Revisiting the Fifth Element - 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

Revisiting the Fifth Element
Elemental Philosophy

Having looked closer at each of the Elements that formed the original Classical system and their relationship to many aspects of the Old Religion, it’s important to take another look at the Fifth Element—Akasha, or Spirit.

Of course, Spirit is not like the other Elements: it is completely intangible. Unlike the other four, it doesn’t exist in its own form separate from anything else.

In a way, Spirit is very much like the sixth sense, which is different from the five senses that are rooted in the physiological processes of the body and therefore not always recognized as a sense. Regardless of their invisibility, Witches know that both Spirit and the sixth sense are very real, and it is often said that the sixth sense is the channel through which Spirit communicates with us. The sixth sense is essential to magic, just as the Fifth Element is essential to all of existence.

Another way of understanding the relationship between Spirit and the four tangible Elements is to look at the sacred meanings of numbers.

Various systems of numerology, dating back to ancient times, recognize the inherent magical qualities of individual numbers and their significance to all of creation. Wiccan and other Pagan traditions clearly value certain numbers—such as three, as reflected in the various triple deities, and thirteen, considered by many to be the ideal number of members in a coven. Two is represented in the male and female deities and the honoring of the night and the day.

The number four is particularly well-represented in the Wiccan belief system. There are four solar holidays in the Wheel of the Year—the equinoxes and solstices—as well as four Earth festivals: Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasa, and Samhain. There are four main seasons, and four cardinal directions, from which four winds blow. And there are also those four suits, with their corresponding Elements, in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot.

Furthermore, many Wiccan and Pagan traditions connect each of the four tangible Elements to one of the cardinal directions, aligning two sets of four in a beautiful symmetry. This correspondence is enacted in spiritual and magical ritual, as we will see in the next section of this guide.

The alignment of the tangible Elements with these other occurrences of four is one reason why it doesn’t make sense to try to “squeeze in” Spirit as a phenomenon in the same category. Instead, Spirit is already in each of the four, as it is in everything we can experience with our six senses, and in everything beyond that.

But there’s another aspect of the sacred meaning of numbers—specifically, the number four and the number five—that mirrors the function of the Elements as building blocks in the process of all creation.

In numerological symbolism, the number one represents that which is about to form or take shape—it’s the initial idea, thought, inspiration that leads to manifestation, and represents the male aspect of creation. Two, building on one, is the stage of gestation, as the idea takes root and begins to grow. Two is the female aspect. Three is the synthesis of inspiration and growth, and represents the expression of the completed idea, while four is viewed as the physical manifestation—the bringing forth of the idea into material form. The four Elements, seen as the original building blocks of the material world, are the physical manifestations of the original mental energy that created what we know as the Universe.

The number five, then, is essentially what makes new creation possible. It is the necessary catalyst that stirs up the perfect symmetry of the four in order to keep the Universal energy moving—the force that keeps all of creation from being static instead of dynamic. The five is the conduit for manifesting what we desire through magical intention. This number is represented in the pentacle, a major symbol in most Wiccan traditions. The star has five points—one for each tangible Element and one for Spirit. The circle that connects the points pulls all of creation together, and can be said to also represent Spirit, the source of all existence.

Spirit, as the Fifth Element, is what underlies the energy emitted by a crystal, the interaction of a plant with everything visible and invisible in its environment, and the response of water, at the molecular level, to the energies of particular emotions.

It infuses us as living beings, both when we are aware of it and when we are not. When we are aware of Spirit, and when we have clear, positive intentions, we can utilize this basic core energy to manifest desired change in the world. In the next section of this guide, we’ll take a more in-depth look at how the magical properties of all five Elements can be channeled to do just that.