Elements and Elementals
Image: 'Earth-Air-Fire-Water' by Mary Wright
The four elements of earth, fire, air and water are considered to be the building blocks of nature. Together, they form the balance of the natural world. If you have a magical practice, you likely already incorporate the four elements into your rituals and ceremonies. And you might already have an idea about the four elemental beings who correspond to each of the elements.
Elementals are the spiritual beings that connect the physical world to the higher plane. They're mythic and archetypal in nature, and form the basis for many of the fantastical creatures we come across in legend and folklore, like fairies and dragons. These elementals can be called upon in your magical practice or standard meditation in order to connect more deeply to the natural world, and regain a sense of balance and order in your life that might be missing.
Let's take a look at each of the four elements, their corresponding elementals, and how you can work with them:
Elemental being: Gnome
Places: Caves, forests, fields, gardens
Symbols: Crystals, stones, rocks, wood
The element of earth manifests itself in the form of a gnome - a benevolent creature that dwells under the ground and is connected to soil, roots, dirt and earth in in its most primitive sense. Gnomes are normally depicted as humanoid yet diminutive, and are interchangeable in some myths and stories with dwarves, brownies and even hobgoblins. All of these creatures are associated with hard work, labour and the physical world.
Earth elementals can be called on in your spiritual practice when you are seeking a sense of grounding. They will help you connect with your roots and return home, whether that's home in the physical sense, or a more spiritual sense.
To connect with your earth elementals, head to the forest, caves, or simply outside to the garden - places where the world underground meets the world above ground. You can also use rocks, crystals and wood to symbolise earth in your rituals or ceremonies. Being in touch with your earth element will help you feel stable, steady and focused.
Elemental being: Salamander
Places: Desert, hearth, hot springs, campfire
Symbols: Candles, incense, essential oils
The element of fire manifests itself in the form of a salamander - a lizard-like creature that survives and thrives in fire. Salamanders are actually a real-life group of amphibians as well, but the elemental salamander is more mythic in nature, having the ability to live amongst flames without being burnt. Not surprisingly, salamanders are closely related - and sometimes interchangeable - with the legendary fire-breathing dragon. They symbolise passion, wild energy and transformation.
Salamanders can be called on in your practice when you're feeling flat or lacking zeal in your life. Like how fire sparks from nothing, and how electricity lights the world, salamander energy can give you the kickstart you need to jump back into action.
Head somewhere hot, like the desert or hot springs, or simply gather around the hearth in your home or a campfire outside to connect with this lively element. Fire can be conjured in your ritual practice in the form of candles, incense or burning essential oils. When you're connected with your fire elemental, you'll feel like you have the energy and drive you need to achieve all your goals.
Elemental being: Sylph
Places: Mountains, open plains, places of travel
Symbols: Feathers, leaves, bell, music, smoke
The element of air manifests itself in the form of a sylph - an ethereal being of the sky, closely related to fairies and angels. Sylphs are often depicted as having wings, though they can also be capable of wingless flight. They're gentle, buoyant and can also be associated with music, particularly that of bells and wind instruments. They symbolise motion, travel and imagination.
Sylphs can be called on in your practice when you're struggling to move forward or lacking creative inspiration. Sylphs have the power of flight, so they're powerful agents of travel and adventure, whether that's a big overseas trip or simply a change in your daily routine. They also represent a higher consciousness and the realms of the imagination.
Head to the mountains or hilltops to connect with your air elemental, or simply take a walk, a ride, or a drive somewhere new. Air can be symbolised in your practice with feathers, fallen leaves, a bell for music, or smoke from incense. Connecting with your air element will give you the motion and inspiration you need to move forward.
Elemental being: Undines
Places: Ocean, creeks, lakes, ponds
Symbols: Cauldron, chalice, shells
The element of water manifests itself in the form of an undine - a type of ethereal human-like spirit that inhabits oceans, lakes and other bodies of water. Undines are often associated with mermaids and sirens, but they're traditionally not fish-like in nature, and more closely resemble a human figure. Unlike mermaids and sirens, undines are completely benevolent. They symbolise cleansing, healing and nurturing.
Undines can be called on in your practice when you have a need for cleansing and starting anew. Water is associated with the traditional baptism ritual, and is believed to have the capacity to cleanse one of their sins, or pains of the past.
To connect with the water element, head anywhere with a water body, whether it's the ocean, lake, pond, creek, river or well. Water is one of the easiest elements to symbolise in your practice, capturing it in a vessel like a cauldron, chalice or cup, or even shells or river pebbles from your visits to water bodies. When you're connected with your water elemental, you'll feel healed of all negative energy and ready to start afresh.
The world of elemental magic is complex and multi-layered, and this is just a small peek into the realm. Hopefully it helps you to connect with the four elements and their spiritual manifestations, in order to forge a deeper understanding of the natural world and a greater sense of balance and meaning in your own life.
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