As with air (the power to know), fire (the power to will), and water (the power to dare), Roderick gives earth the fourth part of the witches’ pyramid–the power to be silent–as the element’s active power. In other words, it is “earth’s outwardly expressed, dynamic energy.” The thing, though, is that Western culture does not equate silence with dynamism. For us, silence is a receptive quality: be silent and listen. The listening is the action that the passive silence permits.
Silence is a bit of a paradox, for it is a still, restful energy. But, as Roderick points out, “the stillness of silence also represents the void” and that emptiness of all things is also the potential of all things. Therefore, the receptive energy of silence is also the “active energy of readiness and of unlimited potential”.
That potential gives the element of earth rule over things that have potential: material gain, wealth, prosperity, riches, work, service, strength, fortitude, honesty, practicality, pleasure, comfort, music, and art. Roderick also notes that the earthy people strong in silence enjoy life’s simple pleasures of “good food, good sex, and a nice place to live”. These are the people who are grounded and practical in their approach to complex issues, and Roderick notes that they often find success in the fields of “real estate, banking, investing, engineering, farming, mineralogy, archaeology, building, architecture, dentistry, or medicine.”
When silence is out of balance, though, it can cause people to appear “rigid, stubborn, pessimistic, conventional, cruel, worrisome, inactive, possessive, stupid, slothful, greedy, or covetous.” In fact, this skew in balance puts me in mind of the figure on the four of pentacles: a miserable little old miser clutching desperately to what he’s got in his empty little box and ignoring the full, happy world outside of his walls. It’s a deceptive place to be in: the stubborn greed makes you feel as though you have plenty, but it blinds you to the potential around you. It’s really very sad.
If this is the unfortunate direction that earth’s active power of silence seems to be taking you, Roderick recommends the following exercise to help reign in the rampant power of silence.
Practice: Rebalancing Silence
When you notice that you are out of balance in the active energy of earth, take time to practice this freeing exercise. Go to a place in nature where you can touch the bare earth. (if this is impossible, fill a bowl with salt, which is the magical representative of earth.) Place your hands lightly on the surface of the earth (or salt). As you do this, exhale onto the earth. Close your eyes and imagine that a green field of energy leaves your body through your hands and out through your breath. Now imagine that it enters the earth. Continue with this process until the green energy field feels rebalanced and you feel whole and serene.