We hear the four elements being mentioned a lot in the magickal community, but do you know what they really are? How do you go about incorporating them into your practice? Why would you even want to? In this post, we’ll be going over these questions and more.
WHAT ARE THE FOUR ELEMENTS?
In simplest terms, the four elements are what makes up, well, everything. Me, you, the Universe. As such, they are essential to life. Water, Earth, Air, and Fire. If you think about it, they are our earliest ancestors as they were here before anything else.
Contrary to the chemical elements on the periodic table, the elements we’re speaking of support every single thing that we do in life. They all sustain our physical bodies while affecting and influencing our spiritual lives as well.
We have to imbibe water in order to stay hydrated and it sustains all living things on the planet. Fire (the Sun) gives us warmth, regulates our planetary cycles, and is needed to grow our food. Air is life as we need it to breathe. Earth is where we all live.
These are the fundamentals of physical life, but they also hold magickal correspondence. The elements can be connected to herbs and botanica, the Zodiac, deities, personality traits and attributes, the Tarot, and on and on.
WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO INCORPORATE THE FOUR ELEMENTS INTO YOUR PRACTICE?
It can be intimidating or even challenging to add new things into your practice. However, it’s through the uncomfortable that we learn and evolve not only as practitioners, but as people. The four elements can help you level up your practice and discover things about yourself along the way.
For instance, you can work towards building a relationship with each element in order to cultivate balance in your life. You can learn how to stay stable and grounded through inviting the elements and all of their gifts to work symbiotically to your benefit.
Another example is bringing the energies of the four elements into your home can help you to see excess or lack. From there, you can see where certain functions are disabled that need you to ‘flip the switch’ that gets the energy flowing again. Contrariwise, they can show you where to lighten your foot off the gas pedal to slow energies up a bit.
CORRESPONDENCE OF THE ELEMENTS
All of the elements correspond with the seasons, colors, and directions as follows:
Water = Fall = Blue = West
Earth = Winter = Brown = North
Air = Spring = Yellow = East
Fire = Summer = Red = South
This correspondence applies to the Northern Hemisphere.
Certain paths have assigned the four elements their own agents. They are known by different names:
- The Guardians
- The Keepers
- The Quarters
We typically see these representatives called for protection when casting a circle. When their services are done, they are thanked and released.
THE FOUR ELEMENTS AS PERSONALITIES
As aforementioned, the four elements hold magickal correspondence in all kinds of ways. They can even manifest as certain personalities and characteristics.
People with Water personalities are typically driven by their emotions. They are sensitive, sometimes to a fault. We see Water personalities as empathetic, sympathetic, loving, kind, caring and compassionate. They tend to be more flexible than other elemental personalities and are more than willing to mold themselves to the situation at hand.
On the other end of the Water personality spectrum, these types of people can suppress their emotions until forced to bring them to the surface. This can result in emotional meltdowns or a deep depression. Confidence and self-esteem are issues Water personalities typically face.
People with Earth personalities are logic driven and sensible. Hard workers, they adhere to discipline and a set way of doing things. These people are often described as being ‘mature for their age’ or having an ‘old soul’ when they are young. They often hold the same occupation for the duration of their career.
On the other hand, Earth personalities tend to be set in their ways. Stubborn and small minded, trying to convince these personality types to try something new can be very difficult. Fear of the new is a common theme for Earth personalities.
People with Air personalities tend to gravitate towards change. Staying in one place can be difficult as there is just too much to see and learn in the world. Bright and intelligent, these people are good under pressure and can evaluate circumstances with a clear head. Great at communication, Air personalities are quite likable among any crowd.
At the other end of the spectrum, we see Air personalities manifest as unreliable, selfish, and cold hearted. They love change so much that they will choose the new time and time again, no matter who they might hurt or offend.
People with Fire personalities tend to be the center of attention and life of the party. They attract others to them like moths to a flame. With lots of curiosity and the energy to support, Fire personalities absolutely adore the new: new people, new experiences, new places, new foods, etc.
On the other hand, Fire personalities tend to get burnt out quite easily. The excess of energy can also lead to being “too much” or overly excited about things. Tempers also tend to flare with Fire personalities.
REPRESENTATIONS OF THE FOUR ELEMENTS
There are a multitude of ways that we can represent each element through both physical and non-physical representations. These items or symbols can be used for different purposes, like imbuing altar or casting spaces with the element.
Let’s take a look at how each element can be represented:
- A cup filled with Water
- Pictures of the Moon
- Shells from the beach
- Blue Candles
- Sacral Chakra
- Symbol for Water
- Potted plant
- Fresh cut flowers
- Gemstones that correspond with the Earth
- Wood and metal items
- Brown and green candles
- Root Chakra
- A wand
- Incense smoke
- Smoky quartz or Citrine
- Yellow candle
- Third Eye Chakra
- Symbol for Air
- An athame
- Lit herbs or incense
- Carnelian or Fire Opal
- Solar Plexus Chakra
- Symbol of Fire
It’s easy to incorporate multiple elements together. For instance, candles represent all four elements: the flame is Fire, the melted wax is Water, the wick represents the grounding facet of Earth, and air is needed to feed it, representing Air.
THE FOUR ELEMENTS IN ASTROLOGY
Your Zodiac sign also corresponds to the four elements. The qualities described in the elemental personalities section is reflected in the Sun and Moon signs, as well as other planetary aspects in a birth chart. Just like symbols and items can be incorporated together, so too can people’s personalities. After all, humans are too complex to ever fit into any one category.
Water Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces
Earth Signs: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn
Air Signs: Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius
Fire Signs: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius
THE FOUR ELEMENTS IN THE TAROT
A layer of interpreting the Tarot lies with the four elements. Much like each astrology sign is assigned an element, so is each suit. The Tarot correspondences are:
Water = Cups
Earth = Pentacles
Air = Swords
Fire = Wands
DIFFERENT WAYS TO WORK WITH THE ELEMENTS
Now that we’ve covered what the elements are and a few of their correspondences, here are a few ways in which you can incorporate them into your practice.
- Be mindful of your personal usage of the elements, like how long your showers are or making sure you recycle
- Communicate with the elements through interacting with Nature
- Work on balancing your personal energy
- Infuse the elements into your spaces to foster stability
- Call on the four elements for manifestation work
- Utilize one or all in ritual casting to encourage success
- Thank the elements through actively engaging with them in your practice
As you can see, the four elements have been around for time immemorial. They can be found in ancient practices that have never lost service to Witches, Mystics, and Occultists. With time, you too can learn how to best ask for their help to aid in your own rituals.
Do you work with the elements? Let me know in the comments!