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The Four Elements

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We are all made up of the elements that surround us. Earth – Air – Fire – Water, are a part of our very genetics. The Huichol say that we are a mirror of the universe; that everything around us, also exists within. Brant discusses this indigenous perspective of our “outer” environment and ways in which we can unify ourselves with the four elements.

This interview also explores various spiritual representations of the elements and how they are interconnected with our physical bodies.

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Brant Secunda

Brant Secunda

Shaman & Healer

Brant Secunda is a shaman, healer, and ceremonial leader in the Huichol Indian tradition of Mexico. He completed a 12-year apprenticeship with Don José Matsuwa, the renowned shaman who passed away in 1990 at the age of 110. Brant Secunda is the adopted grandson of Don José and was chosen by Don José to take his place to help carry on Huichol Shamanism. He is the co-founder of the American Herbalist Guild, and the founder of the Huichol Foundation. Since 1979 Brant Secunda has been the Director of the Dance of the Deer Foundation Center for Shamanic Studies and leads seminars and pilgrimages worldwide. His work has been documented on television, radio, and in articles and books throughout the USA, Europe and Japan. He is the co-author of the award-winning book Fit Soul Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You.


  • Mark Allen

    Mark Allen


Mark Allen Are there certain elemental energies that Huichol Shamanism focuses on?
Brant Secunda Yes, I'm really glad that you asked that question. We have the earth, the air, the fire, and the water, the four elements. Let's start with the fire. The fire is known as grandfather fire. He's seen as the first shaman, the first healer. He's a hero for the Huichols. He walked all over the earth leading the ancient ones, and he would sing sacred songs. As he sang songs, the world would transform, the world would shift. Certain ancient ancestors would change when they heard the sounds of the songs TATE-WARI, grandfather fire. They would change shape into a mountain or a lake just by the sounds of the sacred songs. The power of the fire is wisdom and knowledge and memory. We say the fire is part of our genetic memory of who we are now, who we will always be, and who we have always been. We are the light, and we have the light inside of our heart.

The second element I'd like to talk about is the air, the breath of life. That is the power. The symbol, you might say, for the air is the eagle, mother eagle girl. TATE-WARIKA-UMARI, grandmother eagle is the symbol for the breath of life. For that as I used to say, "Try to remember with every breath that you take, the eagle giving you the breath of life, giving you life itself." That's the second. We're all breathitarians aren't we? No matter what religion we are, no matter where we live, no matter what culture we come from, each and every one of us, breathitarians. That's important to remember, the air, is an important element.

The next element I'd like to talk about is the water. Water, we say, is called, HA. The water has the power of beauty, and it's just like when you're at home, if you don't water your plants, if you have plants, they don't look so beautiful. We are the same way, we need to be watered. We are like a garden, and we are part water, inside of us is water. We're about 65% water, every single one of us here. Remember John Kennedy, President Kennedy used to speak about that marvelous reality during many of his speeches, that we are a mirror of our environment. Water is another element, and it has the power of beauty.

Then, the last element is the earth, and we have the earth inside of us with different minerals that live inside of us. The spiritual power of the earth is love. From a physiological perspective, the different minerals live inside of us like copper, zinc, et cetera, potassium. That's important to remember. All of these elements mix in the heart, which we say is the fifth element, the fifth direction.
Mark Allen These are all elements that every person on the planet has?
Brant Secunda Definitely, we all have air inside of us because we all breath, we all have earth inside of us because we have the different minerals, potassium, zinc, et cetera. We all have fire inside of us as light. We are all light. We are all filled with the light, and we all have water, right? We're mostly water, every single one of us. That's important to remember.
Mark Allen Can we focus on those energies to help us feel better and more whole or healthier?
Brant Secunda Yeah, that's how we do it. We focus on the fact that we all have these different energies inside of us. We all have air inside of us, we all have water inside of us, we all have the earth inside of us, we all have the light inside of us. It's a matter of remembering that everyday of your life, that you are these energies. When you remember that, you're on the way to good health and freedom.
Mark Allen I'm going to remember that everyday, thank you.
Brant Secunda Good. You're welcome.