Five Elements of Magick
Author: Taliesin McKnight
In several forms of magick such as Wicca and ceremonial magick, there are five Elemental powers that are invoked, directed, and utilized. These are the Elements of Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Spirit. The Fifth Element of Spirit (and this is very important) is not really an Element unto itself, but this will be dealt with shortly. These Elemental powers are called upon in ritual to stand guard over sacred space and to protect the practicing magician or witch from hostile entities and energies. It is for this reason that they are often referred to as the “Guardians.”
The very fact that many systems of magick utilize the powers of the Elements reveals that magick has its basis and foundation in the world of nature: the wind, the sun and moon, the oceans, the passage of the seasons, and mighty storms is truly the treasure house of magick. To be a student of witchcraft is to be a student of nature, regardless of what form of magick one chooses to delve into.
The Element of Earth represents the material world. It governs such things as finances, prosperity, good luck, success in business, fertility, harvests, and other such things. Earth also represents the state of solidity in alchemical lore. Earth is the starting place where we begin our journey. To deny the body and the material world in which we live is to live in denial and poverty. Earth is what grounds us and brings us back to the world of the senses. The Element of Earth stands guard and protects the northern section of the magick circle, in which magick is performed. It its the guardian of the north.
Air represents the world of mind. It is thought and logic. Air, therefore, encompasses such things as knowledge, education, learning, communication, popularity, and philosophy. The witch will invoke the forces of wind and Air in order to gain hidden knowledge. Thus, Air also rules over divination. The mind can, indeed, be likened to the sky. Thoughts pass through the mind as clouds. Sometimes our thoughts are sunny and enlightened. Other times the mind is filled with darkness and dreary thoughts.
It is thought which vitalizes and manifests reality. Without the force of reason our civilization would be as nothing. Think of the Element of Air to represent the Great Mind of Nature, whilst the powers also represent the faculty of thought within the microcosm: Man. The witch calls down the forces of wind to gain knowledge of the unknown and to advance in education. It also protects and stands guard over the eastern quarter of the magick circle. In alchemical language Air represents gas.
Water is the realm of emotion. Love, compassion, depression, empathy, and other such emotions are within its domain. Water is also connected to the moon. Emotions are like the tides of the ocean: ebbing and flowing, and always in a state of motion and change. Sometimes the seas of emotion are stormy, while at others it is calm and placid. Water also rules over intuition, artistic inspiration, dreams, romantic love, and psychic ability. It is the realm of the subconscious mind. The forces of Water govern and protect the western part of the magick circle. It represents fluidity in the art of chemistry.
Fire is also emotion, but represents more fiery emotions such as anger, lust, ambition, and zeal. It can be said that it represents passion more than emotion. Fire is also the destructive Element. It burns away the old and destroys. It is also the Great Transmuter, causing matter to transform from one state into another. In this way, it is the philosophers’ stone of alchemy. Fire also represents the spiritual element in Man. Without light (brought by Fire) , we cannot see. But bring forth the fiery light and we see reality as it truly is.
Thus, Fire represents spirituality, enlightenment, passion, and destruction. It is called upon by the witch to destroy enemies (however unethical this may be) and to bring protection. Fire is the guardian of the southern section of the circle wherein magick is done.
The Element of Spirit is not really an Element unto itself. It is more like the primordial essence from which the other four Elements (Earth, Air, Water, and Fire) draws its being. The Element of Spirit encompasses and transcends the other Elements. It is symbolized by the center of the circle. Spirit is called by many names by various traditions and magicians. Some call it the Divine Element, whilst others prefer the more Hindu sounding name of “Akasha.” It can truly be said that the other four Elements are merely manifestations of spirit, or that the other Elements act as intermediaries in which Man may ponder and contemplate the fathomless essence of which Spirit is. It is truly beyond mortal comprehension.
Do these Elements really reside within physical fire, water, air, and earth? This is highly debated within the occult community. Some will say yes, and that these are merely the astral or spiritual counterparts of the physical elements themselves. Others, however, will claim, just as strongly, that the physical elements are only symbols in the mind of Man. However, even if they are just “symbols”, the powers are still linked to the physical symbols themselves. Thus, whatever the case may be, the Elements are linked to their physical counterparts.
Now that this is understood, one may grow to grasp the deeper mysteries of magick. One should always keep in mind, however, that the true mysteries or “secrets” have never been written down. They are the secret and unutterable doctrine of occult science. Speaking them to the profane has been forbidden since the beginning of time. Even if one wished to communicate them, they are unable to be expressed into words, as they transcend human language.
These four Elements will guard and protect you in ritual. They will bend and bring to you your every desire. The Elements will take care of you if you let them. Allow their powers to manifest in your life.