I am running a course on how to work with the elements of magic, find out more and enroll here! https://haloquin.net/workshops/elements-of-magic-class/
Many witches today work with the elements, which can be thought of as the magical building blocks of the universe. They filtered into modern pagan witchcraft via ceremonial magic, and we kept working with them because they work well on magical, symbolic, psychological and energetic levels.
“The Elements” consist of five aspects; Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, which come together to form Spirit. Once you have a basic understanding of the nature of each you have a map through which to begin working sympathetic magic, among other things… and the ability to build your own correspondences for crafting spells, for example.
Earth is the physical, the solid. It is fertile soil, and the deep restful sleep. It is the element of physical manifestation in our realm, and the kinds of powers associated with that. So earthly magic, broadly, deals with bodily health, money, home, and all things practical.
Air is the mental, the quick thoughts, and the voice. It is the breath that fills our lungs with fuel, and the words that express our hearts and minds. Magic for clarity, speech, inspiration, and all forms of communication can be well powered by air.
Fire is the hot passions, it is movement and transformation. Fire is the spark of life between synapses, the heat of the dancing muscles, the burning drives that move us. Fire teaches us magic for change, and for powering our actions.
Water is the emotional energy. It is flowing and settling, deep and changeable. Water is the depths of both love and despair, the grief that can sweep us away and the tears of joy. For emotional work of any kind, and understanding the ebb and flow of life, we turn to water.
And Spirit contains all of these and none. It is both the absence and the sum of the other four. Spirit gives us paradoxes and mysteries, deities and connection and community. Work with gods, or with our highest selves, work for self development towards our highest purpose, that comes under the auspices of spirit.
Some magic combines multiple elements. One might work with water and air to find the right words to keep love flowing smoothly and heal hurts, or fire and earth to transform the home, and so on. And once you understand how the elements can be used as a system of categorisation, then you can start to see how ingredients for a spell might be chosen… that earth is good for money magic, for example, means that objects which remind you of earth – a green stone, soil, and potato seeds perhaps – might be put together as objects which tell the universe you’re looking for earthly things such as money. (Sympathetic magic can be very literal in some ways!) It is also useful to be aware of their presence in your work and life, if you notice that you’re doing great physically but constantly struggle to find inspiration for what to do, you might want to tune into air (for inspiration) and fire (for action) to build up the energy you are lacking in your life. For now, however, let’s get to know them a bit better!
Here are some suggestions for getting a sense of what the elements might be able to help you with:
Earth ~ Grounding in our bodies keeps us calm and helps us live in the world. Take some time to feel yourself settling into your bones. Really pay attention to being a solid creature, with those bones supporting you. If you can get your bare feet into some fresh grass or soft soil and take some time to physically feel yourself upon the earth then that can be really healing to do. If not, imagine it as clearly as you can, as though you can feel it.
Air ~ Breathing is, well, to say it is important would be an understatement. Get out in some fresh air if you can, or open a window if it is safe. Feel the wind on your skin. Breathe it in. Allow the air to fill your lungs… and release it. Let it clear your mind, even if only for a moment.
Fire ~ Movement is central to fire, so get dancing, in however small a way you can. Put your favourite song on your headphones, or speakers, or tap out a simple count on your leg and let yourself move to the beat. Even just tapping your feet or nodding your head. Feel the way your body moves and how it warms up. Think about something you are passionate about and feel how it warms you. Feel the fire within you. And light a candle, or step out into the sunlight, if you can, and feel the warmth of fire on your skin.
Water ~ Notice how your emotions ebb and flow. Drink a glass of water and feel it flow down inside you. Watch a river or the waves on the ocean. Notice how similar all these things are. Feel the feelings and let them move through you; just like river water if you block the flow of emotions they can become destructive.
Spirit ~ Listening. Something as simple as paying attention can be an amazingly powerful magical act. One of my favourite ways to do this is to pull a tarot or oracle card, a rune, or an ogham stick, but you may enjoy just finding the stillness in you and allowing yourself to feel, hear, or see what understandings may arise. Take a moment to feel your earthly body, heavy with gravity. Breathe deeply and let your mind clear and come to the present moment. Feel the sparks in your nerves and the emotions in your heart settle. And just notice what Spirit has to tell you.
I’ll talk more about the elements and how you can work magically with them over the coming months, but you can start here, and even when we’ve been doing these things for a long time, it’s good to get back to basics!
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I’d love to hear about your thoughts on the elements of magic in the comments; what do they mean to you?
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