Let’s Talk Witch – The Fifth Element
In the ancient Greek philosophical school of thought, the fifth element was referred to as ether. Aristotle wrote of ether as an element that transcended physical decay and aging, or in other words, the element of which the stars were made up. Ether has also been speculated on as the energetic field which connects all things in the universe. To the ancient Chinese, the fifth element was simply space, as all of the other elements require space in which to exist. Still others have called it time, because none of the other elements can exist without duration. While these thoughts are clearly divided, you may notice that they all follow a common theme: all of them speculate on the fifth element as a unifying element between the other four.
For magickal purposes, the fifth element is referred to as spirit. Even within the range of magickal practices, there are different meanings of this concept. In traditional magick, spirit is the unification of all other elements. It is also representative of the will of the magickal practitioner to direct the energies of the other elements. In this sense, we could say quite accurately that the fifth element is magick itself.
On another esoteric level of understanding, the spirit element represents the completion and balance of man. You may notice that the four elements all represent parts of nature of the human. Earth is aligned to the physical body, water is aligned to the emotions, air is aligned to the consciousness, and fire is aligned to the life energy within. The spirit element is achieved when these four are all at work and balanced within a human being. Lack of proper balance will inherently cause suffering in one form or another. Traditions that seek to improve the practitioner through achieving this balance often use the four elements as symbols of the aspects that combine to create a properly balanced human being. It is for this reason that Masonic ritual, one such tradition, makes reference to the four elements at the end of its Entered Apprentice degree. It is during this section that the new initiate is taught, through understanding of this type of symbolism, that the four aspects of man must be balanced in order to lead a happy, healthy, and productive life. As you will see when dealing with elemental symbolism, spirit can also be repesentative of the balanced unification of the masculine and feminine aspects of human beings.
Elemental Magick: A Guide to Harnessing the Magickal Powers of the Elements (The Ultimate Guide to Magick Book 3)