The Elemental Earth

Teachings on the four sacred elements – Fire, Earth, Air and Water – can be traced back through all of history’s major civilizations, from the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians to the Mayans and Aztecs, spanning the four corners of the world. It is a concept that is equally integral to prominent spiritual traditions, ranging from Buddhism and Hinduism, to Astrology and Wicca. While several of these cultures describe a fifth element, the core four remain relatively consistent across time and space.
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The Four Elements are not only used to describe the fundamental building blocks of the physical universe and everything in it, but in many traditions are also used to understand experiences as intangible as psychology and spirituality. The prevalent use of metaphor to paint each element with imagery associated with its characteristic permits complex and interconnected systems to be understood in visceral and intuitive terms, just as poetry often cuts to the heart of a subject much more directly than the most precise academic essay. In this way, the Four Elements model is frequently used to represent cyclical processes – from diurnal and seasonal cycles, to cycles of life or mood – by relating each element to qualities such as season, time of day, period of life or cardinal direction.

The following series explore the Four Elements paradigm by means of four distinct case studies. The element of water is represented in its frozen state in a study of the Arctic sea ice between Northern Greenland and Baffin Island; Fire is revealed in theĀ  infinite and ephemeral forms of flame; Earth is expressed by the mighty deciduous forests of the Pacific Northwest; while Air is highlighted by the experience of sky and cloud. Each series can be regarded in its literal form, or by seeing the abstract and ethereal qualities of the images in the metaphorical language of the Four Elements traditions.

Studies In Sea Ice

Focusing her camera on the extraordinarily complex and dynamic qualities of the frozen ocean, Studies in Sea Ice by Roberta Holden is a work of colour archival prints taken by helicopter between the communities of Ummanaq and Nuussuaq on the northwest coast of Greenland <br /><a href=\"\"> Read More >></a>

Speaking With Trees

Fantasia in Fire