I think many of us are curious (or anxious) about the situation with Spirit of Harmony. The drop rate on the Beta realms is really poor and yet many recipes require them. In the latest patch, a new piece was added to the puzzle. It is now possible to collect a Mote of Harmony and turn 10 of these into a Spirit of Harmony. This would seem to bring us back to the model of the primals and eternals. We've been seeing some anecdotal evidence on motes, so I took it upon myself to do some testing and learn more about how to get them.
I decided to pursue all four methods of collection and track the drop rate for each. The four methods were killing mobs (loot drops), skinning, herb picking and mining. I started out with mobs since Kaliope would be able to multi-task and skin the mobs. For a location I chose Valley of the Four Winds - a level 86 zone. The mobs here range from 85 to 87. First I killed non-aggressive turtles that had relatively low hitpoints and dropped turtle meat used in Cooking. I killed about 50 of those and then switched to crabs near the southern coast. After taking down another 50 crabs I had skinned 100 mobs and looted 100 mobs. The end result is that I received 0 motes of harmony from Skinning and 9 motes of harmony from looting. It seemed that I was getting a mote of harmony about every 10 kills or so.
Next I tackled the herbs and ore, just to see if I'd have better luck. On my herbalist I collected herbs from 50 nodes of Green Tea Leaf in Valley of the Four Winds. With my miner I collected Ghost Iron Ore from 50 nodes, also in VotFW. I did not get any motes of harmony from either farming session. I'm feeling pretty confident that gathering is not a viable collection method for motes of harmony. At least for now, killing mobs appears to be the only way to find motes or the rare Spirit of Harmony.
The TLDR version:
Mob Kills = 100 | 9 Mote of Harmony
Skinning = 100 | 0 Mote of Harmony
Herb Nodes = 50 | 0 Mote of Harmony
Ore Nodes = 50 | 0 Mote of Harmony
Some things to note about the new elemental components. Unlike previous expansions, there are not types of motes/spirits such as shadow, fire, etc. There is just one type of mote and one type of spirit, which should make collection less complicated. Secondly, motes and the spirits are both BoP. This means you'll have to farm them on the toon who needs them. Spirit of Harmony is used in most of the current professions. So far only Enchanting appears to be immune. If you plan to craft rare and epic items, you'll likely have to play that character to collect motes. Not all rare/epic recipes require Spirit of Harmony but the majority do. I think we should assume this is Blizzard's way of prodding the crafter who never leaves town.