The elemental cycle is a universal tool that can help you understand and connect to phenomenon around and within you more deeply and effectively. For any given topic, it can help you clarify what it is actually like, flow with how it is changing, be open to its possibilities, and illuminate its inner meaning. You can think of the cycle as a key that fits almost any lock – all you need to know is how to turn the key. Stated another way, the elemental cycle is a tool for structuring human consciousness according to objective patterns of manifestation.
Training in using the elemental cycle has a number of benefits. As the cycle is quite objective in nature, it has the ability to help us understand external phenomenon, such as those present in the natural world (the growth of plants, the constitution of our Earth, weather patterns, physiology, etc). On the other hand, the elemental cycle is just as potentially useful as a tool for personal illumination and is a living spiritual technology facilitating our own transformation. Working with the elemental cycle can help you become a more effective learner, a smoother communicator, a more open listener, and a more insightful ‘understander’. It can help you transform.
The elemental cycle works with the archetype of change, and can thus be instructive at some level for any phenomenon that is transforming. Because essentially every situation is changing, the cycle can be applied to any phenomenon you choose. What this means is that when you encounter some event, topic, or occurrence in life that seems confusing, difficult, interesting, mysterious, or that simply presents to your soul the feeling of questioning, the elemental cycle can be used to help you skillfully enter into the archetypal background that informs its unfolding, allowing a deeper glimpse into its structure, relations, potential, and overall meaning. The elemental cycle helps streamline your effort, and lets you know where your attention might be best concentrated.
This document is designed to provide a practical introduction to the usage of the elemental cycle. Unlike training in a strictly scientific discipline, where terms and laws are formulated exactly so as to eliminate alternate interpretations, work with the elemental cycle is more like an art, where analogy and metaphor are just as useful as “facts”. Luckily, it is an art that has at its core an objective set of principles – we could call them archetypes – which yield something interesting: the elemental cycle itself helps train you in how to use it! In fact, it would be possible for you to arrive at the principles of the elemental cycle on your own simply by paying attention to the world around you, or your own physiology, or to music. Indeed, you already have a wealth of experiences which will help you understand the elemental cycle. Because the elemental cycle is a way of accessing the lawful patterns of change and transformation embedded within the processes of the world, paying attention to those processes – even ones that you are already familiar with – provides potential feedback from the world that can tell you about the elemental cycle itself.
The point is that you don’t need to know everything about the elemental cycle to use it effectively. Simply rhythmically paying attention according to the principles laid out below will serve to lead you towards a more complete understanding of how the cycle works and how you can use it. There are as many ways of using the cycle as there are individuals, and no way is necessarily better or worse than any other. Like anything in life, you get out what you put into it. My goal is to help you streamline what you ‘’put in” so that you maximize your potential return.
Work with the cycle can be undertaken on almost any scale. It is possible to work through a full cycle in a single sitting; alternately, fruitful work with the cycle can also take years. Practically, you should expect to gain a basic theoretical understanding of the elemental cycle simply by reading through this document. Working through the included introductory example and allotting at least five minutes a day to actually try the exercises can give you a basic practical understanding in a week or so. I have been working with the elemental cycle for over eight years and still continually find new aspects and layers of the cycle!