Thursday, 14 February 2013

Elemental Philosophy

Explores the ancient and perennial notion of the four elements as environmental ideas. Bache lard called them “the hormones of the imagination.” Hegel observed that, “through the four elements we have the elevation of sensuous ideas into thought.” Earth, air, fire, and water are explored as both philosophical ideas and environmental issues associated with their classical and perennial conceptions. 

David Macauley embarks upon a wide-ranging discussion of their initial appearance in ancient Greek thought as mythic forces or scientific principles to their recent reemergence within contemporary continental philosophy as a means for understanding landscape and language, poetry and place, the body and the body politic. In so doing, he shows the importance of elemental thinking for comprehending and responding to ecological problems. 

In tracing changing views of the four elements through the history of ideas, Macauley generates a new vocabulary for and a fresh vision of the environment while engaging the elemental world directly with reflections on their various manifestations.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


An Elemental is a spirit embodying one of the five elements of antiquity: Earth (solid), Water (liquid), Wind (gas), Fire (heat), Aether (quintessence). Elementals are referred to by various names. In the English European tradition these include Fairies, Elves, Devas, Brownies, Leprechauns, Gnomes, Sprites, Pixies, Banshees, Goblins, Dryads, Mermaids, Trolls, Dragons, Griffins, and numerous others. These nature spirits are governed by the Archangels. Like Angels, Elementals have a recognisable appearance consistently depicted by the archetypal language of art and literature. For example, it is easy to determine if a drawing is an Angel or a winged elemental. Angels have feathered bird-like wings and the winged Elementals have wings that look like a butterfly.

Elemental spirits possess supernatural powers and are usually invisible to humans, living among the trees, rivers, plants, bogs, mountains, and minerals. They attach themselves to practically every natural thing. Earthly Elementals are the metaphysical (beyond the physics) cause of earthquakes, floods, gales, thunderstorms, and wild-fires. In Shakespeare's The Tempest, Prospero, marooned and exiled, frees an Elemental named Ariel from a tree. Then, in order to be free from Prospero, Ariel agrees to perform a series of supernatural acts including a storm that allow Prospero to right the injustice of his exile and to forgive those responsible. More importantly, Earthly Elementals are responsible for creating, sustaining, and renewing life on Earth.

Animism, which is oldest known human spiritual practice, is the belief Elementals inhabit all things. The belief in Elementals predates all the major religions. This is evident in anthropological records of indigenous beliefs and practices throughout the world, including Australian Aboriginies who have the oldest continuous culture.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


The Desert Cardinal is a medium-sized song bird where the length for both sexes is approximately 8.3 in (21 cm), while the average weight is 0.8–1.5 oz (24–43 g).

The most obvious differences between the male Desert Cardinal and the Northern Cardinal are the former's largely coloring. The Desert Cardinal is predominantly brownish-gray with a red breast, a red mask, and a yellow parrot-like bill that is stout and rounded.

The females of the two species resemble each other much more closely, but the shapes of their bills are diagnostic. The songs of the two species are identical, though the Pyrrhuloxia's is not quite as loud. This cardinal retains the distinctive long pointed red crest present in all species.