Alchemical Cycle Logo Master's Thesis:
The Elements as an Archetype of Transformation:
An Exploration of Earth, Water, Air, and Fire

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Chapter 6 – Into the World: Dialogue and the Elemental Cycle

Practical Communication through the Elements

Learning to recognize how the elements play out in our daily communication styles can be difficult on the basis of theory alone.  In addition to this more intellectual and reflective approach, what is needed are a set of useful instructions and techniques that can be directly called upon from within the actual evolving situation.  To begin with, it will be useful to identify the common characteristics of the different elemental styles of communication in terms of easily observable cues.  These cues are representative of how each element finds actual expression in real situations, but are not either exhaustive or absolute, and each element can manifest in an essentially infinite variety of forms.  Nevertheless, some general cues are quite common 36 and can be useful aids that help us quickly and easily recognize the element around which an interaction is ‘orbiting’.  Most importantly, the specific individual characteristics below are only guides; what primarily determines the center of communication is the feeling of the mood, tone, and color of the interaction.  In other words, it is quite possible to have the overt elements of the exchange take the outer form best described by the Air element while in fact the communication is Earthy or Watery in nature; this is not usual, however.  It should also be noted that in any situation in which we try to identify the dominant element at work, we should be careful that such a judgment can itself be made under the influence of and fall prey to the individual elemental characteristics, like feedback, particularly with respect to the Earth and Water elements.  The elemental cycle is meant to provide pathways from the lower to the higher elements, and it would be unfortunate if it was instead used as a justification for staying within the space one already occupies.

36: Back Some cues are quite specifically linked to idiosyncrasies of the particular culture in which the communication takes place, some can apply more widely with slight variation, and other cues approach universality amongst humans.

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