The 5 elements (water, earth, fire, wind, spirit/akasha) are, in many ways, the core of ritualism. Many rituals require that you call the quarters for power and protection. Each tower (East, South, West, and North) is ruled by the lords and ladies, different spirits, different seasons, and different elements. The pentagram itself is representative of not only the human body but the 5 elements. Most rituals require some physical use of an element. Because of the importance of these 5 forces, it's valuable to know their properties.
When you call to the watchtowers, this is how they correspond:
The East is air.
The South is fire.
The West is water.
The North is earth.
The Center is akasha
These elements are used as symbols to represent things in spells, thereby causing different effects to be produced. Below is a basic guide to the element's meanings.
EARTH: Love, healing, money, acquisition, employment, health, dieting, organization, goals, ambition, career, politics, persuasion, bones, teeth, skin.
AIR: Communication, writing, travel, justice, unions, balance, artistry, science, freedom, understanding, clarity, friendship, breaking bad habits or addictions, blood.
FIRE: Authority, rebirth, leadership, authority, courage, fertility, spine, heart, travel, sports, truth, horses.
WATER: The home and honoring lunar god/desses, power, psychic growth, sex, music, art, telepathy, dreams, prophecy.
AKASHA: Akasha is the central element. It is spirit, and it is said to combine all the others into one final divine element.
A Look at the Elements East Direction of Air Represents: The mind, spring, ideas, thoughts, inspiration,sense of smell, psychic abilities, "the power to know" Tool: wand Animals: Eagles and other high flying birds, butterflies Colors: White, violet, pale airy colors Stones: Topaz, rose quartz Herbs and plants: Pansy, primrose, yarrow, vervain Tree: Aspen Angel: Michael Zodiac Signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius Beings: Sylphs, Zephyrs, Faeries Goddesses often associated with the East: Artemis, Diana, Arianrhod, Chengo, Cybele, Shekinah God often associated with the East: Enlil, Mercury, Thoth, Taliesin, Nuada, Kheperz South Direction of Fire Represents: Passion, summer, energy, noon, the sense of sight, "Quality of Will" Tool: Athame Animals: Solar Lion, chameleon, snake, salamander Colors:Fiery reds and oranges Stone: Fire Opal Herbs/Plants: Garlic, mustard, onion, nettle, red peppers, red poppies, hibiscus Tree: Flowering Almond Incense: Olibanun, Copal Angel: Ariel Zodiac Signs: Aries, Leo, Saggitarius Beings: Fire Drakes, Dragons Goddesses often associated with the South: Oya, Pele, Hestia, Vesta, Ameratsu, Sun Woman, Brigit Gods often associated with the South: Agni, Horus, Prometheus, Vulcan, Angus Mag Og, Belenos West Direction of Water Represents: Emotions, twilight, Autumn, sense of taste, love, marriage, relationships, "the Power to Dare" Tool: Chalice Animals: Dolphins, fish, water snakes Colors: Blue, deep purple, greens Stone: Aquamarine Herbs/Plants: Ferns, lotus, all waterplants, mints Tree: Willow Incense: Myrrh Angel: Raphael Zodiac Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces Beings: Nymphs, Mermaids, Water Sprites, Faeries Goddesses often associated with the West: Yemaya, Mari, Tiamet, Kwan Yin, Isis, Atargatis, Sarasvati Gods often associated with the West: Dylan, Ea, Llyr, Osiris, Neptune, Poseidon, Manannan North Direction of Earth Represents: The body, midnight, silence, the sense of touch, prosperity, success, the new moon, silence, winter, "Power to Listen" Tool: Pentacle Animals: Cow, bull, bison, stag, earth dwelling snakes Colors: Brown, black, deep green of vegetation Stone: Quartz crystal Herbs/Plants: Comfrey, vines, grains Tree: Oak Incense: Storax, benzoin Angel: Gabriel Zodiac Signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn Beings: Gnomes, Dwarfs Goddesses often associated with the North: Demeter, Ceres, Copper Woman, Hecate, Ishtar, Rhiannon, Habodia, Oshun Gods often associated with the North: Annbis, Thor, Pan, Cernunnos, Gwydion, Arawn Spirit Direction of Akasha, Ether, Center, Above and Below Represents: Trannscendence, immanence, pure essence, time beyond time, sacred space between the worlds, sense of hearing, the "Power to Go" Tool: Cauldron Animals: Wolf, cat famly, ravens Color : Silver, pale airy blue Plant: Mistletoe Incense: Mastic Angel: Gabriel Beings: The Sphinx, The Phoenix Goddesses often associated with Spirit: Spider Woman, Hera, Ceridwyn, Aphrodite, Athena,Kwan Yin, Astarte, Brigid Gods often associated with Spirit: Akasha, Iao, The Horned God, Gwynthyr, Atho, Math Mathonwy, The Green Man SilverMoon DragonWing
The Elements "Attuning and working with these energies in magic not only lends you the power to affect dramatic changes in your life, it also allows you to sense your own place in the larger scheme of Nature." -Scott Cunningham, Earth Power The Elements play an enormous role in the natural magick that most wiccans use. Earth, Air, Fire, Water. They are more than physical elements, more than what we see and feel, they are symbolic of both physical, spiritual and emotional attributes. Take the time to contemplate them. What does Earth mean to you? What about Water, Fire, Air? Consider these elements in their physical form first, then see what spiritual and emotional aspects you attribute to them. All the elements have certain characteristics, but maybe they will have a deeper meaning to you once you've explored your insights and feelings concerning them. Element/Direction - Color - Time of Day - Season - Elemental Spirit - Magickal Tool East - Yellow - Dawn - Spring - Sylphs or Sprites - Wand. South - Red - Midday - Summer - Firedrakes or Salamanders - Athame. West - Blue - Twilight - Autumn - Undines or Merfolk - Chalice or Cauldron. North - Green - Midnight - Winter - Gnomes - Stone or Pentagram. Air is the element of the mind. It is intellect, inspiration, imagination. It is ideas, knowledge, dreams and wishes. Air is the element of new life and new possibilities and is essential to spells and rituals of travel, instruction, finding lost items, some types of divination, and freedom. Air aids us in visualization, a vital technique in magick. Air is a masculine element and governs the magick of the four winds. Fire is the element of change and passion. It is creativity, motivation, will power, drive and sensuality. It is sexuality, both physical and spiritual. Fire is essential to spells and rituals of healing, purification, sex, breaking bad habits or destroying illness and disease. Fire is the element of authority and leadership. Fire is a masculine element and governs all candle magick. Water is the element of emotion and subconscious. It is love, purification,intuition, mysteries of the self, compassion and family. It is pyschic ability. Water is essential in spells and rituals of friendship, marriage, happiness, fertility, healing, pleasure, and psychic abilities. Water is a feminine element and governs spells involving mirrors. Earth is the element of stability and of the body. It is w
isdom, strength, growth and prosperity. It is the physical earth and the very heart of life. It is essential in spells and rituals of prosperity, business, fertility and stability. Earth is a feminine element and governs stone and knot magick Earth is the element of form, binding, and manifestation. From an occult perspective the element of Earth is the lowest in vibratory rate of the four elements. Most modern Witchcraft/Wiccan Traditions consider Earth to be a feminine² element.
Creatures known as Gnomes, a dwarf-like race, symbolize the active magickal principle of the elemental Earth. In a metaphysical sense, the color of Earth is yellow, symbolizing its vitality, activated by the sun, and it is associated with the Northern quarter. Some Wiccan Traditions associate Earth with other directional quarters and other colors. As a magickal agent the element of Earth is symbolized by the ritual tool known as a pentacle. In astrology the zodiac signs Capricorn, Virgo, and Taurus are associated with the element of Earth.
Air is commonly associated with mental activity and is considered masculine¹ in nature. In modern Wicca/Witchcraft the magickal agent of the element of Air is symbolized by a ritual tool. Some traditions assign the wand to Air because it was once a branch moving in the wind. Other traditions assign the element of Air to the ritual blade because of the sound a blade can make when slicing the air. Note: In AWT we assign the athame to fire, and the wand to air.
Creatures known as Sylphs, a fairy-like race, symbolize the active magickal principle of elemental air. In a metaphysical sense, the color of Air is blue and it is associated with the Eastern quarter. Some Wiccan Traditions associate Air with other directional quarters and other colors. In astrology, he zodiac signs Aquarius, Libra, and Gemini are associated with the element of Air.
In old occult lore it was believed that spirits and ghosts had the power to wrap themselves inside the wind, giving them the ability to become invisible. From this lore, we find other associations such as the presence of a ghost indicated by areas of cold air.Howling winds were believed to carry spirits of the night. Because of the association of air, sudden gusts of wind were attributed to spirits and poltergeists.
Fire is sometimes known as the living element. It is perhaps the most ancient symbol of divinity. Fire is a living principle of duality, providing light and heat to aid humankind, while at the same time being a force of death and destruction. The eternal flame is a common theme in ancient Mystery Cults and typically represents the eternal presence of Divinity. Among the ancient Greeks, Hestia symbolized the divine living flame, as did Vesta among the Romans.
The ancients believed that fire could lie hidden in a piece of wood. By rubbing two pieces together the fire could often be coaxed from the wood. Once fire was produced the ancients often transported the flame on the end of a giant fennel stick, a custom that later associated fennel with the forces of light. The connection of fire as the living spirit latent in wood drew worshippers to establish and maintain sanctuaries for their deities within the forests, long after the creation of towns and cities. According to ancient legend, statues of deities were encased in a bundle of branches and transported to a new location when another sacred grove was to be established. In this manner the "fire" of the deities' spirit was conveyed from grove to grove.
In modern Witchcraft, and in Wicca, Fire is one of the four creative elements. It is
traditionally linked to the color red, although this does differ among the various traditions. As a magickal agent the element of fire is symbolized by a ritual tool. Some traditions assign elemental Fire to the ritual blade because the blade was forged in Fire. Other traditions assign it to the wand because of the use of wood as a torch. In the AWT we assign the athame to fire and the wand to air. In astrology the zodiac sign Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are associated with Fire.
Water is an element associated with the west quarter. It is a symbol of regeneration, renovation, and dissolution. In occultism beings known as Undines are creatures of this element. Traditionally, the element of Water is associated with the color green - in many modern Wiccan/Witchcraft Traditions the color is blue.
In modern Wicca, Water is symbolized by the ritual tool known as the chalice. The chalice contains either water or wine that is used for ritual or magickal purposes. In astrology the zodiac signs Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio are associated with the element of Water.
Akasha meaning pure spirit, is the fifth element.It is the subtle spiritual essence that pervades all space. It is not ether itself, but is an ether-like substance of a spiritual rather than material nature. Essentially, Akasha is to ether what spirit is to physical matter. In ancient writings, such as the Puranas, Akasha is said to operate through sound or vibration. Thus it is identified with the element of Air, and in a spiritual sense with the "breath of god" concept in ancient Hebraic texts. Where we read in the book of Genesis that the "spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters," we can see Akasha in action through motion. In occultism, Akasha is considered to be an indispensable element of each magickal act.
To move energy in a ritual, spell, or work of magick is to evoke Akasha. Akasha is an element of the kundalini force as well, lying latent at the base of all magickal operations. The power of Akasha, as it relates to kundalini, is an "occult electricity." This energy rises with our emotions and desires, and is the basis for fertility of mind, body, and spirit. It is the energy of motivation, passion, and determination.
On a larger scale, Akasha is one of the Tattvic Tides³ of occult philosophy, an energy form that is most active at sunrise. As one of the Tattvic Tides, Akasha emanates the power of spirit to harmonize the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The ancient myths of Western civiliztion tell of a time when the chaos was brought into harmony by the intervention of spirit. This is the symbolism of the pentagram, the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water controlled by spirit. In ancient Roman mythology the four elemental winds were the gods Borus, Eurus, Notus, and Zephyrus. Above them was a higher god, Aeoulus, who kept watch over them.
¹ In an occult sense, "masculine" refers to the characterisitics of specific types of energy rather than to gender.
² In an occult sense, "feminine" refers to the characteristics of specific types of energy rather than to gender.
³ Tattvic Tides are energy fluctuations within the magnetic field of earth.
Summon, Stir and Call
I call to the Lady fair
I summon to us the Element of Air
I stir the Ancients with knowledge of old
Be here this night our spirits you hold.
Lady protect us, keep us from harm
Air empower us with communication and charm
Ancient Ones give us knowledge that lasts
Provide us this in the circle that's cast.
I call the Lady to hear your sons and daughters
I summon to me the Element of Water
I stir the Ancients with truth from the past
Be here this night, be here at last.
Lady protect us, keep us close to your side
Water empower us with emotions of pride
Ancient Ones give us patience that lasts
Be here this night in the circle that's cast.
I call the Lady who gave us birth
I summon to me the Element of Earth
I stir the ancients to be here this night
To travel upon their spiritual light.
Lady protect us, surround us with love
Earth empower us as below so above
Ancient Ones give us wisdom that lasts
Provide us this in the circle that's cast.
I call the Lady with loving desire
I summon to me the Element of Fire
I stir the Ancients, the old ones, the wise
To comfort our fears, our yearning, our cries.
Lady protect us with your strength of healing
Fire empower us with passionate feeling
Ancient Ones give us understandings that last
Provide us this in the circle that's cast.
This article may be used only for education and teaching purposes only.
Working with the Elements
by Anja Heij
Copyright © 2001
Four is the number of the physical universe. Both the square and the cross are symbols of material life in the three-dimensional world. The horizontal line of the cross symbolizes time, and the vertical one depicts space. The corners of the square and the ends of the cross form the four different faces of the Divine, or the four basic energies this universe is built of. These basic principles are named the elements.
Traditionally the four elements are called Fire, Earth, Water and Air. These are symbolical, not literal names for the various energies. To many natural methods of healing, magick and astrology the idea of the elements forms a practical, workable system and thoughtmodel. In a nature based life-philosophy it seems quite logical to work with the different characteristics of the four winds, the four directions, the four seasons, the four tastes, or the four stages of life (baby, childhood, adultery, and old age). Let’s take a look at the wind: northern wind is cold and dry (Earth), southern wind is warm and dry (Fire), eastern wind is cold and moist (Water), and western wind is warm and moist (Air). People react differently on the various winds and temperatures.
Ancient naturopathy developed the system of the temperaments, in which humans are divided in four groups, according to their way of reacting physically and emotionally, each with their own tailored therapies.
Choleric or Fire persons are hot-tempered, easily offended, enthusiastic, passionate, creative, impatient, courageous, adventurous, impulsive, daring and active. They like to take initiative and try out something new. They make good sportsmen, leaders and inspiring businessmen. Astrological Fire signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Fire complaints are fever, inflammations, high bloodpressure or an over-active digestion because of eating too hasty or too spicy. Sick Fire people need to cool and calm down. Cold showers are often helpful. Magickal colors for Fire are red and orange. Call forth elemental Fire in your magick or visualizations when you need success, optimism, courage, energy, great love, an improved sexlife, a new job or other new undertaking, greater authority or more self-consciousness.
Melancholic or Earth persons act slow and thorough, they are realistic, practical, sober, concrete, orderly, materialistic, critical, punctual, responsible and dutiful. They tend to be gloomy. They are great organizers, reliable partners, they can endure a lot and will not easily give up a certain task. Astrological Earth signs are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Earth complaints are stiffness, frozen body parts, constipation, depression and problems with bones and joints. Warm water is often healing, as is taking clay internally. Gardening or mountain walking can be very meditative for Earthy people. Magickal colors for Earth are dark green, black and brown. Call forth elemental Earth for grounding, stability, healing, finding lost objects, securing a venture or relationship, money, promotion or other forms of progress, family matters, constructions and your home.
Flegmatic or Water people are sensitive, emotional, intuitive, paranormal, artistic, romantic, passive, magnetic, soft and kind, caring and compassionate. They are dreamy and have a vivid imagination. Watery people are the nurses, healers, intuitive counselers, artists and poets among us. Water signs are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. They often fall ill because of crossing their boundaries; therefore they get too many impressions of others, or their great helpfulness drains them. These liquid signs have difficulty with giving form to something; physically this can work out in profuse bleedings, longlasting diarrhoa, or unexplicable complaints. For their healing it is really important to reserve time and space for themselves, for instance meditation or painting. Magickal Water colors are blue of course, and soft pastel and transparent colors. Call forth elemental Water if you do magick for divination, unconditional love, energy healing, dreamwork, spirituality, soft relationships with children and friends, artistic inspiration and negotiation with others.
Sanguinic or Air people are quick, flexible, moveable, changeable, communicative, hasty, playful, nervous, easily interacting, mentally quick and strong, rational and objective. They love traveling, new people, new places, new contacts. They make good writers, talkers, traders, politicians and inventers. Air signs are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. Air complaints are problems with the respiratory system, the circulation, and nervous complaints. Fresh air, a stay in the woods or the mountains, enjoying relaxing contacts with friends instead of stressy business contacts, are all healing. The traditional magickal Air color is yellow, the color of Mercury, the messenger of the gods. But light blue is great too of course. Call forth elemental Air to improve contacts, save traveling, successful trading or otherwise selling things, teaching, learning,mental activity and writing.
More and more people in the occult community add a fifth element: Spirit, representing the soul or the spiritualized and transformed human being through purification. Astrology and naturopathy still work with the four traditional elements. Elemental Spirit is found in the center of the cross and the square, or on the top of the upward pentagram. It’s magickal colors are white and violet. Call forth elemental Spirit for divination, transformation, purification of energies, meditation and channeling.
You can strengthen the force of a certain element in yourself by working with the energies it represents. Go to the sea to let your emotions flow, wear red clothes in a daring mood, dig in the garden if you need to go back to base, and learn something new to make new contacts. Magickally the elemental energies can be evoked by addressing each element individually in a prayer or invocation. You may also call all energies forth as follows: sit in a circle and chant all at the same time “Earth, Earth, Earth – Air, Air, Air – Fire, Fire, Fire – Water, Water, Water – Spirit, Spirit, Spirit.” Continue for several minutes. You will feel a powerful energy building up. I’ve worked with this in reiki healings. At the end of the session thank the energies and send them forth.