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NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Mudra as a Magical Technique: Part 2 - Elemental Mudra
Article ID: 14602
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Ryan Hatcher
Posted: June 19th. 2011
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Recently the Witches' Voice was kind enough to publish an essay of mine on mudra as a magical technique. In it, I mentioned the possibility of an inspired individual creating mudra for the western mystical tradition, but I didn't think I'd be one of those people.
Last night, at about half past one in the morning, I decided it would be a good idea to meditate and chant a few mantras (despite a chamomile tea, I was finding it incredibly difficult to sleep) . So, I proceeded to do some breathing exercises, recite some Reiki mantras, Buddhist mantras and some pagan mantras. As part of the pagan mantras, I was just repeating the elements “earth, air, fire, water”. For some reason, this inspired me to play around with the “earth my body” chant. Previously I'd seen a description of physical gestures to go along with the chant, described as touching the earth, making a 'huls motion' at the abdomen, holding the hands out in front of you and clapping them above your head.
You guys reading this are probably thinking the same thing as me at the time; “what the hell is a 'huls' motion?” and after a bit of Internet searching I was none the wiser. Now the chanting, etc. last night awoke this memory in me, and so for the 'huls' motion, which I decided to adapt, I made a gesture with my hands over my abdomen that roughly resembled a point down triangle. And suddenly it struck me: the inverse triangle was a symbol for the element of water! From that flash of inspiration poured the potential for gestures to create the symbols for the other elements, and it is these I wish to share with you today in this essay:
To form the basic triangular shape of each mudra, place the tips of your fingers together to make a tent shape, almost like Mr. Burns in 'The Simpsons'. From there, lower your thumbs and let the tips touch. This should then make an upward pointing triangle. Once you have this mastered, you can then apply the different positions for each mudra and finger gestures to create the elemental glyphs.
Earth – for grounding, centering and connecting with the earth energies, the Earth Goddess and your own body.
Invert your triangle shape so the point is facing downward. If you are standing, have this in line with your base chakra; if sitting on the floor, let your fingertips touch the floor. Bend your little/pinky fingers so that their fingertips touch and create a horizontal line across the triangle. Now if you were to look in a mirror this should look like an inverted triangle with a horizontal bar across it: the glyph for the element of earth!
Water – for emotional balance, unlocking the unconscious, understanding hidden mysteries, connecting with the water energies, the Moon Goddess and our inner selves.
Invert your triangle as before and hold it either against your body or away from your body in line with your lower abdomen or sacral chakra (typically associated with the element of water so it seemed apt) . If it is more comfortable for you to have your palms flat against your body, then feel free to, so long as your index fingers and thumbs are touching at the tips and the inverted triangle shape is formed then the symbolism is the same. And, viewed in a mirror, this should create the glyph for the element of water.
Air – for mental clarity, inspiration, improved memory and logic, improving communication on all levels, the energies of air, the Sky God and our minds and egos.
Keep your triangle with the point uppermost, bend your little/pinky fingers as for the earth glyph and hold this gesture either in front of the throat (the throat chakra is usually associated with communication and so the element of air) or in front of the forehead (being the head and mind, also associated with the element of air) . Again, viewed in a mirror, or even from your perspective, this should form the glyph for the element of air.
Fire – for passion, enthusiasm, drive and energy, divine and spiritual inspiration, awakening our spiritual side, connecting with the divine, the energies of fire, the Sun God and our inner divine spark.
Again, keep your triangle upright. Hold this position either on top of your head, roughly in the position of the crown chakra (being associated with spirit, and the fire element often being associated with our inner spark of spirit) or above your head and if you wish so you are able to see it. If it is more comfortable to have only your index fingers and thumbs touching, as with the water mudra, then go for it, the symbolism is the same.
A side note for the fire mudra, and idea to play with: There exists a mudra where the index fingertips and thumbs touch, forming the triangle and the rest of the fingers are extended and fanned out slightly. This is known as the ‘sun mudra’ and could also be associated with the element of fire. And surprisingly, from the martial arts world, in Taekwon-do, there is a hand gesture where a triangle is formed from the index fingers and thumbs (though the right fingertips are covering the left finger and thumb nails) and the other fingers are extended but held close to each other (i.e. Not fanned) . This is held just above eye line and at half and arms length away from the body. As you do this, you look through the triangle. This is called 'heaven hand' (hanul son in Korean) and is said to represent the mind, body and spirit.
The use of these mudras can be varied, depending on your imagination. They could be used in the same way as traditional mudras, by holding the gesture for a few minutes while reciting an associated mantra (the element associated with the gesture in this case, or the appropriate line from the “earth my body” chant perhaps?) and focusing on the energy and desired end associated with each gesture. They can be used with power raising chants such as “earth my body” where the elements are mentioned. They can be used when forming sacred space to assist in calling the elements, for connecting with the elemental energies etc ad infinitum. The list can go on and on and on.
Personally, I'm quite pleased with my minor achievement, fuelled by a spark of inspiration which came out of a random desire to meditate and have a little bit of spirituality before bed. But, it just goes to show that sometimes the most random occurrences in life can present the greatest lessons to us.
I hope you give these mudra a go. They probably aren't unique, but I've not seen them before and so feel a level of accomplishment for having been inspired to form them. If they already exist without my awareness, it means I must have some spiritual connection on some level!
Earth my body chant - I have no idea where this chant comes from, but I do not own it, and a quick search on google is sure to reveal a multitude of resources which feature the chant
Taekwon-do - Chang-hon style, featuring in black belt patters from 1st dan onwards, founded by General Choi, Hong Hi
Location: Swaffham, England
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