Elemental Powers and Finding Your Wiccan Element

On a lot of websites for Wiccans, Witches or Pagans in general, you’ll see a lot of talk of controlling the Elements, developing Elemental powers, and finding your Element. You will see on Youtube videos of people making candles flicker or spinning little bits of paper under glass bowls. On my Wiccan message forums and in my E-mail box, messages are always popping up that ask questions like, “How do I know my Wiccan Element? I think I have an affinity for water because I love to go swimming and hang out on the beach, does that mean Water is my Element?!!”

These issues are confusing to beginning Wiccans, and I want to do my best to help straighten it all out. Let’s explore exactly what it means to find your Element, and to control the Elements, by looking at Elements logically in a traditional Wiccan context.

For more on elements in Wicca and their correspondences, read here.

The Four Elements

Clockwise from top: Air, Earth, Fire, Water.
Clockwise from top: Air, Earth, Fire, Water. | Source

Traditional Wiccan Chant:

Earth my body, Water my blood,

Air my breath and Fire my Spirit

Elemental Chant

Finding Your Element In Wicca

A lot of young Wiccans are eager to find their elements. I don’t mean to burst any bubbles, but traditionally in Wicca there is no such thing. Yes, you read that right. I know that’s not a popular opinion these days because the idea has gained recent popularity, but please follow my reasoning before you dismiss it.

I remember when this idea began popping up in the last 10 or 15 years, a lot of us long-time Wiccans looked at each other with furrowed brows and asked, “Huh?” I tried hunting down the source-- nearest I can tell, the idea came from fiction and cartoons and made their way into bad Wicca 101 books and the kind of websites I tend not to recommend because they present every New Age concept as Wiccan.

First, it should be understood, Elements Earth, Air, Fire, Water are not the same thing as dirt, oxygen, flames and H20. The Spiritual Elements – capital “E” – together make up everything in life.

For Example, the Element of Water (capitalized) is not just the stuff that pours out of your faucets or fills your pool. Water is H20, and H20 is the most pure symbol of the Element, but the Element of Water is so much more than that. It’s also intuition, it’s string instruments, it’s silver jewelry, it’s fish, it’s the moon, it’s being wishy-washy, it’s being nurturing, it’s both compassion and depression, it’s drowning, it’s the sunset hour, it’s peeing and drooling. The Element of Water is infused in every aspect of life, and this is so with the other three as well.

Second, the very notion that someone is “an Element” would contradict a key tenet of Wicca—which is to find balance in all things. If you were one Element, you would be an incredibly imbalanced person. If you lean that heavily toward one Element, it would mean you need less of it, and you need more of the other three.

Some would argue, saying something like: But my astrological sign is (fill in the blank), making my Element (fill in the blank)! Yes, I know—astrological signs fall under the Elements as well. Just because your astrological element’s influence is Water doesn’t mean Water is your only Element. For one thing, your Sun sign is not your only astrological sign (you also have a Moon sign, an Ascending sign, and all those houses in your chart with different planets).

Water touches everyone’s life in many ways, as do all the Elements. One of the ways it influences you is through your Sun sign; that doesn't make it your one and only Element.

But I have an affinity for (fill in the blank) because (fill in the blank)! The word “affinity” simply means you like something. I have an affinity for chocolate, that doesn’t make me the element of chocolate (though—it might be fun).

Basic Element Info

Masculine, projective element connected to rational thought, the mind, intellect, wisdom, communication, etc.
Corresponding to the North, the winter season, middle of the night.
Feminine, receptive, connected to stability, practicality, materialism, the physical world, etc.
Corresponding to the East, to the spring season, to sunrise time,
Masculine, projective, connected to the will, passion, creativity, etc.
Corresponding to the South, to the summer season, to midday (noon).
Feminine, receptive, connected to the emotions, intuition, mysterious, the subconscious, etc.
Corresponding to the West, to the fall season, to twilight time.

The Elements


Controlling Elements

The idea of controlling Elements in Wicca is another misconception. I’m not going to argue here whether it’s even possible to control fire or water or air with your mind—and I don’t even know how someone would go about controlling earth (other than gardening or making mud pies). Even if this was possible, this would fall under the category of psychic abilities. While a Wiccan might believe in this stuff, or attempt to perform these tasks, it does not make doing these things part of our religion.

I do have to note here, the idea of "controlling elements" seems to me an incredible waste of time and energy. Let’s assume here for a second people who claim they have these powers can actually do what they say they do. They cause a flame to flicker or a little feather to bounce around or water to ripple at will. That’s all fine and good, but I ask… what is the spiritual lesson and benefit in this?

The amount of practice and effort that goes into what amounts to little more than a neat trick to show off with at parties is ridiculous. How does it actually help someone’s spiritual journey to waste an hour or two a day for months to learn how to make the candle flame bob up and down? It seems to me there is no actual spiritual benefit from being able to do these things—it’s just something you can use to impress yourself and your friends, like juggling 3 oranges or finding someone’s card in a deck.

Allow me to repeat myself, because I feel it’s a very important point that many Wiccans miss: the Element of Fire is not just flames, the Element of Water is not H20, and so on. Controlling a flame with your mind (even if you could) is not the same thing controlling the Element of Fire. You’re just controlling a bit of fire (small “f”). Controlling H20 is not controlling the Element of Water; it’s controlling water (small “w”). And so on.

Recommended Read

The Way of Four: Create Elemental Balance in Your Life
The Way of Four: Create Elemental Balance in Your Life

This book shows you how each Element may present itself in your life, even in different areas in your life. It'll get you thinking about how they influence you, and how you can change the Elemental influences around you to make changes. Lots of mini-quizzes will help you zone in very specifically on the extent of each Element's influences and overall the book gives numerous suggestions of how to bring them into better balance.


Really Controlling the Elements in Wicca

In Wicca, controlling the Elements isn’t about making candle flames dance or creating gusts of wind with your mind. Controlling the Elements is about finding self-control and balance within yourself and your life.

You want to control the Element of Fire? Don’t play with candle flames—learn how to control your temper. Learn how to nurture your passions and channel them productively. Work on expressing yourself artistically.

You want to Control the Element of Water? Don’t play with running faucets to see if you can make the flow shift an inch over—learn how to master your emotions. Learn how to be more compassionate and understanding. Learn how to listen to and interpret your intuition. Learn how control your mood swings.

You want to Control the Element of Air? Study, learn, and apply your knowledge to life. Practice speaking, help yourself learn to think more carefully about what comes out of your mouth and express yourself more effectively. Don’t allow yourself to give into cynical attitudes. Cultivate wisdom.

You want to Control the Element of Earth? Have courage, and do the things that need to be done in your life-- even the hard stuff. Be strong and steadfast—but try to work on not being so stubborn and closed off to anything new. Be practical and pragmatic, put the work and time into developing useful skills.

Learn to work with Elemental Energies—not by playing with one, single physical manifestations of each Element, but by learning to open yourself to them and all they mean. Think about what they symbolize in ritual, what aspects of life they correspond to, and how you can better utilize that understanding to improve yourself internally. Find Elemental balance.

Finding True Balance


The Elements in Wicca, In Conclusion

While it's true that a certain Element can be dominant in your life (either for your whole life, or for certain periods of it), that doesn't make you "an Element," and it doesn't mean you are intrinsically tied to it, like it or not. It doesn't mean it should be your focus, either in your life or in your spiritual practices (again, it could indicate your need to bring better Elemental balance). Further, it doesn't imply supernatural connection to or power over the Element.

I know a lot of people who came to Wicca more recently and started with books and websites that tout the “find your element” concept, and it’s very hard to think of things differently when you get used to them. Some will even get defensive when such ideas are challenged. I also know some people like the idea of having supernatural mastery over nature, and this very idea is what drew them to alternative religions in the first place. I understand that learning to control your temper is not as exciting and flashy a representation of Fire to some people as making a candle flame do flickering tricks. “You can’t tell me what to believe!” some might cry. And I’m not telling you what to believe. You can believe what you want.

I’m presenting a perspective that I feel needs to be heard, and that some may find more useful. I believe the ideas about the Elements presented here makes real sense within the context of the Wiccan religion, as well as in life. It may contradict a lot of the more feel-good, fanciful ideas you come across, and if that makes you angry, feel free to ignore anything I have to say on the topic.

However, if you were looking for something a little deeper than parlor tricks and games, if you were looking for a spiritual path to actually impact your life, your personal growth and your spiritual development, I hope this lesser known perspective on the topic will help you along.

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Comments 33 comments

chelley-lynn profile image

chelley-lynn 2 years ago

What wonderful words from a very Wise Woman. Even though I am Pagan and not Wiccan the word still ring true. I found myself silently cheering as I read for many Pagans also misunderstand what it means to "find" or to control the Elements and here you have so simply and clearly put into words what I have struggled to explain to many for years.

Now, however, with that said I will say that I do have two primary Elements that I work with in my life. Those being Water and Earth. But as you so eloquently and yet simplisticly explained above it has nothing to do with controlling the physical aspects of those Elements. I believe to even attempt to do so would be a great afront, a great disrespect, to the Gods, Goddesses and all of Creation.

Water and Earth are simply the elements that represent the characteristics in myself that I need to focus on to maintain my personal balance. It is myself I seek to control, to learn to Master, not the Elements.

The Elements are simply a guide post, a visual, mental, physical, and yes, even a spiritual reminder of the aspects within Myself that I must nurture to be the Beautifully Balanced Creation the Great Ones intended me to be. :-)

Thank you for such a wonderful hub Wise Sage.

WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 2 years ago Author

Thanks so much Chelly-lynn, for your kind comments. I totally agree with you that we work with some Elements better than others-- I believe we can have a preferred Element. Each of us has a different personality so certain things speak to us more through Water, or Fire, etc. or we are better able to express ourselves through it.

I think it's a far cry from the common (mis)interpretation that it means were born intrinsically linked to a specific Element, that we're limited to it, and that mastering it means being able to have superhero powers. Thanks for stopping by!

Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 2 years ago from New Jersey

Nice article. I consider myself more a pagan, but notice people are getting into this elemental thing too. Last night in my clairvoyant class, I was told my classmates saw a Flower Fairy over my shoulder, and that it was elemental air. I write and communicate a lot, so it made sense, though I don't usually work with fairies.

WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 2 years ago Author

Hi Jean, very cool. LOL. Nice to have a fairy on your shoulder. My opinions tend to clash with the more popular ones at this time but I guess it's always good to hear different opinions. Thanks for your comments!

Someone 2 years ago

Yes you are correct but what if it is true because I can prove all of your information wrong

WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 2 years ago Author

Hi Someone, thanks for commenting. I'm not sure I understand the comment-- how can I be correct, but you can prove all of my information wrong at the same time?

I've put forth my opinions based on my research and experience. These are my conclusions. You're free to disagree of course, or put forth your own-- either here if you like, or make your own Hubs (it's fun!).

Thanks for stopping by!

Nathaniel 2 years ago

Great article!It was well written and was exactly the perspective i needed to clear a few things up.



WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 2 years ago Author

Thanks Nathaniel, I appreciate your comments and I'm glad you found the article useful! Love & Light...

Grant 23 months ago

Thank you, this has really expanded my knowledge base regarding the books I could find and articles I managed to locate via the not so all mighty internet. I am very thankful for the information and am gladly expanding my understanding of this wonderful faith I have gladly taken into my daily life.

correen 20 months ago

I appreciate that a grown up is being honest on the internet. Some how i already know everything you said. I'm not a wiccan and i don't think being called a "witch" explains me. I'm gifted with certain abilities i guess you could say. But what i need help with is that a certain times the elements express my emotions better than anything else at that moment. And with that being said I'm scared/terrified that one day what if i lose my control over my emotions... And the elements... i just want to know the best way to communicate with the elements. That's all.

WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 20 months ago Author

Thank you Correen; I am glad you found the article useful. A lot of times this is an unpopular opinion when this is not what people want to hear. I've found the best way to begin attuning with the elements is to practice mindfulness and be very aware of them. Thanks for your comments.

aysel 19 months ago

I like that this made distinctions between a n element being dominant in your life verses being or having an element. I agree I feel a closeness to all elements but water more so than the others... But that does not mean I feel like I am water or that I hold some sort of claim to it. Thank you for this.

WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 19 months ago Author

Thanks for your comments, aysel. I think almost everyone tends to lean more toward one Element or another. I don't know if I've ever met a person who has perfect balance. And I totally believe in using our strengths. But I'm glad you can see the difference between influence and 'having an Element' like some kind of Marvel comic superhero.

Hunre 19 months ago

My elemental power is fire

dominick 18 months ago

Wow that was a great lesson for me and others to encourage them to be somebody and thanks for the inspiring words for everybody especially me hope.

someday i will master one of the elements.

WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 18 months ago Author

Hi dominick; for me it's an ongoing process. Life is always changing, thus with each new stage you have to find a new way to reign it all in and find balance. Bright blessings to you. Thanks for your comment.

HippieCowgirl profile image

HippieCowgirl 17 months ago

Im 100% new to all this, I just recently decided I wanted to learn more about practicing and wicca. It was really nice to find an article that contradicts all the 'find your sign' stuff. Although I always feel very connected to wind and air, my 'sign' says I'm fire (It also says my fiancé is water, and that we won't ever work out! We've been together almost 3 years! ha!) Anyway, i just wanted to say thank you for helping me learn on my journey, and for helping me to decide that i don't need someone to give me a 'ruling' element :)

WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 17 months ago Author

Hi HippieCowgirl; so glad the article helped you out. The elements play a big role in my trad. i appreciate your comment.

ravenheart 17 months ago

I gave this to some of my friends that constantly ask me about controlling elements and i could never full explain it to any of them. Thank you for this article i was raised wicca so i couldn't understand how to explain it in a way that didn't make me sound crazy:)

WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 17 months ago Author

Thanks Ravenheart, glad my article could be of use to you and thanks for passing it on.

Jaliji 15 months ago

I have been trying to find something to follow, something that helps guide me into the right direction mostly because I feel like I've been misguided in my life, searching and continuously reading to help me in anyway. While it is true that I went after and wondered what my main element was, maybe there was a reason why I was torn between all four of them. Your article really opened my eyes and I began to understand more. I have actually been curious for a while and began doing research on Wicca and stumbled across your article and I believe it gave me the push in the right direction. Do you know where I could begin researching to help me begin my journey? Because I believe I've made a decision after a long time of searching and consideration from a lot of other paths.

WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 15 months ago Author

Hi Jaliji, thanks so much for commenting. I'm glad you found my article useful here; I'm not one to think there is only a right way or a wrong way to do things, but in general this whole 'find your Element' craze seems to be based on a lot of misconceptions, misunderstanding of what the Elements are supposed to be about, or their place in Wicca.

A good book to start learning about Wicca is Wicca for Beginners by Thea Sabin. You could also start raiding my directory:

I attempt to break down a lot of different concepts and try to walk someone new through it. I also recommend books and other articles or websites along the way you might find useful. And I always answer questions in the comments, or email.

Anthony 4 months ago

I loved what you wrote and I found it very useful in my life and I will use your words in my life.Before I read this I didn't know what to do because I have one of these elements you are talking about you will find me crazy after what I said but this is the truth because I don't know how to control them properly but signs when I try to use them made me believe that I have an element power inside of me.Thank you for opening my mind with your words

Anthony 4 months ago

It's me again.Just forget about the 1 power of 4 of the elements.I may have the 4 because a thing happened so I have 2 believe me or not I am 50%sure that I have the other 2(electricity and earth)but earth is not controling earth or stones it symbolize the force and the strength I am much tuffer for my age about the air I controll sometimes wind I say blow wind it blows I say calm down I don't feel anything about water it is a long story so is the electricity.Wind and electricity need knowledge about the atoms and molecules.Beleive me or not I have this ability and I am not crazy or a freak!!!!!!!

Lonnie 4 months ago

I have alway's felt an inner power from the world around me and have been able to controle events as such when I have used it what is this in me.

Rachel Grace 4 months ago

Thank you for this. I am just beginning in the path of Wiccan practices and I'm pretty sure I wrote down in my notebook everything in this article.

There is still so much I need to research and discover, but this was lovely to find and read. Thank you.

Mandy 3 months ago

While I have thought in the past about how cool it would be to be able to control fire, and make it spring from my fingertips at will, I've never actually heard of or seen anyone do so outside of Hollywood movies like The Craft and magicians like Chris Angel. I have, however, read about wiccans trying to use the energies of a specific element to fuel their spells... I, myself, have drawn energy from the earth to use in my spells in the past. Although, I'll admit, I haven't only done this for magic. I have, many times, released my negative energy into the earth and called up positive energy from the earth at times when I was overwhelmed by some negative emotion, and.... guess what.... It works. Or, at least, it works for me.

In other words, I agree that trying to control the elements is not something pagans should aspire to. In fact, it's likely a collassal waste of time. However, using the energy of the elements to fuel your magic does have its time, place, and purpose. One just needs to make sure they use the right element for their intended goal if they use one at all. This being said, it probably isn't something a beginner would want to be messing with... at least, not until they've got enough experience and confidence under their belt to know which element goes best with each purpose and just experience in general.

I did enjoy reading your article, though. May you find good fortune in your magic, and in your life. Blessed be.

Deyon 2 months ago

how can i really become a witch, i really, really want to be a witch to cast spells and heal persons and animals. I believe all this stuff and have tried all these spell to control elements and to become a witch. So it left me no choice but to choose help from wiccan

sellie 2 months ago

I just want to know if you have understand every thing between all 4 of them to know how to use it I meen I believe a lot in this post and thank u for all you're help ;)

WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 2 months ago Author

Hi Deyon; if you check my profile, you'll see I have a LOT of articles to help you with just that! It's going to require a lot of work though, as it doesn't happen overnight... read, learn, study, meditate & mentally discipline yourself. These are the first steps that will lay the foundation.

WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 2 months ago Author

Hi! Understanding always helps, but that's the thing about the Elements, what they represent are just about always in play. If life were a computer, they'd be the background programs that are always running that you barely notice. The more you understand, the more you notice them in play, the more you are able to manipulate them to your advantage.

Glad you found my article useful!

zhareb 6 weeks ago

I was told I must found balance in my life, I know somehow I'm gifted but I don't follow any religion, recently I began connecting again with Nature and this article I can say really makes me understand why I was told to find balance in my life. I'm Water I'm always driven by my emotions at the point that I let them control my life I'm also Air but I neglect that part of me, reading this article helps understand of all I must work on my self to get where I'm supposed to be and reach my purpose here. I only can say thanks for clearing me so many doubts about finding balance within my self and the Universe.

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WiccanSage 6 weeks ago Author

Glad to be of service, Zhareb. Thanks for your comment.

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    Mackenzie Sage Wright (WiccanSage)535 Followers
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    A Wiccan of 25 years, Sage likes to put her background as a writer and teacher to use by helping people learn about this NeoPagan path.

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