Whoa, hold on, Lucy. Are you trying to take this “safe space” away from the people who radically oppose Capitalism and environmental neglect? And my answer would be: yes. Yes, I am. That’s because, the sooner you realise that this thing you call a “safe space” has long become an alienating echo-chamber, gentrified and isolated away from any semblance of general accessibility… the better.

I am all for green politics, but let’s be crystal clear about one thing: ecofascism lurks just around the corner. And like any kind of fascism, it’s borne out of an excessively protectionist (a “feminine” archetype in an exaggerated, extreme, no longer natural way) ethos, enabling fear of “the other” (today’s second-class citizens of your choice) in this pursuit of “safety” and “conservation”. I do not, never have, and never will, not even under torture, subscribe to that.

My main commitment is with social justice. Let’s not forget that. It means making room for diversity WITHIN our revolutions, WITHIN our movements, WITHIN society at large. Climate change is today’s challenge. In the Middle Ages, it was Viking invasions. In every era, there is some kind of “final boss” we all have to unite to defeat. This is nothing new. But the problem is… instead of uniting, we turn against each other. Every single time in History. Because we simply refuse to open our minds to the other “gender” (again, metaphoric) with their unique, but equally valid, way of contributing to a good cause.

You probably think I’m reaching, at this point. Indeed, if you keep interpretation of what I’m saying here on a surface level, it looks like I’m reaching too far. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll see I’m not. Both extremes of “yin” and “yang”, if you will, are problematic: one is too globalistic and expansionist, wanting everything under the sun for itself; The other is too protectionist, cliqueish, recoiled, but paradoxically vindictive against any group that it decides to “other” — and in that vindictiveness, it too becomes destructive and authoritarian. Gradually, but surely.

What we need is a balance of both energies. But for that to happen, we need to include them both in as many areas of life as possible, interacting and coexisting together, REGARDLESS of how scary each respective extreme looks like. Yes, we’ve seen the extremes. Time and again. But may I suggest, balance exists too. It’s just a matter of looking for it and tending to it. When and if we get there, you’ll see that the extremes will no longer have room to manifest.

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Lucy the Oracle

Oracle learner / spirit worker based in Ireland. Buddhist/polytheist. I don't read minds. I don't change minds. I don't sugarcoat. Take my message or leave it.