Class 3The Arte of Herbalism
When we consider an element, what we are really considering are the aspects of that element. If we look at Earth we can see it is dense, cold and dry. We can use the attributes, of dense, cold and dry, to define what has the same aspects as Earth. The same attributes of Earth can be found in the dense bone matter in the body. Earth is hard, bone is hard and even though we know that the marrow is less dense and saturated with liquid, our best representation of a single element is earth. Blood by its characteristics of red and hot can best be defined by Fire even though blood is a liquid. Perspiration can best be described as Water even though it carries salt.
Now, that doesn’t mean that these elements cannot be broken down farther. It means that we are choosing the elements as a starting point. Given this point of reference we can begin to build, we can set our associations. In fact we can use this point of reference to further dissect any and all things, if we so desire.
In the case of herbs, we must look at the aspects of the plant and what its elemental associations are. The greater understanding we have of the elements, the easier it is to define what element is best associated with each plant.
Fire is hot; the taste of Fire burns the tongue. So we can easily relate anything that burns the tongue to Fire (i.e., pepper or ginseng). Any plant that has an aggressive nature would also be associated with Fire, (i.e., Cacti or Nettle). We can also associate any plant that has a sharp or cutting blade with fire.
If we use those same fiery associations with the human condition, any sharp pain or wound would be considered of a fiery nature, as would the raising of the bodily heat, as in the cases of heat stroke and high fevers.
If we apply the aspects of Earth to plants, we would look for plants that are solid and dense. Watery plants would contain a lot of water. Airy plants would utilize air to propagate.
Using the same elemental associations for maladies we can easily see that an intestinal blockage would relate to earth, water retention to water and bloating to air.
All plants and all maladies can be classified as one of the four elements. If we can understand this one simple principle, in all its complexity, we will have a basic working knowledge of what we will need to know as we progress and further define the universal aspects. This is the groundwork of all we will be dealing with in the future. If we can identify which ailment belongs to which element and which plants belong to which element we can use that knowledge to understand what the plant is saying and what is needed for the health of an individual.
Now, lets consider the relationships between the elements. All elements have two elements they are compatible with and one that is its detriment. Earth is compatible with Water and Fire but is dispersed by Air. Water is compatible with Earth and Air but is dispersed by Fire. Fire is compatible with Earth and Air but is dispersed by Water. Air is compatible with Fire and Water but is opposed by Earth.
This is the nature of the grosser world in the correct balance. It is the natural way the elements react. Water soaks into the Earth. Fire destroys Earth but is compatible as fuel. Air is blocked by Earth but eventually wears down it opposition. As in all things if any of the elements become too great or too small it upsets that natural balance and becomes chaotic. Too much water overwhelms the natural protection the Earth has created with riverbeds and we have floods. It is the same with the human body, too much of one element can be very destructive.
Class Assignment:Pick any 10 organic objects (not man made) and define the 4 elements represented within each object.
Earth…an onion is hard
Water… juice of the onion
Fire… hot taste
Air… vapors that make one cry
Class3 assignment and discussion thread: http://www.mysticwicks.com/showthrea...22#post2350522