Kathleen Karlsen – Transformation Through the Arts

Mastering the Five Elements with Mantras

A Powerful Tool for Transformation

Kathleen Karlsen
Sept – Oct 2023 • Vol 4, No 6

The five-element system is a powerful way to view the world and the process of transformation. The Chinese five-element system uses wood, fire, earth, metal, and water as the primary natural elements. The Vedic five element system is like the Chinese system but developed separately in India. The Vedic system also uses the elements of water, earth, and fire. However, the fourth and fifth elements in the Vedic system are space and air (rather than wood and metal).

Many traditional cultures categorize various aspects of life according to a system of natural elements. Natural element systems describe the relationship between different energies and phenomena in the world around us. Finding your natural element compatibility can help you to choose the mantras that are the most supportive and healing.

Determining Your Most Supportive Element
Each of the five elements have characteristics that can be identified as personality types. If you are predominantly one type, you may want to emphasize mantras that help to balance your approach to life. Look at the list of five personality types and elements below to see where you think you currently fit. As you go through life, your compatibility with one or more elements can shift.

For example, I am predominantly compatible with the water element. To balance this, I love to focus on fire chants! After years of this practice, I no longer have cold hands and feet. In fact, sometimes I feel a distinct surge of warmth while chanting. At this point, I could probably shift to chants connected to other elements, such as earth or air chants to avoid activating too much fire!

Fire Element Personalities
Fire energy is characterized by its ability to give off warmth and attract others. Predominately “fire” types place a great deal of emphasis on interpersonal relationships. Accordingly, they are romantic and idealistic, enthusiastic and emotional. The danger of too much fire is an excess of anger or passion.

Earth Element Personalities
The earth element can absorb excesses of the other elements. Earth personalities are forgiving and compassionate. Earth types are wonderful friends and great listeners. The main concern with being an earth type is the tendency to take on the burdens of others to a degree that is detrimental to yourself.

Water Element Personalities
Water can change effortlessly without losing its essential character. Water types are resourceful and single-minded, flowing over problems like a river. Water types can also store or “pool” their resources to be in a position of strength when opportunities arise. On the other hand, if a person has too much water, they may become overly emotional or stagnant.

Air Element Personalities
Air personalities are often highly intelligent, analyzing life at every turn. They literally breeze through life, moving quickly and making decisions easily. Things to watch out for in an air personality can be unpredictability or detachment.

Space (Ether) Element Personalities
The element of space is the subtlest and has the least defining characteristics. Space or ether is close to the concept of emptiness. In Sanskrit, this element is called akasha. This means the background against which everything is perceived. A person with this predominant element is someone who focuses on the eternal. Staying tethered to this world might be an issue for space (ether) personalities.

Finding Your Mantra
In the Vedic system, there are deities associated with each element. In turn, each deity has mantras and sounds that represent their unique energy. Under-standing the interactions between the five elements may also be a helpful place to start. These interactions can be simplified as: fire heats water; earth absorbs water; water puts out fire; air feeds fire; and space or ether supports the earth.

The list of deities associated with the five elements below will help you create more balance in your life!

Fire Mantras: To emphasize fire mantras, choose chants to Agni Deva (Lord of Fire), the heroic Lord Rama, or to the Goddess Kali or Durga.

Earth Mantras: To focus on the earth element, choose mantras to Ganesha (the Elephant-Headed God). The energy of a large, heavy creature like an elephant is a good metaphor for the earth.

Water Mantras: To increase the water element, there are a number of Hindu deities to choose from including Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth), Ganga Mata (Ganges Goddess), or Krishna.

Air Mantras: To generate more of the air element, try mantras to Hanuman (Monkey-Faced God), Shiva, or Buddha. Air mantras may help to lighten things up if you feel too earth-bound.

Space (Ether) Mantras: There is a deity associated with the element of ether named Isana. However, this deity has few traditional mantras. On the other hand, the Buddhist mantra “Gate gate pāragate pārasam gate boddhi swāhā” is clearly an ether-element chant. One of its many meanings is: “Gone, gone, everyone gone to the other shore, awakening, svaha.” This is a well-known mantra from the Buddhist text called The Heart Sutra.

Resources: Mantras for the five elements can be found at: KathleenKarlsen.com/mantras-songs. To learn more about the system of the five elements, visit: KathleenKarlsen.com/mantras-five-elements. Most of all, have fun experimenting with the mantras for each element!

2023-08-30T11:39:34-06:00The Metaphysical|

Charge Your Chakras with Flowers!

Discover the Ancient History and Mythology of the Most Beloved Flowers

Kathleen Karlsen
July – August 2023 • Vol 4, No 5

You Know the Chakras—Their Symbols, Sounds, and Meanings. Now Discover the Ancient History and Mythology of the World’s Most Beloved FLOWERS and Their Associations with Each of the Chakras.

Discover the meaning and significance of each chakra through their associated flowers! Flowers are among the oldest spiritual symbols. Sacred flowers exist in nearly every culture and spiritual tradition. For example, the lotus is a metaphor in the Hindu tradition for the flowering of consciousness. Other flowers can serve as beautiful visualizations for each of the seven major chakras.

Root Chakra Flowers
The root chakra is often associated with the color red. Thus, poppies, peonies and poinsettia are clear favorites as root chakra flowers. In a purified state, the root chakra is thought to be white. Thus, white flowers can also symbolize the root chakra.

The root chakra creates the base for the other chakras. For this reason, flowers that have a strong root system are ideal symbolic choices. Thus, other flowers associated with the root chakra include hibiscus and begonia. These flowers grow on shrubs, bushes or trees. Using these flowers for visualization will help to anchor your efforts in the world.

Sacral Chakra Flowers
The sacral chakra is often associated with the color orange. In a purified state, the sacral chakra is a violet color. This is the chakra of relationships, creativity and reproduction. Clearly, there are many flowers associated with romance and relationships.

The sacral chakra is also the realm of communication and exchange. Sometimes the sacral chakra is called the seat of the soul. Flowers representing the soul and sacral chakra include the calla lily, crocuses and orange blossoms.

Solar Plexus Chakra Flowers
The solar plexus chakra is connected to both service to others and personal desires. This is the chakra where we get a gut feeling about people, places and events. In the East, the solar plexus is symbolized as a ten-petaled lotus that resembles a sun.

Thus, flowers that resemble the sun are clear winners as solar plexus chakra flowers. Flowers that are golden or yellow are also associated with the sun and the solar plexus. Flowers for the solar plexus chakra include sunflowers, dandelions and daisies.

Heart Chakra Flowers
The fourth chakra is the heart chakra. The heart is the focus of spirituality in many systems, notably Christianity. There are many depictions of Jesus with a heart burning with sacred fire. Other traditions also teach that there is a sacred flame or spark within the heart. In the East, a mystical inner chamber in the heart is known as “Brahma’s Cave.”

The physical organs associated with the heart chakra are the heart itself, the circulatory system and the lungs. As the seat of love and devotion, the heart expresses charity, compassion, and kindness. The heart is also a focus for beauty and culture. The chakra flowers that symbolize the heart include roses, forget-me-nots and camellias.

Throat Chakra Flowers
The throat chakra is connected to creativity and self-expression, as well as the actions of speaking, chanting and singing. This chakra is associated with the neck, thyroid, esophagus, teeth, mouth and the ears. The throat and thyroid are where emotions, intentions, praise and criticism are expressed.

The fifth chakra is the throat chakra or the Vishuddha chakra. In Sanskrit, Vishuddha means “especially pure.” The throat chakra is depicted as having sixteen petals. As the focus of communication, throat chakra flowers often have a bell-like shape. These flowers include tulips, bluebells and foxgloves.

Third Eye Chakra Flowers
The sixth chakra is the third eye, the seat of spiritual vision. The Sanskrit term for this chakra is Ajna, which means “command” or “perceive.” The third eye is associated with clairvoyant abilities, and can be developed with yoga, meditation and the practice of chanting.

According to tradition, water from marigolds may be rubbed on the eyelids to induce visions of fairies. The third eye chakra also plays a strong role in imagination. This connects to lupine flowers whose meaning is “imagination.” Finally, the ancient Greeks believed smelling gardenias would transport one to the Elysium paradise, a place of meaningful dreams and sleep.

Crown Chakra Flowers
The seventh chakra is the crown chakra, the seat of enlightenment, known in Sanskrit as the “thousand-petaled lotus.” According to Eastern traditions, the crown chakra is related to god-consciousness and the divine.

The crown can be viewed as the father, or spirit energy, drawing the mother, or earth energy, from the lower chakras upward.

The predominant colors of the crown chakra are white or gold. Reaching the crown chakra is largely equated with freedom from limitations and the boundaries of time and space. In this way, the crown is a link to the universal.

In addition to the lotus, other crown chakra flowers are sacred magnolias and rhododendrons, the national flower of Nepal.

Chakra Resources:
Learn more about chakra symbols, sounds, meanings and related topics at: KathleenKarlsen.com/chakra-resources.
Discover the ancient symbolism, history and mythology of the world’s most beloved flowers at: KathleenKarlsen.com/resources/flower-symbolism.