I have just received the following very interesting communication:
“I was wondering about something these last few days, after talking to several women who to me seemed to have the Earth element strongly expressing itself. (I don't go out of my way to analyze but thoughts of the elements do float around in my mind on many occasions.) At some stage they have all expressed a lack of nurturing from their mothers (without my asking) and though they are all different people with different parents and upbringings, I was wondering why this aspect seems to run so strongly through them all. Is it perhaps that this element has certain needs which the parents (specifically mothers?) don't gauge or respond to and it then expresses itself in this way subsequently? I think a person's guardian element would not be based on his parents’ actions; the person would most likely view those actions in a particular way depending on his guardian element. Is this reasonable?” Sujata
We are moving here into esoteric areas involving questions relating to our personal destinies and how they act themselves out in the context of our lives. If our element is the elemental equivalent of our genetic inheritance, which is the only way I can see it, since every pore in us is imprinted with its shading, then what is its relationship to our parents’ elements, and is there indeed any relationship? I think all I write here can only be speculative, but if, as I believe, there is a pattern to life, then the elemental circle to which we have been assigned at the moment of conception forms part of this pattern, as does our parents’ choice of partners which will create the elemental pool out of which we ourselves emerge.
But it is surprising (or not so surprising, if you believe in patterns) to see how often a Metal person suffers some great loss during their life, even though they were assigned to the Metal element long before the loss occurred, and an Earth person, as Sujata so acutely observes, will have a parent, usually a mother, who shows signs of being unable to nurture their Earth child long after the Earth element has imprinted itself upon that child. To answer Sujata’s question, I think that the dominant elemental need, which in the examples I have given above are Metal’s need for respect and Earth’s need for nourishment, is within us from conception, but the fates in their wisdom add events in our lifetime which bear down hard upon these needs, as though deliberately focusing attention upon them. From one viewpoint these events can seem to be conspiring to draw out our element’s particular task in life, and thus offer us an opportunity to overcome the handicaps these tasks can place upon us. In Metal’s case this would be to learn to live with loss and not be diminished by it, in Earth’s to learn to nourish itself.
Footnote on the Earth and Metal elements: I am reminded of something Anna Freud, Freud’s daughter, a child psychoanalyst, once said to me: “Mothers who smother and fathers who are absent are the most difficult things for children to cope with.” Smothering with love, though ostensibly a way of giving something to a child, also deprives that child not only of air, but of the possibility of feeding itself. Watch a baby being pressed too close to a mother’s nipple and struggling to breathe or swallow, and you will get a vivid image of the harm smothering can do. The harm absence can do is much easier to visualize.