The Ultimate Guide to the Four Elements

 
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Water, earth, air and fire are fundamental building blocks of life that exists in the physical world. The lakes, streams and oceans, rocks and soil, the wind and atmosphere, the sun and energy. These are examples of the physical form in which we see the elements. Equally, if not more important are the vibrational qualities of these four elements.

Textures, tastes, smells, sights and sounds — pretty much everything — can be grouped into one of the elemental categories. When you understand these connections, you can draw on these elements in your magic to produce the outcome you desire. Part of witchcraft involves using these elements to your advantage.

I am EARTH - I nurture my body.
I am AIR - I breathe deeply.
I am FIRE - I radiate passion.
I am WATER - I receive intuitively.

Here is a description of each element as well as a few ways for connecting with the elements that I have found useful.

Water

Liquid physical matter: oceans, lakes, rivers and streams, also social and sexual interactions, and happiness

  • Qualities: Cool and Moist

  • Astrological Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces

  • Tarot Suit: Cups

  • Cardinal Direction: West

  • Vibration: feminine or yin

  • Color: blue, black

  • Substances: iron, green jasper, lily, seashells, turquoise

  • Body Parts: fertility and reproduction, liquid parts, such as blood and lymph, emotions, sense of taste

  • Animals: fish, cold blooded

  • Season: Winter

  • Humor: Phlegmatic

  • Elemental: Ondines

Activities and Spells

  • Charge herbs, stones, and other spell materials with your magical intention and throw them into a body of water. For spells you want to go somewhere, try moving water like a river, stream, or the ocean. For spells you want to stay put, try a stable body of water like a pond or lake.

  • Take a ritual bath and add oils or herbal blends that suit your intention. The bath itself is cleansing, and soaking in the herbs, oils, and water while focusing on intention and/or chanting can be really powerful.

  • Carve runes, symbols or sigils aligned with your intention into a bar of soap or bath bomb to use in a bath. As the carving disappears, the spell is released.

  • Draw sigils into dirt with a stick or your finger then let rain wash it away or pour water over it to release the spell.

  • Infuse teas or potions with edible herbs aligned with your intention. Drink it.

  • Do a blessing or chant over wine or another beverage for yourself or to share any time.

  • Wash items with blessed and charged water to cleanse and purify. This can be ritual tools or just anything that you feel needs to be cleansed of unhelpful energy.

Align Yourself with Water

  • Go to a beach. Get into the water and feel the push and pull of the tide. Allow your body to go with the flow, let your limbs loose and feel as the water moves them around. Bob up and down in the surf. When waves come near let them crash through you rather than on you. Be careful not to be pulled too far from the shore.

  • Take a moment to relax your body and calm your mind. Close your eyes and place a finger on a pulse point like your wrist or your neck. Feel the throb of your heartbeat and the blood pumping through your veins like a river.

  • See the connection between water and your emotions. In the same way that water is sometimes cleansing and peaceful and sometimes a destructive force, your emotions can be both beneficial and detrimental to your wellbeing. Learn to recognize the effects of your own feelings by let them spiral in a safe space. Don’t hold back.

  • Allow your daily shower to renew your spirit day after day. Feel the water wash away everything you have ever thought or become and watch it all flow down the drain. Each day is an opportunity to be reborn, just as you were once held in the water of the womb, you can find that place again.

Earth

Solid physical matter: agriculture, mining, and the ground and what lies under it, also employment, money and physical property

  • Qualities: Cool and Dry

  • Astrological Signs: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn

  • Tarot Suit: Pentacle

  • Cardinal Direction: North

  • Vibration: feminine or yin

  • Color: brown, green

  • Substances: barley, coltsfoot, horsetail, mandrake, patchouli

  • Body Parts: solid parts, bones and muscles, and sense of touch

  • Animals: reptiles, insects, worms

  • Season: Autumn

  • Humor: Melancholic

  • Elemental: Gnomes

Activities and Spells

  • Carve names, words, runes or sigils, into fruit and bury in a pot of dirt or in the ground. As it decomposes it will manifest so this is good for things that you want to bring about slowly.

  • For a permanent effect such as to bind someone or something, bury a non-compostable item, such as a stone with names, words, runes, sigils, etc. written on it or a glass bottle filled with items, herbs, images, etc.

  • Carve spells into wood or burn symbols that represent your intention into wood.

  • Bury stones or crystals in soil, sand, or salt in order to cleanse or charge them.

  • Collect soil or sand from locations with good energy to use in rituals.

  • Make fermented food.

  • Bake something in an oven (especially a stone or wood oven)

Align Yourself with Earth

  • Lie down on the earth. Let the energy you hold within yourself and the energy of the earth touch, overlap, and combine with each other. Allow yourself to forget where you begin and the ground ends for a moment.

  • Be a stable, reliable force: a shoulder to cry on, a nurturing friend, a secret keeper, and a source of wisdom. Find a sense of balance within yourself and hold onto this feeling unwaveringly. Be neutral in the face of bias yet swift and forceful when the time for justice arrives.

  • Think of a tree. Visualize the roots that grow deep beneath the earth’s surface, holding it firmly in place. Think of the years and years the tree has remained and endured despite everything. Realize that you can do the same.

  • Wake up before everyone else and observe how the world is different when everything is still. 

Air

Gaseous physical matter: the atmosphere, the winds and weather, also communication and conflict, violence, pain and suffering

  • Qualities: Warm and Moist

  • Astrological Signs: Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius

  • Tarot Suit: Swords

  • Cardinal Direction: East

  • Vibration: masculine or yang

  • Color: purple, yellow

  • Substances: borage, elecampane, lapis lazuli, onion, valerian leaf

  • Body Parts: gaseous parts, air in the lungs, nervous system, intellect, sense of smell

  • Animals: birds, wings and hollow bones

  • Season: Spring

  • Humor: Sanguine

  • Elemental: Sylphs

Activities and Spells

  • Make incense.

  • Place charms and other charged items in high locations or tie them onto tree branches.

  • Practice astral or dream work.

  • Practice breathing exercises and meditation to clear your mind and make room for helpful thoughts and ideas.

  • Create wind chimes or feathers to hang in windows or outside near your home.

  • Use incense or smoke to cleanse items and banish unwanted energy from your home.

Align Yourself with Air

  • Imagine that the next inhale you take is the first of your life. Reflect on the feelings this brings up. As you exhale, imagine how it would feel for it to be your last.

  • Let your creativity flow: make art, write, create something new, invent, make food from scratch. Be your own inspirational muse and let your thoughts and ideas wander and manifest.

  • Move your arms back and forth and notice how the air feels as you push it out of your way with the force of your will.

  • Move your hand around an imaginary ball of air. Sculpt it into a perfect sphere and feel the cool sensation of the movement on the palm of your hands. 

  • Bring fragrant flowers into your home and allow their aroma to fill your space with pleasantness.

  • Take a walk on a windy day. Observe how the wind changes everything around you and carries energy and fragrance through empty space. Listen to the whistling and the soft turn of the leaves and try to hear something more.

Fire

Physical energy: heat and light, also all kinds of activity, leadership, and power

  • Qualities: Warm and Dry

  • Astrological Signs: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius

  • Tarot Suit: Wands

  • Cardinal Direction: South

  • Vibration: masculine or yang

  • Color: red, orange

  • Substances: bay laurel, cedar, frankincense, red jasper, sage

  • Body Parts: energetic aspects, movement and body heat, the will and sense of sight

  • Animals: mammals, warm blooded

  • Season: Summer

  • Humor: Choleric

  • Elemental: Salamanders

Activities and Spells

  • Write sigils, names, words, runes, and so forth on paper and burn it. This can be used for manifestation or banishing depending on your intention. If banishing, remove all ash from you home promptly.

  • Light a bonfire and dance and sing around it either by yourself or with your loved ones to raise energy.

  • Gaze into a flame to practice scrying. Notice what shapes appear to you in the fire.

  • Practice candle magic

  • Practice sex magick

  • Carve wax figures to represent someone or something you want to banish or bind. Burn it with your intention.

  • Write wishes on bay leaves and burn or place on an incense coal. You can also do this for protection magic or to banish.

  • Cook with fire using a campfire, grill or stovetop.

Align Yourself with Fire

  • Go outside and take a walk on a sunny day. Notice the feeling of sunshine warming your skin and how the light filters through leaves. Reflect on the difference between sun and shade.

  • Turn off the lights in your home. Instead, spend the evening in candlelight, or sit by the lit fireplace.

  • Eat spicy food and visualize the heat on your breath is fire as you exhale. You are a dragon. Embrace the heartburn too.

  • Take initiative to finish neglected projects with a fiery ambition, feel the spark in your veins as you burn through what has been weighing you down.

  • Observe other unexpected forms of fire: electricity, the twinkle in someone’s eye, the warmth of a snuggling body, a passionate speaker, etc.

These are a few of my associations and methods that I find useful. There are of course countless other options! Feel free to share your ideas in a comment below.

Easy Ways to Represent the Elements on Your Altar

  • Fire - a candle, a volcanic rock, matches, a small sun symbol or statue.

  • Water - a seashell, a river rock, beach glass, a small dish of rain water.

  • Air - incense, feathers, a handheld fan, a chain of bells.

  • Earth - a dish of soil, a dish of salt, a small plant.

Guided Imagery Exercise to Connect to the Elements

Before we say goodbye, I also wanted to share this guided meditation with you. It is designed to connect to each of the elements. I hope you enjoy it.

Source: The Path of Druidry by Penny Billington

Shake your limbs to relax yourself. Settle down with your spine straight and take our time taking three breaths with your surroundings, then allow your mind to linger on the words: earth, air, fire, water.

Earth. You have imagined the earth beneath your feet. Now think of the many manifestations of earth on the planet. Feel your feet on the earth of your choice… marshland, desert, forest, mountains, hills and valleys, sandstone, granite, chalk. Feel, with the pressure of your feet against the earth, the pull of gravity, keeping you anchored. Feel the current of energy from the earth throbbing upwards. You are a creature of earth. Relax into this feeling, and then open your awareness out and find yourself in a high place…

Air. Feel the air as a tangible presence as you gaze out to the vast horizon, laid out below the huge arching dome of the azure sky. In this high place, your awareness expands: the great winds of the earth, swirling round, think and pure, sharpen your wits and blow the cobwebs away. You breathe in air that sparkles like wine and are intoxicated, feeling yourself light and buoyant, You extend your arms above you as if you could float on the thermals that support the birds in their flight, feeling at one with the wind that carries messages all over the world. Stand firm, as your awareness is pulled high into the sky…

Fire. High in the vast expanse of blue, feel the blaze of the sun, striking down, warming the thin grass and bursting the buds of the alpine flowers, drying up the atmosphere. With your eyes shut, stretch in an attitude of ecstasy, fed by the warmth that pours down in golden rays. The water is pulled up into the upper atmosphere and you open your eyes to see a large cloud on the horizon. Watch it travelling with speed, and whilst it is in the middle distance in that huge vista, you see it disgorging its rain as a hazy mist over the landscape…

Water. In your imagination, see the rain from that cloud sinking into the soil, percolating through the ground to a deep subterranean spring that makes its gradual way to the surface. There is a tiny trickle of crystal water emerging from the ground, and you see it in your mind’s eye gaining strength as it tumbles downhill, changing eventually from stream to river, and making its way to join the massive depth of the sea.

Allow the scene to fade as you come back to everyday reality. Stretch, yawn, and wriggle to feel fully back in the present here and now.

What is your witchcraft story? Tell me in the comments below.