By AFEA member James Bartlett
The emotion that corresponds to the Earth element is ‘sympathy.’ The ability to take care of oneself, and of others, is a virtue in anybody and everybody. To show sympathy during necessary times is a wonderful experience where we can attempt to understand and show support to someone. Looking after people or being able to empathise with others is a characteristic that someone with an Earth imbalance may do too much of, or not be able to at all. Likewise, the care of oneself can also be compromised if the Earth element is imbalanced. The emotion can be hard to describe, as everyone to some capacity should be able to show or receive sympathy from others. As with all the emotions that we explore during the traditional diagnosis, we are looking for the inappropriate extreme of that emotion.
Someone who is excessively needy may demonstrate obsessive thoughts or overeating. They may also show attention seeking behaviour. It is as though they are lacking the harvest that they should be able to reap, and so therefore are crying out for it. The mother within is lacking and not supporting them, and so they are looking outwards for understanding, or sympathy. Portrayal of this emotion can be indicative of an Earth imbalance. Someone who is desperately seeking our sympathy, especially when the need doesn’t arise for it, should definitely be considered to have an imbalance in the Earth. This can ultimately lead to over thinking and worry, which are both strong indications of an unhealthy Earth element.
On the other hand, someone who rejects all manner of sympathy can equally have an imbalance in the Earth element. When a situation arises where sympathy would be the normal reaction from someone, they can remove themselves from the situation or even be vocal saying, ‘I don’t want your sympathy.’ All the signs could point towards the person wanting some kind of understanding, however when delivered it can feel like they’ve told you where to go! Also, someone who is unable to give appropriate sympathy as a reaction to someone else’s situation, may also have an imbalance within Earth. A total inability to be touched by someone else’s distress is a very good indication of a sick Earth element.
Taking care of oneself is also a virtue that anyone should be able to embrace. Self-care is just as important as taking care of others. Someone who is unable to look after themselves, or on the other hand becomes obsessive about every detail could have an Earth imbalance. Here we see the ‘mother image’ of someone looking after themselves, or not doing so.
This over obsessiveness can also run over into the care and attention we show towards others. The instinct to ‘mother’ someone when it is required it is a wonderful thing. When it is inappropriate however, it can push people away and lead them to believe we are ‘needy’ or obsessed. These all point towards an unhealthy Earth element not being able to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate mothering. Some people seek the sympathy and understanding of others so much that it ultimately leads to disappointment and bitterness. When someone’s point of view isn’t understood or taken into consideration, it can be as equally damaging. They are unable to manifest the security and stability that should be present in a balanced Earth element. So, they seek for the validation, approval and sympathy in others. The foundations on which we build our lives begin to weaken, or totally disappear, and so we suffer. And as the Earth suffers, so do the other officials. The spirit is uprooted, unbalanced and unprotected and therefore not grounded. This is common to see in someone that has an unbalanced Earth element. Their lives may not have any grounding or stability. Or we can see that someone may be too secure to the point that they don’t challenge themselves. They are stuck in one place, unable to realise their potential.