The Four Elements of Health

Alchemism holds that the metaphysical world is comprised of four masculine elements of clay, iron, silver and gold. Because we can apply the maxim as above, so below, we can reason that there are patterns within the physical world that reflect this. This essay look at personal health through the prism of the four masculine elements.

The first element of clay relates to eating well. There are two aspects to this.

Fundamental to physical health is simply getting enough food. This fact has long been forgotten in the West on account of our centuries of abundance, but it’s still a biological reality for all creatures. The primary survival challenge for creatures similar to us in a state of Nature is to gather enough food resources to meet their metabolic needs. If this is not possible it will lead to hunger, then weakness, then death.

Another important aspect is that one gets the right food. It’s not simply a matter of filling one’s stomach: one must eat food that is actually healthy. Acting correctly at the level of clay will see a person avoid sugar and fatty cheeseburgers in favour of fruits, vegetables and home-cooked meals. Someone who has mastered life at this level will act as if food is medicine.

Iron relates to physical discipline in the pursuit of health. There are also two aspects to this.

Most obvious is exercise. The body has to be used, otherwise it will fall into decay. Humans were very active during the biological past, and this is reflected in the biological present. Properly applying the element of iron to one’s health means that one will get up and stay fit, whether through walking, running, swimming or biking. thereby one becomes physically hard, like iron.

Iron is the masculine element, and as a consequence it is the element that imposes boundaries. Therefore, part of the realm of iron is preventing unwanted substances from entering one’s body. This is obviously true in the case of poisons, but become trickier when applied to drugs and medicines. Acting correctly in the element of iron will see a person keep harmful things out of their body.

Silver relates to intellectual exercise. This shares elements of both clay and iron, and like clay and iron there are two distinct aspects to silver.

The former relates to what you put into your head. This relates to quality of information. A person acting at the level of silver will take care to not read low-information sources. They will tend to avoid gossip mags and FaceBook. Someone succeeding at this level will read full books from start to finish, and will cross-reference claims made in the media with other sources before believing them.

The latter relates to the discipline necessary to keep using the mind. The brain is like a muscle: you will lose it if you don’t use it. It’s important to keep reading everyday, and thinking about what one has read, as well as challenging what one thinks is known. Part of the realm of silver is intellectual debate, and a healthy individual at the level of silver will be able to do with words what the man of iron does with a sword.

The element of gold relates to spiritual exercise. Again like the previous elements, this is achieved in two ways.

The first is to keep incorrect thoughts out of one’s head. Gold is different to silver here because the realm of gold deals with frequencies, and not information like silver. So this does not relate to keeping bad information out of the head, but rather bad frequencies. Correct application of gold to health involves avoiding people and situations that cause bad energies, as well as patterns of thought that lead to same.

The most important spiritual exercise, of course, is meditation. Only through meditation does an individual arrive at the peace of mind and self-knowledge necessary to make correct decisions. Meditation is the final transmutation of the previous three elements into the gold of enlightenment. This brings what is usually referred to as “mental health”, involving a calm acceptance of things.

These four elements combine to create a complete picture of health. An individual who succeeds in applying these four elements to their health will be physically, mentally and spiritually healthy.

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