Elements Of Witchcraft

Elements Of Witchcraft

       I have been guided to share more on witchcraft and ancient practices. This is something I vibe with deeply, and it runs into my soul like refreshing water to a thirsty heart. A few syncronistic events have happened which have let me to the message that I have to share certain things more. 

        The Elements are the literal forces of Nature, and so they are sacred and revered by Wiccans. They are incorporated into ritual and magic, and ultimately into the daily consciousness of those who live and work with the natural rhythms of life, death, and rebirth. Every aspect of material existence is bound up in Earth, Air, Fire and Water, while Spirit, the Fifth Element, is present in each of the other four.         The concept of elemental states of matter has been with us since at least the time of the ancient Greeks, when what we now call the four “classical” Elements—Earth, Air, Fire and Water— were discussed by the great philosophers. These four substances were said to make up all of matter—nothing physical existed that was not composed of one or more of them. This elemental paradigm informed the medical practices of Greek society as well as their spiritual traditions, and ultimately came to influence the discovery of the physical elements of modern chemistry today.         The Greeks were hardly the only ones to grasp the idea of all things arising from a handful of natural phenomena. This concept is also found, in one form or another, in ancient Egypt and Babylonia, as well as in Hinduism, Buddhism, and religions within China and Japan. Eastern traditions differ slightly in their recognition of the Elements. For example, Chinese astrology distinguishes the Earth-based substances of Wood and Metal as individual Elements in their own right, while ancient Indian philosophy mirrors the original Greek system but adds Akasha—or “Space”—as a fifth Element. This term, “Akasha,” was later borrowed by Western occultists and is used in some Wicca and Pagan traditions to refer to “Spirit.” Other traditions use the term “Aether,” which was Aristotle’s addition to the original Greek system, and which had a similar meaning.         The Elements are understood to be distinct spiritual energies and are an integral part of a ritual. Typically, they are invoked at the start of ritual to participate in the celebration at hand and in any magical work performed. Each of the four classical Elements is associated with one of the four cardinal directions—North, East, South, and West—and each is called upon by the ritual celebrant, who turns to face each direction to address and invite the spirit of the Element into the circle. This is known as “Calling the Quarters” in many traditions; others refer to it simply as invoking the Elements. These Elemental energies are then dismissed at the end of ritual, before the circle is closed. Each Element is also represented by one or more ritual tools on the altar. For example, the Pentacle symbolizes Earth, a designated candle represents Fire, a chalice—empty or filled—represents Water, and Air can be symbolized by a wand. There may be other tools further representing the Elements, depending on how elaborate one’s practice is, but for effective, balanced energy at least one representation for each should be present. Every herb, crystal, and color has specific Elemental associations. So do other natural objects—for example, you can represent Water with a sea shell, Air with a feather, Earth with a stone, and Fire with a pinch of smoldering herbs. When these correspondences are consciously acknowledged, and the assistance of the Element(s) formally requested, powerful spellwork can result.

        Witches respect and use the elements as a framework and basis for magickal work and correspondences. Correspondences are things that can be connected to, explained by, or enhanced by the elements. Some witches connect the elements to certain deities; gods or goddesses. There are four elements all incorporated and overseen by a neutral fifth: spirit, or as I like to think of it, energy. The four are Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Each has certain distinct qualities attached to it. Fire: activity, inspiration, passion, courage, risk, impulsiveness, creativity, impatience Water: emotion, love, feeling, empathy, adaptability, secretive, artistic Air: intellect, thinking, communication, ungrounded, flighty, spirited, inventive, questioning Earth: grounded, practical, steady, responsibility, work, materialism Energy/Spirit: The fifth element. I like to think of this as the medium through which the elements express themselves. So in essence, energy is all-permeating throughout the Universe. Which it is. It’s what some of the early 20th Century New Thought writers called ‘the thinking substance’. Onto which we witches (and all life) impress our intentions using powerful emotions. Energy is the carrier, the facilitating medium. Energy is the basis for the Law of Attraction. The space inside the particle. Intangible, but always present. Not quite the usual scientific viewpoint, but it works for me. When we say, “I’m just putting it out there…” that’s sending a thought, or wished-for outcome, into the energy soup. Each element corresponds with one of the four directions, four seasons and colors: Fire - South - Summer - Red/yellow Water - West - Autumn - Blue Air - East - Spring - Green Earth - North - Winter - Brown Tarot readers rely on the elemental qualities assigned to each suit in order to interpret the cards. The tarot correspondences are: Wands/Staves - Fire Cups/Chalices - Water Swords - Air Pentacles/Coins - Earth The twelve signs of the zodiac are ruled by the elements. The elemental qualities reflects in the basic descriptions of personalities in sun signs, moon signs and ascendants. Fire: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius Water: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces Air: Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius Earth: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn.         If you're serious about witchcraft you should teach yourself to become aware of the four elements, plus their enabling energy or ‘spirit’. As you go about your day, notice how they manifest. Perhaps in people, situations, or as pure elemental power. Hold your hands under water, notice the heat form the sun, breathe deeply of air and feel the earth supporting you. Bless your water bottle, give thanks for your food, appreciate the ground beneath your feet, and be grateful for the air you breathe. You might find yourself more aligned to one element than the others. This is fine, but be aware that you need to keep a balance. When you feel a little ‘earthbound’ or sluggish, you could have too much Earth/Water. Infuse your being with Air by taking some deep breaths. Or if you find yourself feeling somewhat over-emotional, get outside, breathe, walk, and bathe in sunlight. Learn and understand how these fundamental elements are key to the practice of witchcraft.

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