Embracing the Elements in Witchcraft

Updated on February 28, 2019
Zola Mars profile image

Lydia is a practicing occultist who has been involved with various esoteric organizations. She currently writes for the Peacock Goat Review.

Allegory of the Four Elements

Source

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.

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. | Source

"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.

Earth is nurturing and grounding.
Earth is nurturing and grounding. | Source

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.

Earth Correspondences

Season: Winter

Direction: North

Time of Day: Midnight

Gender: Feminine

Astrological Signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn

Colors: Brown, Green, Yellow

Chakra: Root

Archangel: Uriel

Tools: Disk, Hammer, Stones, Salt, Shield, Sand

Sense: Smell

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

Water is fluid and feminine.
Water is fluid and feminine. | Source

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.

Water Correspondences

Gender: Feminine

Season: Autumn

Direction: West

Time of Day: Dusk

Astrological Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Colors: Silver, White, Blue, Indigo

Chakra: Naval

Archangel: Gabriel

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)

Fire is active and destructive.
Fire is active and destructive. | Source

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.

Fire Correspondences

Gender: Masculine

Season: Summer

Direction: South

Time of Day: Noon

Astrological Signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius

Colors: Red, Yellow, Orange

Chakra: Solar Plexus

Archangel: Michael

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)

Air is closest to the spirit realm.
Air is closest to the spirit realm. | Source

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.

Air Correspondences

Gender: Masculine

Season: Spring

Direction: East

Time of the Day: Dawn

Astrological signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius

Colors: Yellow, Pale Blue

Archangel: Raphael

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.

Spirit Correspondences

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.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Parker Lynn James profile image

        Parker Lynn James 

        4 months ago from Ohio, USA

        Great article! This will help me with my grimoire.

      • profile image

        Jason 

        13 months ago

        Fantastic analysis of the elements for they all intertwine within us all..it'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

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, exemplore.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://exemplore.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)