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Four Elements: Reflections on Nature

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  131 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
From the beloved author of the bestselling To Bless the Space Between Us and Anam Cara comes a new work that shares his insights on nature and the ancient wisdom of this earth.

John O'Donohue won hundreds of thousands of admirers with his now classic work on Celtic spirituality Anam Cara. Unfortunately he died suddenly at age fifty-two just as his book of blessings, To Bles
ebook, 192 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Harmony (first published October 1st 2010)
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Jul 02, 2017 Pradnya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Its appeal is in the poetic language and spiritual thoughts.
Anne Hamilton
I think I was expecting a deep intimate exploration of the themes, instead of a wide, relatively shallow one. There were many ideas but they generally skated the surface before hurrying on, stream-of-consciousness, to a related topic.

Still, it was a gentle, easy read. I never did get my curiosity assuaged as to the repeated, unexplained description of Jesus as a stonemason, despite the entire section on Stone.

Some thoughts/information 'worth keeping':

Prayer has to do with breathing. ... Prayer a
Dec 02, 2013 Cornerofmadness rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
This book made me think two things: it’s a shame the author died relatively young and I should go look for his other works. It’s hard to put into words what this book really is. He was a poet and a philosopher so that should help a little in classifying it. These were separate essays he wrote in the 90’s and posthumously collecting into a book, each dealing with an element, earth, wind, fire water and viewing the world, the landscape and spirituality (somewhat fluid in terms of a religion, a hol ...more
Beth Orchard
Jun 30, 2015 Beth Orchard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Currently reading this book by one of my favorite authors. I am finding this book much different than his other works. It's as if he's throwing out postulations and theories and ideas but is not ready to dig deeper into their themes. Nonetheless I find myself stopping often to read over again what I just read and also to consider what he is saying on my own deeper plane of thought. I don't always need someone to pull apart everything for me to feel connected to their writing. I wish I had the op ...more
Always a challenge to contemplative thinking, Irish poet and philosopher, John O'Donohue, brings spiritual understanding using concepts of air, water, fire, stone.. exploring aspects of air as applicably descriptive of Ruach Ha'kodesh - Holy Spirit ~ the breath of God.

O'Donohue's quote from a 13th century portion of a Persian prayer poem continues its resonance in me ~ "Be a full bucket pulled up the dark way
Of a well, then lifted out into light."

While not in agreement with every theological
Mar 23, 2012 Anita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The author writes in a manner that animates these elements of nature: air, water, fire and stone. One can almost hear the Irish lilt in these written words, and be magically transported into the great outdoors. It could be a fast read if you want to, but I just had to stop every so often and immerse myself in the embrace and reflections of nature. With so many subtle nuances to tune into, it is a most beautiful piece of work!
Jul 18, 2013 Chrissie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More brilliant writing by John O'Donohue. He has turned the four elements of nature into beautiful poetic beings, giving us a completely new perspective on them. He really made me look at and contemplate t hem in a different way. The mysticism and poetry in his words is just beautiful. I highly recommend it.
Apr 18, 2013 Rae rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not going to review the other John O'Donohue books. He is a Celtic poet and philosopher. I have heard him interviewed by Krista Tippitt on NPR and really love what he has to say; however, he seems to be one of those 'single message' people and if you read one book, you kinda have read them all.
Dec 16, 2011 Carol rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won through this book through the Firstreads program. Thank you Goodreads! I find this is not a book to read from start to finish in one afternoon but rather one to keep on my nightstand to browse through a little bit from time-to-time.
Dec 23, 2011 Moose rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philosophy readers
Recommended to Moose by: Goodreads Giveaway
Philosophical, spiritual, and poetic--this entire book is a calm and peaceful reflection on how nature and the soul fit together. It was a lovely read but I suggest not reading it all together at once. It can become repetitive and lose some of it's beauty that way.
BlackbirdFrenzy Meagher
I really liked this book. It's a beautiful read full of folklore and insightful spirit but I struggled with the fact that he treated air and ether (spirit) as the same elements, addressing four instead of five.
Apr 13, 2014 Heather rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love John O'Donohue and was so sad to hear of his passing, but I just couldn't get through this book. I forced myself through halfway on reputation and had to stop. Not so much a disappointment as a kind of sadness about it. Lovely, gentle writing as always, just nothing to dig my teeth into.
Jul 24, 2011 Annie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jillian Tuten
Oct 20, 2011 Jillian Tuten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Wonderfully written reflection of the elements and nature. The poems were beautiful.

Thank you Goodreads First Reads for the book!
Kim rated it it was amazing
Mar 03, 2012
Paul Fadoju
Paul Fadoju rated it really liked it
Nov 16, 2010
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Brian Alger rated it it was amazing
Aug 26, 2014
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Jul 01, 2017
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May 06, 2015
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Mar 26, 2013
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Dec 26, 2013
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Susan Holden rated it it was amazing
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John O'Donohue, Ph.D., was born in County Clare in 1956. He spoke Irish as his native language and lived in a remote cottage in the west of Ireland until his untimely death in January 2008. A highly respected poet and philosopher, he lectured throughout Europe and America and wrote a number of popular books, including Anam Cara and To Bless the Space Between Us.
More about John O'Donohue...

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“Reflection comes between us and every other person and object in the world. An object or a person can be reflected in so many different ways. Yet the heart of an object or the essence of the heart can never be reflected. All faith and creativity is the hunger to cross over this frontier, it is the desire for pure and total encounter and belonging. Love is an affair between a reflection and its object.” 11 likes
“Silence is the voice of the mystery. Silence let us dream again.” 7 likes
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