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21 November 2012 @ 04:51 pm
YaaD Work: Class 7: Ritual Framing  
This is one of the reflection papers I wrote as part of my Year and a Day (YaaD) of study with Fieldhaven Coven.

The question is drawn from the Greenhaven Tradition; the YaaD course is not published on the Greenhaven Tradition website, but is made available on a person-to-person basis. Material that is not so closely held is available at http://greenhaventradition.weebly.com/

Class 7, Paper 1 (after reading, before class discussion): If you are not already familiar with the Elements/Directions, pick any two systems and compare/contrast them, in a one-page paper. If you don’t write entirely from scratch, you need to cite your resources for everything you borrow from another source.

Note: This version of the paper was failed as incomplete. I'll post the revised, passing version next.

Assignment submitted January 5, 2012

Writing Assignment: YaaD Class 7 – Ritual Framing

The system with which I am most familiar is the European (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water), and I will compare it to the classical Chinese (Water, Fire, Wood, Metal, and Earth).

Both systems assign each element to a cardinal point, as follows:

  European (GH) Chinese (WX)
North Earth Water
East Air Wood
South Fire Fire
West Water Metal
Center n/a (or,
in alchemy, Aether)

Both systems assign correspondences to each element, such as (examples only; not comprehensive):
  • In the European system, Earth is associated with Samhain, the body, the pentacle, cedar, Cerridwen, and Cernunnos (Galenorn); with the color green and with gnomes (Ravenheart). In the Chinese system, Earth is associated with late summer, the color yellow, the spleen, and the stomach (WX).
  • Air is associated with the mind, spring, the athame or sword, sylphs, birds, Athena, and Mercury (Galenorn); with the rising sun and the color yellow (Ravenheart).
  • In the European system, Fire is associated with creativity, noon, the color red, the phoenix, Brighid, and Hestia (Galenorn); and with vitality and salamanders (Ravenheart). In the Chinese system, Fire is associated with summer, the color red, the heart, and the small intestine (WX).
  • In the European system, Water is associated with Lughnasadh, emotions, the unconscious, shades of blue, fish, Aphrodite, and Poseidon (Galenorn); and with intuition and undines (Ravenheart). In the Chinese system, Water is associated with winter, the color black, the kidneys, and the bladder (WX).
  • Wood is associated with spring, the color green, the liver, and the gallbladder (WX).
  • Metal is associated with autumn, the color white, the lungs, and the colon (WX).

Finally, the Chinese system views the elements as forming a cycle – or, more accurately, four related cycles: Generating, Controlling, Overacting, and Insulting. Just as in the game of Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock, no one element is ascendant; each has strengths and weaknesses, causes and effects.
  • In the Generating cycle, each element is generated by another element and creates another element, so "Wood generates Fire, Fire generates Earth, Earth generates Metal, Metal generates Water and Water generates Wood." (WX)
  • In the Controlling cycle, each element controls one and is controlled by one, so " Fire controls Metal, Earth controls Water, Metal controls Wood, Water controls Fire, Wood controls Earth" (WX)
  • The Insulting cycle is the inverse of the Controlling cycle; this indicates that the balance is not, in fact, balanced, and each element insults the one that would normally control it. (WX)
  • Finally, the Overacting cycle occurs when the Generating cycle is out of balance, and one element becomes "excessively" controlling of another. (WX)

The two systems have some commonalities (both recognize Earth, Fire, and Water as elements, and both have Fire assigned to the south), but are sufficiently different that familiarity with one is not going to carry over to the other. Barring a specific reason to use the Chinese system, such as a ritual directed to a Chinese deity, I'd be strongly inclined to stick with the European system.

"The Five Elements (Wu Xing)." Retrieved 5 January 5, 2012 from http://www.acupuncture.com.au/education/theory/thefiveelements.html. In-text reference: (WX)

"Samhain." The Greenhaven Tradition. Retrieved 5 January 2012 from http://greenhaventradition.weebly.com/samhain.html. In-text reference: (GH)

Galenorn, Ysamine. Totem Magic: Dance of the Shapeshifter. Retrieved 3 January 3, 2012 from http://books.google.com/books?id=sVDiuWuWhI0C&pg=PT147&lpg=PT147#v=onepage&q&f=false. In-text reference: (Galenorn)

Ravenheart, Cainwyne. "Rituals & Ceremonies Part II - Casting Circle & Calling Quarters." PaganSpace.net. Retrieved 3 January 2012 from http://www.paganspace.net/profiles/blogs/rituals-amp-ceremonies-part-ii. In-text reference: (Ravenheart)