Elements Embodied in Our Great Cities

My email this morning contained a link to Branches Up, Roots Down. I read the first post to see if Deborah Oak’s words resonated with me and I found this gem:

It was on that trip [to New Orleans] that I understood how the elements are embodied in our great cities. The four directions and their elemental correspondences play out in our nation’s landscape and our cities serve as great Guardians of the Directions. New York in the east has the power of intellect, with Air holding reign there. Chicago, that mighty meatpacking city in the north, holds the power of Earth. On the west coast, Water rules the city of dreamers that is San Francisco. And in the south, in New Orleans, sex and death are always dancing a hot tango, paying tribute to Fire’s power.

Looking at her descriptions of New York and San Francisco, east and west, intellect and dreamers respectively, and Chicago and New Orleans, north and south, earth and fire, it never occurred to me to see the great cities in the US as embodiments of the Elements.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have never been to Chicago and New Orleans. I’ve been to NYC a number of times and San Francisco once for a few hours (I visited friends in Mountainview), thus I cannot debate her descriptions of Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco, but I don’t agree with her description of NYC.

Being for the Boston area I’m biased so take what I say with a grain of salt, but it’s the eastern city I believe is the source of intellect, not NYC. I believe this not only because of the large number of educational and medical institutions in Beantown, but because of its age, it’s energy, and quite honestly, it’s snottiness. You see, to me NYC is a young, party city. It’s a city built on materialism, money, and greed, which are not attributes of Air. Certainly it’s a portal to the US, being where Ellis Island is, but Boston also absorbed millions of immigrants before Ellis Island opened in 1892.

Boston is NYC’s older, wiser sister, the one more with more grace, education, refinement, and acceptance. There seems to be more class mobility in Boston than in NYC, although such an idea is certainly open to debate.

Certainly I will look into this more, my pooch is begging to go out for his morning walk. Sorry to cut short!

This entry was posted in Deep Thoughts, Faith, Traveling Woman. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Elements Embodied in Our Great Cities

  1. Deborah Oak says:

    Oh, this is wonderful! Maybe we could look at all the cities in the driections and how they hold the elements. Los Angeles is also a city of dreams out here in the west – it is the city where dreams/stories are written and spun out in movies and television shows…where young actors go in hopes of being fished out of the great pond and “discovered”. Even Portland and Seattle can be argued to be embodiments of the element of water..but I would say the farther you go up, more earth gets in the mix – and Los Angeles too is water with some south in it.

    Anyways, Boston and New York both seem more air than any other element. LOVE your blog!!!

  2. Howling Hill says:

    I took my dog out for a walk, as I stated in the post, and took my tape recorder with me so I wouldn’t lose my train of thought. I just haven’t transcribed it yet.

    Thanks for stopping by and I hope you continue to. And thank you for the wonderful compliment.

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