Elemental Beings - 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

Elemental Beings
Elemental Philosophy

Many Pagan and Wiccan traditions also believe in what are usually called “Elementals,” or “Elemental Beings.”

These are the spirits of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, and they harken back to the animistic world view of the ancients. These spirits have many names, take many forms, and are the subjects of centuries of legend and lore. Wiccans and Witches who work with Elementals will attest to their presence in nature and in magical ritual.

These beings are said mostly to be unseen, although some particularly sensitive people have seen glimpses of them. Keeping an open mind and a willingness to learn and discover can help you learn to contact and sense them, and ask for their help in your magical workings.

Earth Elementals are widely identified as “gnomes” (meaning “Earth dwellers”) in the Western world, although they are also known as “elves,” “trolls,” and even “faeries.” (Some consider faeries to be Air Elementals, but others, such as the Irish, refer to the spirits of the Earth as faeries.)

These spirits can inhabit a variety of natural features in a given landscape, but are most commonly associated with wooded areas, rocks, caves, and earthen mounds. Spending time in a quiet, undisturbed outdoor area is a good way to start working to connect with Earth spirits. Because of Earth’s connection with prosperity and material abundance, leaving offerings like sparkling stones can encourage a relationship with these spirits to flourish.

Working with Earth Elementals in magic is appropriate for spells related to prosperity and success, as well as helping balance negative tendencies toward manipulation and greed. Earth spirits are also helpful in instilling the basic tenacity required to build gradual and long-term abundance, by increasing confidence, practicality, and consistency, as well as a more skillful balance of ambition, caution, and patience.

Air Elementals are most commonly referred to as “sylphs,” but, as mentioned above, may also be likened to winged faeries.

They are considered to be present in the clouds, in blowing wind, and other weather phenomena like heavy storms of rain or snow, and were believed in ancient cultures to bring divinatory messages to those able to listen. These spirits of Air are light in energy and quick-moving, so connections with them may have a more fleeting quality than those with Earth spirits, but they also may be felt more tangibly.

It’s easier to commune with Air spirits on a breezy or windy day than in very still conditions, but, being of the Air, they are all around us nonetheless. Whistling and/or singing can help one attune with Air Elementals, as can paying attention to any flying insects in the vicinity. It also helps to leave offerings of flowers, which these spirits are said to love.

In magic, Air spirits are helpful for work involving the intellect and communication, developing finer sensitivities to the invisible realms, and responding skillfully to change. As they are also associated with music, they can be called upon to help harmonize disruptive circumstances or relationships.

Fire Elementals are known as “salamanders,” perhaps because to those who can perceive them visually: they look like small lizards with tongues of flame, although others see them as tiny balls of light.

These spirits live in all forms of flame, lightning, and the heat of the Sun, and are said to be the catalysts that make the existence of Fire possible.

They are considered by many to be the most powerful of the Elemental beings, and can be fairly easily summoned with the lighting of a candle or building of a fire. Burning incense or sage is a good way to honor and thank them for their presence.

Fire spirits can aid in transformative magic, helping us to see what needs to be eliminated from our lives in order to make room for new growth. Spells for courage, passion, and extra energy are in Fire’s domain, both on physical and spiritual levels. Just as the physical manifestation of Fire is potentially dangerous, it’s important to respect the power of the spirits of Fire, and not be reckless or excessive with their energies.

Water Elementals are most commonly referred to as “undines,” but have also been represented as water nymphs and mermaids in Western traditions.

Existing in all forms of water, these spirits are most commonly associated with rivers, lakes, oceans, springs, wells, and waterfalls.

Spending time near a natural body of water is the most ideal way to connect with Water spirits, who may acknowledge your presence with bubbles or subtle ripples in an otherwise calm surface. Rainy days can also be good occasions for communing with these Elementals. Of course, you can also gaze into the water in a bowl or cauldron.

They are said to appreciate essential oils as offerings, but be sparing with any substance you pour into a natural body of water, and be sure that it’s entirely nontoxic to any marine life.

Water spirits are helpful in magic related to love, creativity, and healing, as well as balancing extreme emotions. They help us get in touch with our inner feelings and become more flexible in our approach to solving problems.

People who are new to the Craft sometimes have difficulty taking the concept of Elemental beings seriously.

This is partly due to the way Elementals have been portrayed in our modern, commercialized culture, via Disney movies and Halloween costumes, but it may also be that these spirits are simply not part of one’s individual experience of nature. Whether or not you perceive the energies of the Elements as having distinct names and forms, musing on these legendary beings can provide a way into a deeper relationship with the Elements themselves.

As you put more intention into your observance of the natural world, they may just show up for you—as the appearance of faces in trees, a sudden breeze, or dancing shadows around the fire.