Using the Four Elements to Create the Fifth
Using the Four Elements to Create the Fifth (the road to self-improvement)
Since at least the time of Ancient Greek philosophers, many schools of thought have held the belief that the Universe is composed of four types of energy - the four classical elements - each possessing its unique set of characteristics, of positive and negative traits that, together, form a fully balanced whole. The willpower and the sheer masculine energy of the Fire element, the receptive qualities, deep feelings and feminine intuition of Water, the sharp intellect and cunning of Air, the stability and security of Earth - all of these in unison create a state of equilibrium that exists around us.
We, as humans, seem a bit less in balance, generally having personalities that tend to lean one way or the other. To begin with, each star sign we can be born under carries a predominant elemental structure with it, giving you a personality that is more inclined towards the characteristics of one element. This creates a perceived "disbalance" (from the "grand scheme of things" perspective anyway) and sets us on a starting point on the path of self-development. Attaining perfection (assuming such a thing as "perfection" exists) requires a complete balance of all four elements, the mastery of skills belonging to each of them, and a personality free from negative traits belonging to any. By creating this sort of equilibrium, we can effectively establish an alchemical process within our own souls, transmuting four different forces into a whole new element - Aether.
Achieving this sort of balance can be a life-long journey but one that can bring us closer to perfection and also to being one with the Universe. The trick is to know where (or rather, how) to begin. It is best to create a list of all your negative traits, of every single tiny little flaw you may deem is hindering your progress in life. Be ruthless and without mercy, pick your personality apart and list everything that you may find wrong and dysfunctional. Next - do the opposite. Create a list of all your positive sides, of each good thing that you can possibly single out about yourself. Finally, take all of these (both good and bad traits) and classify them according to their elemental characteristics. Fickleness will belong to Air, aggression to Fire, empathy to Water, being frugal to Earth etc. You will clearly see that your personality will lean towards one, perhaps two elements, while severely lacking in traits belonging to others. This is why it is important to nurture and reinforce the positive but work hard and try your very best to mitigate the negative. Think of favorable character traits and good habits missing and make an effort to build those.
It may be a life-long process but it's worth it. Meditation and constant self-reflection will be your best friends. This is the secret to true, spiritual alchemy.