The elements we hold – an art collection

The elements we hold – an art collection

May 25, 2020 | SCOTLAND

We stood looking at each other. As vulnerable and bare as the day we were born, with a silent question between us. As the campfire roared in the background, our bare feet nestled in the soil and the water on our skin was slowly evaporating after a cool dip in the river. The pounding of the drums added a raw tension to the moment. But still, that question stood between us. Lit only by fire and moonlight; our eyes met, he took my hand and we were connected.


Dave and I have no photos of that night, only the memories we hold onto fiercely.

The elemental forces of nature played an intrinsic part of our love story – to have them present in that moment in such a visceral way is hugely special and symbolic for us. Seeing them in other love stories has been a secret obsession and source of inspiration ever since. I believe it not only connects us to each other but to the natural world around us.

Earth – the keeper

With stability and steadfastness, Earth binds and holds us all together.

The oathing stone is an ancient celtic tradition where it’s believed that holding stone whilst you make vows will imbue those vows into the stone, binding the vows made. It’s also believed that to hold those vows within the stone forever you must throw the stone into water.

Oathing stone - hands holding

Air – the dancer

As well as filling our lungs with life, Air is full of playful movement and exploration.

During a handfasting ceremony a cord is bound around lovers’ hands so that there is no air between them. They are joined as one in that moment so that they may enjoy life’s experiences – following adventures on the wind, hand in hand.

Couples handfasting in Glencoe, Scotland - handfasting cord for scottish elopements in the Highlands

Fire – the forger

Fire is a symbol of passion and warmth – it forges things anew.

In Finland, similar to Midsummer night, New Year’s Eve has traditionally been a time for fortune telling and predicting of the future. There is a tradition of melting miniature tin horseshoes over the fire to tell their fortune for the upcoming year. If the resulting tin breaks when cooling in water then it’s a sign of bad luck. Dave and I shared this tradition just hours before he proposed to me in front of a different fire further into the Lapland forest. I’d say that was pretty lucky <3

Water – the shaper

Water teaches us to flex and bend in the face of obstacles – finding a way around them.

Used symbolically around the world for lots of different rituals – it’s often referred to as the elixir of life. It cleanses and nourishes us. But if we think of water in the wider sense, it’s a creative element. It finds ways around obstacles and it slowly shapes the landscape to make way.

Aether – the space between

Lesser known fifth element – aether is the energy of life between everything and everyone.

I like to imagine that we sense aether most in those moments of electricity between people. It’s almost palpable but you’re not quite sure how to describe it. It’s also linked to celestial elements – like the moon and the stars – where have a feeling of vastness and wholeness at the same time. I like to believe love shares those feelings.

Fine art photo in the Scottish Highlands Buachaille Etive Mòr of couples hands during an elopement

Big thank you to Nadia Meli for the encouragement to put together this mini art series!


If you’re interested to explore this further for yourself through a photographic experience in Scotland then drop me a message.

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