Celebrating the Earth Elements ~ And Manifesting
On our journey through the process of clay alchemy—the combination of individual elements into something new, unique and beautiful—it’s important to keep in mind our ultimate goal: the on-going creation of our very experience of life!
A key element in alchemy is manifestation. Until something is made manifest, it isn’t measurable or tangible – it can’t be experienced with all the senses. It is said in metaphysics that Earth is a manifesting planet. Earth by definition is one of the essential elements in alchemy.
According to an Iroquois creation myth, in the beginning there was no earth to live on, only a watery abyss. Above, in the Great Blue, in a community called the Sky World, lived a Woman who Dreamed Dreams. Wanting to create some firm ground for the Woman to rest upon, a fish hawk asked for help. A bird called a hell-diver responded and went down to the bottom of the sea bringing back mud in her beak. She found a turtle, smeared the mud onto its back, and dove down again for more. Ducks did the same, spreading more mud over the turtle’s shell. The beavers helped to make the shell bigger. The birds and the animals continued until they had made the whole round Earth on the turtle’s back, allowing the Woman a safe space to sit, away from the water all around her. The turtle continues to hold the Earth on its back.
In a myth of the Creek people, the world was originally entirely underwater. The only land was a hill. In a house on the hill lived Esaugetuh Emissee, Master of Breath, who created humanity from the very clay of the hill.
William Shakespeare wrote “All the world’s a stage”. Without that solid platform, that ground beneath us, we cannot act out the riveting dramas of our lives. Much of what we think of as tangible is in physical form – dense. Although our physical bodies are composed mainly of water, it’s the solid clay construction that we really identify as the body. Ashes to ashes – dust to dust. Even though it’s water holding us together while we’re here, we begin and end with our earthly elements. Skin and bone. Clay.
In pottery, clay is where it all begins and ends too. A mug, a bowl, a pitcher, all designed for holding something else, are the essential pieces without which we can’t drink our coffee or eat our milk and cereal.
Yet, the key to creating useful pots from clay is the process called centering.
As a potter I’ve had to learn to center a lump of clay on the wheel, and maintain that center throughout the process of forming the pot. A mug that’s off-center isn’t just aesthetically disturbing, it also lets the tea spill out of one side…. And when that happens, the simple act of drinking takes more of our energy and attention than it needs to!
As a person I’ve had to learn to center too, and to vigilantly re-center! If we don’t find and then maintain our centers we become out of balance, off base, out of shape. The fact is that it’s our physical body that pretty much defines our material experience of interacting with the world, through all the physical and emotional senses.
When we lose track of our center, we spend too much time wondering who we are, trying and failing at things we just aren’t designed to do. A pitcher is much more effective for pouring water than a bowl is. If we’re out of shape it takes more energy to climb the stairs. If we’re out of balance we have to concentrate much too hard on simple tasks. In other words, in order to be healthy we have to stay centered and grounded, and we have to be optimally healthy to best manifest a truly fulfilling life.
We can be inspired by our Earth Mother and remember that solar energy, clean water and air, and pure, rich fertile soil in the right balance manifest, seemingly effortlessly, astounding beauty and an amazing array of life-enhancing products.
At The Voice of Clay, we are all about the elements, and this week, we’re celebrating the element of Earth! ~ we practice centering as we learn to throw pots ~ we keep ourselves grounded by kneading the clay with our hands
~ we keep ourselves healthy by detoxing our bodies with clay
~ we fulfill ourselves by manifesting beauty
All the while, we keep the idea of alchemy percolating, and honor the other elements too! We remember to breathe, to express our feelings, to connect with Spirit, to let intuition flow and to celebrate our joys and achievements.
This is how we manifest The Voice of Clay’s commitment to encouraging conscious living.