By Ian Brown

There is something very primal about using the elements to cleanse our energetic bodies. Given we are made from the same matter as Mother Earth, utilising the four physical elements is a way of connecting us back to our roots. And one does not have to be in the middle of a forest to utilise the power of the elements… for someone like myself who lives in a city, utilising the four elements for cleansing the energetic body helps maintain a connection with and grounding to Gaia.

Cleansing of the energetic body should be a daily ritual. Our interaction with others and with locations and objects holding energetic fields means that the purity and balance of our energetic bodies are constantly compromised, so a regular practice of cleansing is needed for optimum spiritual, mental and physical health.

Etheric beings of the elements

Each element has etheric beings – or elementals – that are associated with it. In different cultures and traditions these elements have different names, but some of the more common are the Slyphs of Air, and the Salamanders of Fire, the Undines of Water, and the Gnomes of Earth. When working with a particular element, calling on the relevant elementals further assists in the cleansing. Be sure to offer your thanks to the elementals at the end of the ceremony.

Note with the methods below, they can also be used to cleanse objects. I use them to periodically cleanse crystals; but they can also be used for any possessions that you may feel are in need of cleansing. Also, anything you acquire, new or old, should always be cleansed of any energy that may be present from someone else who may have handled, made or owned the object. This is especially relevant for anything close to your person such as clothing and jewellery.

The Elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air

Earth: Base or Root Chakra

  • Stand barefoot on the ground. Imagine there are roots emanating from the soles of your feet going deep down into the earth. Ask the earth to take any negative energies from your being deep down into the earth.
  • Plant life has roots into the earth. Hug a tree, or sit against a tree and allow the tree to be your conduit to take the negative energies from your being into the earth.

Water: Sacral Chakra

  • Immerse yourself in water, preferably flowing water as the flow takes away the unwanted energies from your energetic field.
  • Swim in a stream or an ocean.
  • While having a shower, feel the water washing your energy field clean.
  • Stand in the rain (preferably barefoot on the ground).

Fire: Solar Plexus or Naval Chakra

    • Allow your body to be exposed to an appropriate amount of sunlight.
    • Light a fire and allow the warmth to radiate to your body.
    • Use the light and the flame from a candle (at an appropriate distance) for meditation – allow yourself to ‘enter’ the flame and be purified, as alchemists have done for generations.


    : all elements should be respected, but always be careful with fire, and never leave a fire unattended.

Air: Heart Chakra

  • On a windy day, allow the air element to blow away any negative energies from your energetic field.
  • Using focused breathing techniques (I often practice the alternate nostril breathing using a guided meditation) bring your full focus to the self and the element of air.
  • Work with feathers to utilise the air element and use the direction of the feather to move the air over yourself or an object.

The Bíja of each element

Each of the four elements also has a single syllable mantra (or bíja) that resonates to it. Using this sound creates a strong resonance with the element, and will assist in cleansing. Note that many people misunderstand these sounds as relating to the four lower chakras of the seven chakra system in the body; however this is not entirely correct. These sounds resonate to each of the elements that are associated to each of the four lower chakras.

The sound for the Earth element is LAM, which is generally associated with the base chakra.

The sound for the Water element is VAM, which is generally associated with the sacral chakra.

The sound for the Fire element is RAM, which is generally associated with the solar plexus chakra.

The sound for the Air element is YAM, which is generally associated with the heart chakra.

These sounds can be used by themselves to work with a particular element, or they can be used with the methods listed above. As you repeatedly chant the bíja, do not rush the sound. Listen to it and feel it penetrate every cell of your body. When used with objects, say the bíja over the object and allow the sound and your breath (carrying the energy of the bíja) to cleanse the object.

(Editor’s note: Of the remaining chakras, the Throat Chakra is associated with the element of aether/Spirit, the Pineal/Third Eye Chakra with light and dark, and the Crown Chakra with time and space.)


One of the most effective methods that I like to use is smudging, the ancient practice of burning herbs and plant resins for medicinal or spiritual purposes. A powerful energetic cleanse, the smudging ceremony itself includes all of the four elements: the plant material (earth element) in an abalone shell (water element) is being burned (fire element), creating smoke (air).

Be sure to return the ashes to the earth after the smudging.

It is all about intent

We are inherently attuned to the natural elements. When we focus our intent on them, and their symbolism, we can harness their energy and boost the effect of our energy cleansing and meditation.

May your energy be clear and your path be one of ease and grace.