Air moves us. Fire transforms us. Water shapes us. Earth heals us. ~Ariana Rainking
In witchcraft, the Earth’s different magickal energies can be accessed by working with the four natural elements: air, earth, fire, and water. Also, each element is also associated with one of the four cardinal directions. As a result, the elements are considered to be the cornerstones of magick so elemental balance in spellwork is important in order to produce the best possible magickal outcomes.
Knowing and understanding each element is essential to achieving that balance. The easiest way to learn about them is to mindfully experience them.
Being outside in a natural setting is perhaps the obvious way to do so but by no means the only way. For example, you can experience the element of water outside on a rainy day but you can also do so when you take a bath or even if you cry.
In addition, you will typically experience two or more elements at one time. For instance, if you go swimming in a lake or pond, you would obviously encounter the element of water but also the elements of earth in the form of sand beneath your feet, air in a warm breeze, and fire in the heat of the sun. Because there are so many ways to interact with the elements, there are inexhaustible opportunities to become familiar with each one.
In magick, the elements are often symbolized by a non-obvious magickal tool such as an athame for the element of fire or a cauldron for the element of air. Green witches, however, tend to be more literal in their choices due to their deeper connection to our planet.
- The flame of a candle may represent the element of fire because its flame is fire.
- Water contained in a chalice may represent the element of water because it is water.
- Crystals or stones may represent the element of earth because they come from the earth’s crust.
- Incense may represent the element of air because you can both see the smoke and smell the scent of the incense being carried through the air.
Pagan altars often face east but this is a preference, not mandatory. In actuality, magick can be more effective if you face the direction of the element you will be working with predominantly at the time.
In addition, different types of magick are associated with each element. So, using a tool or colour that is representative of the element(s) associated with the magick you are working can further improve your outcome. Therefore, if your spell is for increasing passion, incorporating the element of fire by casting your circle from the south, directing energy with an athame, and using a red candle can help produce a stronger magickal result.
Also, different types of magick may be associated with more than one element. In that case, use the element(s) that you are most at ease working with. Not everyone will be equally comfortable with each element but as you become more familiar with the elements, working magickally with them will become more instinctive.
THE ELEMENTS & THEIR MAGICKAL CORRESPONDENCES
: This element is the air we breathe; a gentle breeze to the most forceful tornado. There are many ways to experience air, including but not limited to: mindful breathing; being outdoors in a breeze; blowing the head of a mature dandelion to release the seeds; sitting in the current of a fan.
- Colours: Grey, white; yellow.
- Direction: East.
- Tools: Cauldron; essential oils; feather; incense; wand.
- Magickal Intentions: Adaptability; anger; astral projection & travel; beginnings; blessings; change; clairvoyance; clearing spaces; cleansing; communications; creativity; dispelling; harmony; health; ideas; imagination; inspiration; intellect; intuition; knowledge; learning; letting go; loss; lucid dreaming; mental clarity & focus; mindfulness; motivation; past-life recollection; protection; psychic ability; psychic dreams; purification; release; returning; soothing; spirit communications; spirituality; studying; thoughts; travel; weather; wishes.
: This element is the the soil from which things grow; grain of sands; rocks, crystals, and stones; the tallest mountains. There are many ways to experience earth, including but not limited to: planting a garden; growing herbs and other plants indoors; raking sand; walking barefoot on the beach or grass; hiking through a forest; mountain climbing.
- Colours: Brown; green.
- Direction: North.
- Tools: Crystals & stones; potted herbs & other plants; salt; soil.
- Magickal Intentions: Abundance; balance; banishing; binding; birth; breaking; business; charging; children; death; endurance; fidelity; grounding; growth; healing; home; legal matters; libido; life; loss; mental & physical energy; money; moving; patience; pets; power; prosperity; protection; recharging; recovery; reliability; restoration; returning; sensuality; stability; stamina; strength; tenacity; wealth; wisdom.
: This element is the heat and light from the sun; the flames of a candle or fireplace; forest fires; volcanic lava. There are many ways to experience fire, including but not limited to: lighting a candle; sitting by a lit fireplace, whether wood or natural gas; enjoying a bonfire; cooking on a gas stove or other open flame; safely enjoy the heat of the sun.
- Colours: Orange; red.
- Direction: South.
- Tools: Athame; candle; fireplace.
- Magickal Intentions: Action; ambition; aphrodisiacs; attraction; business; career; clarity; concentration; courage; creativity; desire; determination; drive; ending; enthusiasm; finding; focus; goals; honour; honesty; impulsiveness; influence; job; lust; motivation; passion; protection; purification; romance; scrying; self-confidence; sex; sexuality; stimulation; success; transformation; truthfulness; vigour; vision; vitality; volatility; willpower.
: This element is a single tear; a gentle rain shower to a torrential downpour; gentle streams to whitewater rivers; tiny ponds to great oceans; tidal waves and tsunamis. There are many ways to experience water, including but not limited to: taking a walk in the rain; jumping in puddles; wading in water at a beach or stream; sitting by a pond or lake and observing the life teeming in it; watering your plants; enjoying a bath or shower. Learn more about different types of Water and their magickal properties.
- Colours: Blue, from the nearly colourless shades to the deepest ones.
- Direction: West.
- Tools: Chalice; libation bowl.
- Magickal Intentions: Adaptability; afterlife; beginnings; birth; blessings; calming; change; children; cleansing; clearing; compassion; consecration; dreams; emotions; empathy; feelings; friendship; grief; healing; heartbreak; introspection; life; love; memory; moon magick; mourning; patience; pregnancy; prosperity; protection; purification; purity; reconciliation; reversal; scrying; sensuality; soothing; stress; transformation.
Photos: Tobiaz Klenze · Wikimedia · CC BY-SA 4.0 · adapted / Siannan13 · Flickr · CC BY 2.0 · edited / huoadg5888 · Pixabay · license / Oscar Söderlund · Unsplash · license / katsuwow · Pixabay · license / Marko Horvat · Unsplash · license / PxHere · CCO 1.0