Without our being aware of it, we tend to overlook the shadows our own element cast over the patients we are treating, and which therefore inevitably to some extent distort the signals our patients’ elements are sending us. We all have one (or more) weak spots in recognizing specific elements, and if we are to be good practitioners we must learn to accept this and take this into account in any diagnosis we make. Mine is definitely distinguishing between Fire and Earth, something I find I have in common with many other practitioners. I see that this comes from the fact that both elements, in their differing ways, need people, and therefore respond to people with some eagerness.
In my case, I have come to see that one of the reasons for this may lie in the interaction between my own Fire element and Earth people and other Fire people, and the way in which my own Fire responds when confronting the needs of these two elements. My Fire need is to relate closely to each of my patients, and I will be tempted to interpret the warmth with which both Fire and Earth will respond to my warmth as though filtered through what I call my pink Fire spectacles. But Earth’s and Fire’s responses differ, as we know. Earth responds more because it is glad to be offered understanding, Fire more because it is happy to bestow warmth upon the practitioner. Both interactions will make my own Fire element happy, but for different reasons. With Earth I am pleased to see that my offerings are being so warmly accepted (we could say, taken in and swallowed), and I will bask in the warmth my Fire patients offer me.
The direction of movement is quite different in the two cases. Earth’s is to move back and take in, while Fire’s is to move forward and give.
I have been thinking a lot about this ever since a fellow practitioner said to me recently, “You know that famous film actress with the large smile? I see her as so typically Earth, with that mouth which you, Nora, have often called an Earth mouth, open like a baby bird crying out for food.” She was talking about Julia Roberts. I was taken aback because Julia Roberts is somebody I rather blithely included in my list of what I considered to be Fire people. Was it possible that my fellow practitioner was right, and was that, perhaps, the reason why Julia Roberts doesn’t actually make me feel warm inside, despite the great smile? So off I went to look at her on You-Tube, and indeed, when I looked more closely and more carefully, what I saw was somebody who demanded something of me, rather than somebody who gave me something.
This reinforces one of my mantras. Never allow yourself to be lulled into thinking you are absolutely certain about a person’s guardian element, but always keep open the possibility that you may be misinterpreting the signals coming from their elements. And always, always, remain humble and ready to learn. The uniqueness of each person is not easily encapsulated within the all-encompassing meanings contained in. one of five words, Wood, Fire…..