Monday, May 13, 2013

The Elements

I'm sure everyone has heard of the four elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. You've seen these 4 elements referenced in books, in myths, everywhere really. In classical thought, they are the basic foundation for life as we know it. In ancient beliefs, these elements were discovered as the basis for life through natural observation of the environment. They represent the states of matter: Earth for solids, Air for gases, Water for liquids, and Fire for plasma. In Wicca, we recognize these four elements as existing in harmony with one another but we also recognize a fifth element that is not from the material world. This fifth element is the Spirit. These elements are not unique to Wicca. They have been recognized by many faiths and peoples such as Hinduism, Buddhism, the Greeks, and Egyptians. 

So, what do these elements represent for Wicca? Well let's take a look.

Air is typically associated with the direction of North or East depending on what tradition of Wicca you're from. Many Neo-Wiccan traditions associate Air in the East where the sun rises. In my tradition, we associate Air with the North for the Northern winds. Also, depending on which hemisphere you live in (I being from the Northern hemisphere) the direction will vary. Air is normally attributed the qualities of wisdom, knowledge, the mind, travelling, uplifting, communication, and a connection with the soul. Air is connected to the masculine. Its corresponding colors are yellow and white and it is connected with the suit of Swords in Tarot.

Earth can be associated with the direction of East or North depending on the Wiccan tradition. Its qualities include strength, endurance, stability, material possessions, prosperity, the home, wealth, nurture, and the cycle of life (birth, life, death, and rebirth).I consider this element to be very important as it represents our home and the womb the Goddess. Earth is connected to the feminine and is strongly connected to the Goddess. Its corresponding colors are green and brown and it is connected with the suit of Pentacles in Tarot.

Water is associated with the West in most traditions. Its qualities include emotions, compassion, healing, clarity, cleansing, love, empathy, peace, serenity, and purification. Water is connected to the feminine and the Goddess. Water can also be used as a psychic medium and absorbs the psychic energy around it meaning it typically must be cleansed often.  Its corresponding color is blue and it is connected with the suit of Cups in Tarot.

Fire is typically associated with the South (or North in the Southern Hemisphere). This direction faces the equator which is home to the hottest and driest areas of the world. Fire is associated with purification, strong will, energy, passion, desire, sexuality, and fertility. Most people associate fire with destruction, however, it can also create. When a forest fire sweeps the land it leaves ashes behind. These ashes fertilize the ground and clear the land in order for new seeds to sprout and to create a new, more stable ecosystem. It is an important element in the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Fire is masculine and is often associated with the fertility of the God. Its colors are red and orange and is connected to the suit of Wands in Tarot.

The spirit is associated with the center of the Circle. It is not connected to the material world. The Spirit is where all the elements connect. Some say the Spirit represents the essence of the Divine and our Higher Power. However, it can also be associated with the intangible, paths into the unknown, of promise, the soul of life itself. It is the place of great energy. Its color is represented as black or purple.


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