These Ritual Programs can be offered as single Elemental Events in the time frame of one day to a full weekend, (offering, for instance, a Fire Ritual), or, in an extended one-week to ten-day program encompassing all five elemental rituals. Ideally, each of these rituals would take place outdoors in a natural and secluded environment. Each, however, can be modified and adapted to an indoor setting.
In the indigenous mind, fire kindles and sustains an animating and pervasive energy in all that lives. It is in the water that runs, it is in the trees, the rocks, the earth, and in ourselves. It is the mediator between worlds since it is very close to the purest form of energy. Fire is the rising force that makes us do, see, feel, love, and hate. Fire has great power, both outside of us and within us.” – from The Healing Wisdom of Africa
Fire, the first element of the cosmological wheel, is the mediator between the spirit world and this one, and it is seen as a most potent connection to the realm of spirits. A fire ritual opens the gateway to the world of the ancestors. Its function is to put us humans back on our spiritual track by consuming that which stands between us and purpose. The fire ritual also provides an opportunity to reiterate our commitment to walking our spiritual path.
People, especially people in crisis, are naturally attracted to water. Just the sight of a large body of water brings a feeling of quiet and peace, a feeling of home. Water resets a system gone dry. In this western culture the most crucial task requiring the reconciling energy of water may be the confrontation of overwhelming contradictory emotions carried by people”. -Malidoma
Water, the second element of the cosmological wheel is the medicine which brings cleansing, reconciliation, purification, and peacemaking. A lake or river, secluded and accessible, is the ideal place to offer a water ritual. It provides an opportunity to be cleansed of energies that are detrimental to manifesting one’s purpose. A water ritual can also open our psyches to healing and living as peaceful beings.
Earth is where we belong. She is our home. She gives us sustenance unconditionally and makes it possible for us to feel connected. Earth is where we go to and where we come from. The nourishment and support of the Earth Mother grant us the feeling of belonging that allows us to expand and grow because we feel strong.” -Malidoma
Earth, the third element of the cosmological wheel, is the mother who is inviting us to come home. The purpose of an earth ritual is to provide a sense of belonging, a remembrance of home, and an experience of being “grounded” in the most literal sense. An earth ritual can be as simple as “Lying on the Earth’s Lap” (as described in The Healing Wisdom of Africa), and as complex and intense as a ritual burial. The earth burial ritual requires a time commitment of at least three days.
A person’s purpose is energetically inscribed in their bones and its actual translation into work should agree with the message engraved in these bones. The question is, what happens when what you do does not align with who you are? It means that you are likely to experience low self-worth, a lack of enthusiasm about what you are doing, and above all, a nagging sense of inner emptiness; I n short, an identity crisis. Indigenous people recognize that when the individual does not remember, gradually it is the culture, the society, that forgets.” -Malidoma
Mineral, the fourth cosmological element, speaks to our bones. Mineral invites us to remember, through ritual, who we are and why we are here. A mineral ritual can help us begin to unlock the mysteries that we carry in our skeletal structure. It can awaken our awareness of the purpose we have come to fulfill in this lifetime.
Human beings are most of the time unaware of the extent and intimacy of their connection with nature, especially the world of plants and animals. We act as if we are the proud and dominant other and thus can and should manifest our superiority in ways that are rather careless and devastating to nature. Indeed, trees live in harmony, and we create dissonance. Yet we want to live in a world where everyone and everything is harmoniously linked to everyone and everything.” -Malidoma
Nature, the fifth cosmological element, asks us to open to transformation in order to realize our purpose. It is the element of ongoing change. The purpose of a nature ritual is to reveal, heal and reinstate our own innermost nature. Nature rituals help people remain focused on their true purpose.