The Elements in Wicca
The idea that all creation is made up of Elements is not new. Generally, the Elements are believed to be the basic components of creation that come together to build all things. In some systems, such as the Tao, understanding of the balance of the Elements is used to diagnose and treat medical conditions as seen within Chinese Medicine.
In Wicca, the Elements are broken down into five components: Air, Water, Earth, Fire and Spirit. The fifth Element, Spirit (sometimes referred to as Akasha), is said to represent the combination of Elements or entities such as particular deities in our lives like Goddesses and Gods.
Each Element has a particular symbol and color. The pentagram above shows this relationship.
White = Spirit
Yellow = Air
Green = Earth
Red = Fire
Blue = Water
Many people feel attracted to a particular element, often corresponding to their zodiac sign. Life is a balance of all the Elements, but an individual goes through life striving to attain the balance of the Elements within him or herself. Having an equal balance of the Elements in oneself is one spiritual goal with the aim of attaining spiritual perfection.
Matter, foundation, manifestation, money, incorporating, employment, touch, empathy, understanding, fertility, prosperity, and business. Represents stability and physical endurance.
Thought, knowledge, mental activity, study, speech, intellect, ideas, communication, hearing, travel, messages, eloquence, freedom, discovery, revealing hidden things, and secrets. Represents intelligence and the arts.
Energy, light, vitality, health, passion, destination, purification, and sight. Represents courage and daring.
Feelings, happiness, pleasure, love, children, friendship, marriage, home, taste, dreams, sleep, healing, the physic and, the sub-conscious. Represents emotions and intuition.
Spiritual energy, magick, divine connections, interconnections. Represents the All, Deity, and the blending of the elements.
Most people have one main Element that they relate to the most. For example, someone may relate closely to Fire, but she will also enjoy aspects of Water, Earth, and Air. Everyone has a little of each Element in them, but no one is made up evenly of the Elements. Such perfection is a goal among practitioners of Wicca, Witchcraft, and other metaphysical-related paths, but does not come naturally. Therefore, you probably have an attraction to a particular Element over the others. Some people will automatically know their Element, meanwhile others will have to carefully think about it, even taking time to meditate, journey, and deeply reflect on each individual Element.
How can you find your Element? Usually, your zodiac symbol and Element will match. However, this may not always be the case. If you think yours is different, simply ask yourself which you feel most in-tune with. If that doesn't help, think of four things you enjoy doing and see how they relate to the Elements. If that doesn't work, think of four things, one pertaining to each Element. Perhaps, swimming, for water, or building and watching a campfire, for fire. Then ask yourself, which do you most enjoy? Getting out into nature to meditate on the Elements can be particularly useful for finding your Element.
The Zodiac divided by Element
Fire = Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius
Earth = Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Air = Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Water = Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Once you have found the Element or Elements you are most attuned to, take the time to connect with the element and learn more about it. In doing so, you will build a better understanding of what the different elements are and how to work with them. Over the course of your practice, take the time to reflect on the other Elements and build relationships with each of them. In doing so, you will come closer to the goal of balancing the Elemental aspects within you.
Directional Correspondence in Ritual
In magickal practice and formal ritual space, Wiccans assign the Elements to the directional quarters (north, east, south, west, and center). Although Spirit is generally always assigned to the center of a circle, the directions corresponding with the other four elements is often different depending upon factors such as geography and tradition.
In many Wicca beginner books, the Elements are assigned as follows: Earth=North, Air=East, Fire=South, and Water=West. According to some sources, the traditional set-up reverses Earth and Air, placing Air in the north and Earth in east. Still other traditions place Fire in the east and Air in the south.
Personally, I find geography works best, but any combination can work. The important aspect of inviting the Elements into circle is simply to invite them in. They are not limited to a specific quarter. When I experimented, I lived on the east coast of the US and found that Air=North (where cold air and snow often originated), East=West (the ocean), Fire=South (where the warm air and weather moved up from), and Earth=West (the large stretch of land).
Currently residing in Colorado, I find this set up is still relevant to me as the weather (Air) moves from the north, temperatures rise (Fire) the further south I go, the mountains (Earth) are to the west, and the place I originate, spirit of deceased loved ones, and the ocean I connect with the most (Water) are to the east.
When considering how to set up the Elements in ritual, starting out with suggestions from books and magickal resources is wise. This allows you the opportunity to learn traditional ways of inviting in the Elements and building the habit of working with them. As you continue your practice, however, never be afraid to do some experimenting of your own and find what works best for your magickal practice.
For a deeper discussion on the placement of the Elements in ritual circles, see the article Re-thinking the Watchtowers: 13 Reasons Air Should Be In The North.
© 2010-2013 by Evylyn Rose