Elements and Deities - Elemental Philosophy

Wicca Natural Magic Kit: The Sun, The Moon, and The Elements, Elemental Magic, Moon Magic, and Wheel of the Year Magic - Lisa Chamberlain 2018

Elements and Deities
Elemental Philosophy

For those whose belief systems include specific deities, there are many gods and goddesses from cultures around the world who are associated with individual Elements.

Working with these deities in ritual and magic can strengthen your alignment with the Elements, whether you are focusing specifically on magic associated with one particular Element or all of them. It’s worth doing some research to discover deities who resonate with you personally, by reading the myths and stories around them and connecting with the cultures they originate in, but here are a few brief examples.

Earth deities include the Greek goddess Demeter, also known as Ceres in the Roman cosmology. She is the goddess of fertility and agriculture, specifically of crops that are processed into edible grains. In fact, the name “Ceres” is the root of the word “cereal,” which demonstrates how our modern culture is still connected to ancient beliefs. Ceres was often depicted with a garland of wheat and a basket of fruit and flowers. The god Cernunnos, worshipped throughout Celtic Europe, is also associated with Earth. He is the god of animals, as well as forests and vegetation, and is seen in Paleolithic cave paintings in the form of a stag. He is considered the oldest of the gods in the Celtic pantheon, born of the original mother goddess.

The Egyptian Nut (pronounced “Noot”) was the goddess of the sky and the heavens, and so she makes for a good deity to work with in Air magic. Her name is often translated to mean “sky,” and, like Cernunnos, she is also a very old deity, found in the creation story of the ancient city of Heliopolis. She was often rendered as a blue-skinned, star-covered woman, arching over the Earth on hands and feet. The widely-known god Thoth is also often associated with Air, as he is credited with inventing writing in the form of hieroglyphs, as well as magic, science, astronomy, and a host of other intellectual pursuits.

In the realm of Fire, the Greek Prometheus plays a crucial role in the origins and development of humankind. He was tasked by Zeus to create the first man from Water and Earth, and then of his own accord he gave humans the power of Fire by stealing it from Zeus’ lightning. Brigid, a central figure in the Celtic pantheon and the Irish pantheon in particular, is associated with Fire as the goddess of healing and smithcraft—the art of forging metal over flame. She is said to rule over the “fires” of inspiration, the forge, and the hearth, and sacred flames were kept continually burning in her honor, in some places into the 13th century.

Because the Element of Water is fluid and shape-shifting, existing in such a wide variety of forms, straightforward associations between Water and particular deities are a little more difficult to identify. Many “lesser” deities are associated with specific locations such as rivers and springs, and some of the crone goddesses and underworld gods have Water associations, but deities specifically linked to the Element of Water don’t appear with as much frequency as those of the other Elements. Nonetheless, we still find a pair of ancient Sumerian deities—Enki and Nammu—credited with the origins of the world through their associations with Water. Nammu was the goddess of the primordial sea who gave birth to heaven and earth. Enki, born from the air and the earth, was the god of groundwater, or the “freshwater sea” that Sumerians believed existed under the Earth, and was said to have first filled the empty riverbeds with water.

These are just a few examples of deities you might seek relationships with in your exploration of the Elements.

They are given in gender pairs to show possibilities for incorporating both female and male deities—the Goddess and God of the Old Religion—with an emphasis on one or more Elements.

You may feel called by a particular goddess or god, or even by a particular Element—if so, that’s a definite sign that you would benefit from pursuing spiritual study in that direction. As always, you should follow your own path and go with your own instincts.