By Deborah Lipp
Llewellyn, 2004 $17.95 US
Review by Daven
I have to admit that I was expecting a lot from this book after reading “The Elements of Ritual.” And while this book is not being rated as highly as the first, it is still a needed reference.
This book talks about how to bring the Elements into your life on a basic level, holistically and completely. Simply because the current society tends to cut ourselves off from those same elements, this is a wonderful wake up call.
While this book is not specifically Wiccan in nature, nor is it truly a Pagan book, it does touch on topics that are of interest in Wicca and Paganism. There is only one (relatively short) chapter that deals with the Elements in Ritual, for that is covered thoroughly in the previous book. But there are still needed reminders in this book on the Elements and a ritual and magick.
Mostly this is a self-help book. Contained in this book is several sections on finding out what your elemental makeup is and how to balance it. For instance, there is a chapter of various tests to determine what kind of personality you have. From there, you compare the results to a chart and that will tell you what kind of elemental balance you have. For instance, I scored 7 Air, 6 Earth, 6 Water and 2 Fire. Which means that I’m deficient in Fire in my life and that I need to work to bring more Fire into my life.
After that, it’s suggestions on how to do that, not only in my day-to-day activities, but in my job, in my clothing, even in the food I eat. Each and every portion of the life is broken out and examined to show how to bring more of a particular element into it. Not only that, but she also shows you what kind of elemental “personality” you are projecting by your actions and your normal everyday life.
There is a section that deals with the decor of your home and what kind of elemental influences are around you in your home, room by room. From the Kitchen to the Living Room to your Bedroom, there are suggestions on changing your Fire dominated Living Room into an Earth Ruled one, or even just redistributing the focus to make it more balanced.
And these suggestions aren’t just on the order of “go out and buy some candles and burn them” in order to bring more Fire to you. No, these suggestions are far ranging as “go out and get some amber colored pillows, some musk scented oil and put that around your room”. These suggestions even go as far as to suggest that one get beaded curtains which divide a room from another, and then explains why those curtains are necessary in the elemental makeup of your home.
Regardless, this elemental balancing act is absolutely necessary. Too many people are specialized or focused in one element or another, absolutely ignoring the rest in their lives. But as the author points out we are made up of all four elements, and if you don’t have Air, you suffocate, if you don’t have Water, you dehydrate. Without Fire, there is sickness and eventually unregulated body temperature and no energy, and finally if you don’t have Earth, the body itself is gone. She goes to great lengths to show that one must have all four elements in your life to have the forces at work that you want.
Now for the bad news, what I didn’t like. The entire first chapter is a repeat of the first chapter of “The Elements of Ritual”, almost word for word. I understand that the chapter is necessary, and I also understand why it has to be in there, it irritated me to see the same information again.
This is also not a book that is really and truly relevant to Wicca. It is a wonderful reference to work with the elements in daily life, but I think that it is limited to those who don’t work with the Elements on a regular basis, which makes it of limited appeal to others. The author also tends toward a dry delivery, authoritative, which many may take as being bombastic. I don’t find it that way, but many might.
Still, I did learn many things, and I plan on reading this book again in more depth. I’m giving this book 4 stars out of 5. It is a good way to keep yourself balanced and on track with the Natural World.