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Embracing the Elements in Witchcraft

We follow the wisdom paths of our ancestors embracing a nature-based spirituality. This solitary practice comes out in art, craft and word.

"Allegory of the Four Elements" by Domenico Piola

"Allegory of the Four Elements" by Domenico Piola

What Are the Elements?

What are the elements? The elements are:

  • Earth
  • Air
  • Water
  • Fire
  • Spirit (the fifth element, which binds all together)

These elements used to be thought of as the matter that comprises everything in existence. They have forms in both the physical world and on the astral plane. When we dream, we may experience any of the elements—their existence is not limited to our waking lives. Material metaphors to discuss metaphysical things is one way of looking at them. Since they exist in both the visible world and the unseen planes of existence, they are a great way to tap into magical forces.

Elements in Magick

Different types of magick are governed by different elements. Dream magick belongs to the element of water. Protective magick belongs to fire. If you are looking to gain wealth, you may choose to work with the element of earth because it has the closest link to material things. Our magickal goals can be pursued based upon the elementary ruler.

Better self-understanding may be gleaned by looking at which elements we personally lack. If we are a bit too boring, we can embrace the energy of fire in a magical working. Water rituals can help us if we are a bit too blasé and need to tap into our emotions. Air can help us when we need a little help with study and thought. You may wish to work with spirit if you are looking at gaining insight into esoteric things and connecting to divinity.

Magick takes place in the mind and ends up manifesting in the physical world. Use the elements as a tangible link between reality and the imagination. The elements are part of all of existence.

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (1486–1535) was a German physician and scholar.

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (1486–1535) was a German physician and scholar.

The Qualities of the Elements

How do witches use the elements in magic? In so many different ways. It is such a big part of much of the witchcraft we work that it seeps into practically everything. The elements are called into our circles when we cast them. We use tools symbolizing the elements on our altars. We call upon elemental beings from the four quarters to enter our sacred space and bring with them their gifts.

Witches learn how to tame elemental forces and put them to good use. These elemental balances are not something people who don't practice magic are as conscious of. Not with the awareness a student of the occult who has tapped into their qualities completely has. Knowledge is power which you can use to infuse your life with deeper understanding. Understanding the link between the material world and intangible things gives you a way of correcting your problems and empowering yourself. If you aren't in touch with your feelings, you may want to bring more of the element of water into your life. Simply find a way to approach this element in your magick work, whether it be by keeping a journal or meditating in the rain.

Masculine and Feminine Qualities of the Elements

Everything in existence is governed by an element, and sometimes there is more than one. Elements also have a gender of masculine or feminine. This is not literal and has nothing to do with the sexes. Gender is a metaphysical quality when it comes to the elements. Feminine would describe an element which is receptive and fertile. Masculine describes elements which are active and barren. The feminine elements cause change by growth. Earth is obviously linked to fertility because seeds grow out of it while we use water to nurture these plants. Masculine elements have a tendency to cause change through destruction. These magickal terms are benign. Fire is destructive, but not everything which is destroyed is something we need in our lives.

Earth is nurturing and grounding.

Earth is nurturing and grounding.

The Element of Earth

Are you a grounded person? You are probably in touch with the element of earth! Your instincts can help you understand elemental correspondences. Earth is related to the season of winter and the direction North. It is the densest element which makes it solid and stable. If you are looking for stability in life, you will want to work with the element of earth. It is frequently used in prosperity magic because it is linked with material things. This feminine element is the closest one to the material plane. Earth is something we can really sink our roots can sink into.

How to Connect With Earth

How do you connect with the element of earth? You can start by meditating on it. It can be as simple as taking a walk in the woods or sitting in a park. Spend time absorbing the energy of the greenery! Feel the life of the trees! We are all interconnected. Focus on inhaling the fresh and fertile green of the grass beneath your feet. Walk around barefoot and ground yourself. You can also gaze at the alchemical symbol for the element of earth until it is imprinted within your mind.

Water is fluid and feminine.

Water is fluid and feminine.

The Element of Water

Water is the other feminine element. It is linked to the Moon, which controls the tides and possesses fluidity. This element is changeable and useful in magickal workings where you wish to initiate transformation. It governs intuition and dreams. You will want to tap into the element of water if you are working with dreams or developing your psychic abilities. Water governs childbirth and pregnancy. It is cleansing and promotes inner change. Water governs emotions and romance. It is the element we use when we are working love magic.

Water is fluid and changes its shape to whatever contains it. It needs something to contain it, or it will slip away. It is a regenerative element which evaporates in the heat and comes pouring back down as rain to nurture the land.

How to Connect With Water

Go to places where there is a body of water in order to connect with this element. Find a body of water which is safe and not polluted. You can meditate on water in your bathtub, shower, or sink. Going out into the rain is another great way to connect with this element.

Fire is active and destructive.

Fire is active and destructive.

The Element of Fire

Fire is not dense at all and you can never hold it. It is a masculine element frequently symbolized by the Sun. Transformation, passion, and action are its domain. Fire can help us destroy things in our life that are not working for us.

Fire is useful for magic involving protection, transformation, destruction, acting, sex, strength, exorcism, and banishing. It is easy to understand that because of its destructive qualities, it is the best element for banishing things which are harmful to us.

How to Connect With Fire

If you are looking at finding the energy to excel at athletics, you may wish to work with this element. You might also work with the element of fire if you are quitting smoking. Finding your own internal flame and sparking it up is a great way to butt out. Fire is transformative and expansive. You should avoid working with this element if you are not ready for change. All fire can ever do is change. It never for one moment stays the same. It flickers and casts off light making us conscious of our surroundings. It can light us up with enthusiasm and is terrific when we need to get ourselves out of the doldrums.

Air is closest to the spirit realm.

Air is closest to the spirit realm.

The Element of Air

Air is the least dense element. It is the element which resides closest to the spirit realm. It is masculine and represents thought. Being reflective of the human mind makes it appropriate for magic involving intellect, study, writing, communication, and speech.

Air is not something easily contained or with an obvious form. It is not something we can see unless we count the traveling smoke of incense or a campfire. Air is sometimes a harsh element. Intellect is not sensitive. The tarot symbol of the sword illustrates this point remarkably clearly. Air can cut away the nonsense and get us in touch with the facts. This can be a cruel process which cuts us off from our feelings. Occasionally we may need that kind of rationality. There are times when sentiment interferes with our judgment and has us make poor choices.

How to Connect With Air

The element of air is easy to get in touch with. You can merely meditate on your own breath. Sitting in front of a fan or going out into the wind can get you into the energy of this element. You may also wish to travel to a place of great heights like an observational tower or sitting on top of a hill. Air gives us an intelligent way of getting to a higher truth. Getting above all of the details and rising above our problems. Seeing things from an uplifted perspective.


The Element of Spirit

The fifth element of spirit has no gender. It also has no direction which it is attributed to it. It is above us and below us. It is inside of us and outside of us. It is all around us. This unifying force links all the other elements.

This element is mysterious. It is the glue which puts together all of the pieces of the universe, animating us and keeping the planets in motion. Spirit is behind the thoughts which enter our minds. It propels us and gives us life. Without it, there could not be any of the other elements.

How to Connect With Spirit

Getting in touch with this element is appropriate when you want a higher solution. It is asking for divine wisdom or higher guidance. Putting our problems into the hands of the gods. Spirit is the initiator of all and the most important element, but also the most elusive.

Making the Elements Work for Us

Embracing the elements is a way of mastering life. Sometimes we need a way of pinpointing our problems in order to locate the appropriate symbols to employ in our magical work. The elements give us viable imagery and ideas which resonate with us and are universal to all humans in all cultures on this planet.

Hopefully, this article has given you some great ideas. It should serve as just a starting point. Becoming conscious of the world around us means observing these forces at work. Making the elements work for us gives us command of ourselves and our lives.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Parker Lynn James from Ohio, USA on April 07, 2019:

Great article! This will help me with my grimoire.

Jason on July 25, 2018:

Fantastic analysis of the elements for they all intertwine within us's just us to accept each and adapt to them all. Which will work out for the best or worst guess depending on whichever we perceive it...thanks