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General Blog Description: Exploring Southern Hemisphere neo-pagan practice and culture from the point of view of a progressive witch living south of Perth, Western Australia.

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The Element of Earth: Deep Connection and Foundation

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

This is the fourth in my series of posts on how I connect to the elements in the Southern Hemisphere, living on the western coast of Australia. This time, I turn to the South where I contemplate the element of Earth. Previously, I called on Air, in the East; Fire, in the North; and Water, in the West.

Standing in the South urges one to contemplate a deep, dark and quiet part of the self. To the South lies the lush forests populated by the majestic Karri, Jarrah, Tingle and Tuart trees which don't grow anywhere else in the world, and green fields used for farming and vineyards. This makes it a tourist destination and to go "Down South" in Western Australia means you are escaping the suburbs for peace and tranquility. Even further south lies Antarctica and the South Pole, and weather patterns from the Southern Ocean bring the cold fronts in Winter that hit the coast line sometimes with a great deal of power.

To stand in the South literally grounds you, and it urges me to dig my toes deep into the earth and feel the gentle thrum of the solidity beneath. In the Earth there is deep wisdom and consolidation, a foundational trust in forces such as gravity, an anchoring that pulls you deep and reminds you of the here and now. 

This element corresponds to Winter in my tradition, but Winter for me holds a very different meaning to the dominant narrative of the Celtic-centric neo-pagan Wheel of the Year. Winter is not a barren time, it is instead a lush season, of germination as the rains arrive and the ground cools enough to be hospitable to life. At this time of year animals are attracted to watering holes, and the tips of eucalypts surge forward with new growth after the ground is finally being replenished as the ground springs to life with winter grasses and plants. The earth has such a pleasant scent when rain enriches it, and becomes a place of fertility and activity. Fields spring to life and baby stock animals distract you with their cuteness when driving down a country road. The nights are chillier, but not too cold as the weather in a Perth winter is more akin to a Celtic summer at any rate. This has interesting implications for 'flipping the wheel' and the interrelationships between Northern and Southern Hemisphere traditions... but I digress. 

It's a different sort of hibernation, as there is still less daylight, and the turning inward still occurs, but in a different way - perhaps on a more personal level. There is a steady wisdom found in the element of Earth that is at once simple and ancient. It is the same wisdom we associate with getting enough exercise, with eating nourishing food, with caring for our surroundings, and caring for eachother. It is a stillness in being present and opening up to the senses as they touch on the material realm - Earth is tangible. It can be seen, touched, tasted, smelled, heard. Pagans are often called 'Earth worshippers' or it is said that their practice is 'Earth based'. This is sometimes oversimplified into worshipping the planet herself as Gaia or hugging trees, however I think there is more merit and depth to the notion. To worship the earth means to worship the element of Earth - the reminder that divinity is not something that is out of sight, to be philosophised about, to speculate upon. Divinity is here and now - a stone is divine, animals and plants are divine, and if that is the case, we need to be responsible for the actions in this life rather than concerning ourselves with fear of consequences on another side that we can never prove to exist. This might be a contentious point to some (and I have no problem with that), but it is at the heart of what being a pagan means to me. 

There are moments when I have felt deeply connected to the Earth, and those times are when I am either surrounded by stone, concrete and glass in urban environments and everything just feels solid and heavy - and then there are those times I have visited caves and travelled underground. There are several caves running underneath this locality in a network of limestone, where the other elements have gradually eaten away the minerals and left wonderous places of beauty and awe. Some of these caves are accessible to tourists, and the quiet is almost deafening. An amazing elemental journey and a profound spiritual experience, if you ever get the chance to journey into a cave and stop for a moment of quiet contemplation, I highly recommend it.

Entrance to Lake Cave in Western Australia

Pictured above is a photo I have taken of the entrance to Lake Cave in Western Australia.


I call to you, O Element of Earth. Hail and Welcome!

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Lee is an artist and witch hailing from Western Australia. Her practice is one woven from both an intiatory eclectic Wiccan circle and a rigorous solitary practice that is heavily coloured with chaos magic and probably too many unicorns. Sarcasm, dry wit and Happy Squirrels are par for the course.


  • C.S. MacCath
    C.S. MacCath Friday, 12 September 2014

    Gorgeous post. I'm privileged to live in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and I feel the same sense of earth-connection the farther north on the island I go. There's a spot near Cape North where a string of mountains reaches out toward the ocean, and there are green grasses growing in the shallows, and there are few, if any people. It's a holy place. Thank you for sharing one of your holy places with us.

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