Embracing the Elements in Witchcraft
Allegory of the Four Elements
What Are the Elements?
What are the elements? The elements are earth, air, water, and fire. Often the fifth element of spirit, which binds all together, will also be included. 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.
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.
"He which shall know these qualities of the elements, and their mixations, shall easily bring to pass such things that are wonderful and astonishing, and shall be perfect in magick."
Cornelius Agrippa, 16th Century Occultist
A Chant Centered on the Elements
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 into 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 it 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.
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.
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 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.
Time of Day: Midnight
Astrological Signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Colors: Brown, Green, Yellow
Tools: Disk, Hammer, Stones, Salt, Shield, Sand
Elemental King: Gnome
Elementals: Elves, Brownies, Trolls, Leprechauns
Tarot Suit: Pentacles
Major Arcana Card: Empress Card
Runes: Fehu, Wunjo, Jera, Berkano, Mannaz, Othala
Herbs: Barley, Mugwort, Patchouli
Kabbalistic Sephira: Malkuth
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 it's 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.
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.
Time of Day: Dusk
Astrological Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Colors: Silver, White, Blue, Indigo
Tools: Cup, Chalice, Cauldron, Bowl
Tarot Suit: Cups
Tarot Cards: Death, The Moon
Elemental King: Undine
Elementals: Banshee, Mer People, Kelpie
Runes: Uruz, Gebo, Hagalaz, Isa, Pethro, Ehwaz, Laguz, Dagaz
Herbs: Jasmine, Lotus, Valerian, Yarrow
Kaballistic Sephirot: Hod (splendor), Chesed (mercy), Binah (understanding)
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 it's domain. If you are looking at finding the energy to excel at athletics you may wish to work with this element. Fire can help us destroy things in our life that are not working for us. You might 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 useful for magic involving protection, transformation, destruction, acting, sex, strength, exorcism, and banishing. It is easy to understand that because of it's destructive qualities it is the best element for banishing things which are harmful to us.
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.
Time of Day: Noon
Astrological Signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Colors: Red, Yellow, Orange
Chakra: Solar Plexus
Tools: Staff, Wand, Arrow
Elemental King: Salamander
Elementals: Drakes, Will O' The Wisps
Tarot suit: Wands
Tarot Cards: The Emperor, Strength, The Sun
Runes: Thurisaz, Kenaz, Naudhiz, Sowilo, Ingwaz.
Herbs: Allspice, Cinnamon, Thistle.
Kaballistic Sephirot: Netzach (victory), Geburah (judgment), Chokmah (wisdom)
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 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.
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 travel to a place of great heights like an observational tower or sitting on top of a hill. Air gives us the 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.
Time of the Day: Dawn
Astrological signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Colors: Yellow, Pale Blue
Tools: Sword, Fan
Elemental King: Sylph
Elementals: Djinn, Dryads, Gremlins, Pixies
Tarot Suit: Swords
Tarot Cards: The Hermit, Wheel of Fortune
Runes: Ansuz, Raidho, Eihwaz, Tiwaz.
Herbs: Parsley, Hops, Lavender.
Kabbalistic Sephirot: Yesod (foundation), Tipharet (beauty)
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 mind. It propels us and gives us life. Without it there could not be any of the other elements.
Getting in touch with this element is appropriate when you want a higher solution. It is asking for divine wisdom or a 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.
Colors: White, Black
Latin Name: Aether
Tarot Card: The World
Sacred Tree: Apple
Kabillistic Sephira: Kether (crown)
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.