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The Five Sacred Elements

Updated on May 7, 2012
Ed getting back to nature
Ed getting back to nature

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© Copyright 2012 WitchesMIXTM

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Introduction

This article is written solely to explain the five elements used in witchcraft. These are Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. These elements are one of the very most basic principles of magical practice, and their presence is regarded so highly that certain religious structures worship them and invoke them as stand alone figures. But the importance of these elements run deeper than that. They are the makeup of the suits of tarot, they are each assigned to certain planets, birthdates, tools, and much more than that, they are the bare necessities for the existence of everything.

Before the Spirit section of this article I have made a large table that lists a hefty amount of correspondences between the elements and certain other objects and spirits. Whether or not you are interested in magic, Paganism, or anything affiliated with the Esoteric, this article will serve as an interesting breakdown of what the elements do for us, and how we can learn to better appreciate them in our daily lives.

It seems that the technological age, while it has bought many benefits, has bought with it a lack of connection and appreciation of what we have been so luckily gifted. From my understanding of it, people used to see us as visitors on the Earth, whereas nowadays people see the Earth as something that belongs to us. Sadly, this is not true, and were it not for the five elements nothing could exist at all. And through this hub I hope to help bring an understanding of the roles the Elements play in the world around us, and maybe help some people reawaken to the beauty and power they possess.

Earth

Earth, aside from the obvious body of rock that we exist on, is one of the fundamentals of existence. Every tree, plant and household is comprised of Earth, and as such is directly necessary to everything in existence. Without trees, we would have no oxygen to breath, and without the carbon dioxide that we expel they couldn’t either. Without rock and wood, we would have no homes. Even cavemen’s homes were built from stones… they were ready made homes known as caves. In magic, Earth is seen as the bringer of grounding, strength and stability. Willpower and solidarity are apparent in Earth’s many manifestations, such as the determination shown by a lonely dandelion or the defiance of death shown by the aged Oak.

To further appreciate Earth, I would suggest walking through a large and dense wood, and just look around a little, taking in the beauty of nature. Find somewhere to sit, and close your eyes, just listening and feeling your surroundings for a while. Just keep yourself relaxed and become one with the Earth, hearing the birds sing and the wind whistle through the leaves while you sit strong and unmoving, resisting urges to shuffle around or scratch any itches. Different epiphany’s may come to you by the time you reach twenty minutes or so of sitting, and when they do you will feel a lot more at one with the Earth, and will have reached your own understanding for it’s role in the universe.

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Air

Air, the invisible surroundings of our earth, is what provides us with the capability to breathe and the fuel to move our muscles. It is the wind that spreads the seed of our crops and helps drop the dead heads of plants to keep our meadows looking fresh. Without it, we wouldn’t even have water! In short, we wouldn’t have even developed were it not for its role in the universe. In magic, Air is seen as the giver of insight and clarity, offering other properties such as knowledge, friendship and divination. In the breeze we feel at one with our wisdom, and so clarity is reached with ease.

An exercise that could draw you closer to Air is to use it as a form of divination. Light a fair amount of incense in a censor and watch the smoke rise as you ask questions of the future. It may be wise to get relaxed first. While focusing on the question, allow your mind to become void of anything else, and enter a state of complete focus on the smoke. As you watch it, keep an eye out for any shapes and symbols, also little words popping to your head, or even a full answer. In true Air style, this practice is all about trusting your intuition, but by doing this you can really help build a familiarity with the properties associated to Air, and how it works in magic. This same exercise can be practiced in the smoke raising from a fire.

Fire

Fire is the very makeup of the sun that heats our planet to a livable temperature. It is vital in the process of growing plants and gives vital nutrients to the human body. It gives us the ability to warm our winter nights and the difference between night and day. It offers a structure to the Earth, its extinguishing letting our bodies know that it is time to shut down and replenish our energy over night. It is the center of gravity to our galaxy. Once again, without Fire, nothing could exist.

In magic, Fire is used to represent passion and creativity, protection, banishing and love. It is the fiery passion between two mates that makes its properties obvious, the red of roses and wine by the fire that creates unmatchable lust between two companions. It's by candlelight that the romantic poet finds inspiration.

A rather difficult to carry out exercise with Fire, is that of starving yourself from it for one night. Not entirely of course, but partially. Spend a night by candlelight, read a book, write a story. Do whatever you like, but do not under any circumstances use electricity or the gas fires that we take for granted. It is easy to forget, in this technological age, the origins of our gifts. Without Fire there would be know electricity! So spend a night without it. No telephones, no T.V, no games consoles. Light will be given by the flame, shedding a different light on all of your activity. You may find that your creativity is sparked in a different way by candlelight than by the bulbs of our modern age. Record your findings. Think about how lucky we are as humans to be able to harness such an unpredictable source of energy. When you wake in the morning, go back to normal, turn your lights on and live your life the way you normally would. I’m not suggesting this as a way of life, electricity is normal living now, but from the point of completing this exercise, I guarantee that if nothing else you will be appreciative every time you flick the many switches of our lifestyle.

Water

Water is eighty percent of our bodies, it keeps us hydrated throughout our lives and will kill us if we don’t replenish the water we use. It makes up most of the planet, offering us a way in which to wash and cool ourselves. When too hot, our body naturally releases Water to cool us down, this process known as perspiration. And I’m sure you’re aware that we are not the only creatures that rely on Water. So too does plant life, and all other animals in existence. So in short, once again, this element is fundamental to the planets survival.

In magic, Water is the bringer of healing, emotions, sleep, peace and dreams. Its gentle, flowing touch makes its correspondences obvious, however one should not forget the uncontrollable power of the waves. Emotions, like Water can be a wonderful, calm experience, however when left unchecked for too long can become as uncontrollable and violent as the waves battering the rocky shores. With this knowledge in mind, we are reminded keep a positive, calm approach to all emotions we have. Even anger or disappointment, when channeled correctly, can be powerful and fulfilling emotions.

To better appreciate Water we can do many things. Standing in the sea helps us understand the way it flows, and reminds us of how it works its way around our planet. Running a candlelit bath can be very relaxing, and help us notice its calming, and loving properties. However, the exercise I’m going to recommend in this article is one that takes a week or two. Firstly, I’d like you to take a photo of yourself, without any makeup or photo optimization. Starting from the morning of that picture, drink at least eight pints of water a day for a full seven days. Please try to avoid any fizzy drinks, or impure juices. Once it has been a full week, take a picture again and compare the condition of your skin to the first time. Look for spots, blemishes, and the bags around your eyes. Also try to assess differences in alertness and other personality changes you may experience. If you like, try it for one more week, and compare your two week picture to your first one. I guarantee you will be shocked at your results! This is a perfect way to understand the healing properties of water, the way it flows through your body and naturally pushes out impurities while leaving behind a pure, energizing substance to draw from.

Quick Correspondence Reference

 
Earth
Air
Fire
Water
Archangels
Auriel
Raphael
Michael
Gabriel
Colors
Green
Yellow
Red
Blue
Crystals
Agate, Onyx, Quartz
Amethyst, Aventurine
Red Jasper, Ruby, Fire Opal, Bloodstone
Aquamarine, Blue Topaz, Jade, Pearl
Days
Friday, Saturday
Wednesday, Thursday
Sunday, Tuesday
Monday, Friday
Deities
Pan, Persephone
Horus, Uranas
Brigid, Hephaestus
Poseidon, Neptune, Jupiter
Directions
North
East
South
West
Elemental
Gnome, Dwarf
Sylph, Sprite
Salamander
Undine, Nymph, Mermaid
Energy Type
Feminine
Masculine
Masculine
Feminine
Herbs
Cedar, Oak, Ivy
Lavender, Dill, Acacia
Allspice, chillies, nettles, cinnamon, basil, rose
Aquatic Plants, Moss, Thyme, Chamomile
Incense
Patchouli
Frankincense, Myrrh
Rose, Frankincense
Lotus, Myrrh
Metal
Lead, Copper, Bronze
Iron, Silver, Gold, Tin
Brass, Tin, Gold
Silver, Mercury
Totem Animals
Stag, Bear, Ox
Birds
Fox, Phoenix, Lion, Scorpion
Fish, Water animals/ mammals
Zodiac Signs
Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Tarot Suits
Coins, Pentacles
Swords
Wands
Cups

Our Elemental Discovery Walk

Spirit

I’m sure you’ll have noticed throughout this article a reoccurring theme running through each element, that being that they are all necessary to the existence of everything. Spirit is slightly different, in that it is not entirely its own element. It is all the elements, the driving energy behind their movements, and the link that binds them all together to create perfect balance and harmony between them. Furthermore, Spirit binds us to the elements, to the planet, and to everything else in existence. It is a fundamental understanding in the practice of witchcraft that we as individuals are connected to everything else, in turn being connected to the whole. It is this element that gives everything in existence an elemental correspondence, so that we as cogs in a larger machine can create our own influence in our surroundings by manipulating the tools of the Earth, in turn generating a change in fate.

A greater understanding of this element will be gleaned from performing the other exercises above. My personal findings were that spirit is the balance. It is what holds the universe in perfect harmony with itself, and is not only the fundamental of everything, but is everything it self. It’s you, it’s me, it’s our houses, our towns, and our landscapes. It’s our discoveries, our medical breakthroughs and our technological inventions. All you see before you is Spirit, and one of the individual elements all at the same time! It is this understanding that makes us able to indulge in the world of the spiritual, the unknown, and the unquestionable. It is these elements that make magic possible, and Witchcraft a practice to be employed by all who are ready to embrace it.

And with that, we come to the end of our article. I wish you good luck in your elemental exercises, and hope they offer you just as much a fulfilling understanding of them as many others, including myself have gained. Thank you so much for reading!

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