First Lessons (Part 3)

All life - all existence, except for the purest crystals - is composed of all six elements. It is the motion and shifts in the soul that gives Life its complexity. That motion is defined by three cycles.

The Three Cycles: Creation, Conquest, Submission

Lightning sparks and ignites where it strikes, and thus Fire is born.
Fire renders to ash all it touches, and thus Earth is born.
Earth shuns the sun and harbors cold, and thus Ice is born.
Ice melts and flows, and thus Water is born.
Water mists and rises, and thus Wind is born.
Wind gathers the clouds and creates storms, and thus Lightning is Born.

Earth grounds Lightning, and Denies it.
Lightning boils Water, and sunders it.
Water erodes Earth, scatters it.

When faced with Wind, Fire bows.
When faced with Fire, Ice melts.
When faced with Ice, Wind flees.

These cycles are reflected in our spirits and thoughts as well as in the land. Structure, represented by Earth, leads to Stillness. When Stillness sets in, we forget the reasons for Order, and it gives way to Equilibrium. Equilibrium is frail, and vulnerable to change, while Order endures - and Stillness is anathema to Freedom, as Freedom is anathema to Purity.

The Polarities, Astral and Umbral

Wind, Lightning, and Fire together are called Astral. Earth, Ice, and Water are called Umbral. It is a common mistake to see one as Good and the other, Evil, but it is not so. The Astral is our ambitions - the heights to which we seek to climb, while the Umbral is our needs, - the things which we cannot afford to lose. Astral is overt, direct, and disruptive, while Umbral is subtle, contemplative, and harmonious. Without the light of the Astral, our lives would be without purpose, but without the safety of the Umbral, those ambitions would destroy us.