The Elements in Witchcraft
While not every witch casts a circle and calls upon the quarters to work and cast magic, almost every witch utilizes and works with the elements in some way, shape or form. The elements are some of the cornerstones of magic and the world around us. Pulling them into your craft, if you aren’t doing so already, is a great way to increase its potency.
Like with the Magician in Tarot, we have to use and combine the elements to manifest our desires and wishes.
There are a number of element systems you can draw upon depending on your particular craft. Many consist of four or five elements. Some can be more personal and include additional ones besides the basic ones.
Find a system that works for you. Here I will stick with the basic four elements that are used in witchcraft. These elements include Fire, Water, Earth, and Air.
The element of Fire brings a potency and energy to magic that is felt by nearly everyone that works with it. If you like using candles in your magic, you are working with the element of Fire to bring about your desires. Fire is great to kick start your magic or bring passion and desire into a project. It burns and warms. It can clear away that which we don’t desire and make room for the new. You find the element of Fire not only in candles and flames, but the sun itself. It is lifegiving, but also volatile and destructive if left unchecked.
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Connecting with the Element of Fire
One easy way to connect with fire is to use a candle. When lighting the candle, focus on the flame and the energy of the fire. You can recite a simple prayer to call the Element of Fire more fully into your space. Feel for its presence and take time to meditate upon it. See which ways you might work with this element further in your magic.
Another way to connect involves going out on a sunny day and sitting in the sunlight. Be sure to use sunscreen to protect your skin and maybe some bug spray if you are prone to bugbites. But find a spot and lay down or sit where you are comfortable and take time to meditate on the sun. Feel the heat of it and meditate on the element of fire while you are out there.
Tools of Fire
The main tools representing Fire are the Wand in the Tarot and some witchcraft traditions but Sword or Athame in others. (I won’t delve into that debate. I say go with what works for you there.) Candles are also a tool of Fire as are Charcoal tablets for loose incense. Cauldrons are also sometimes associated with the dual elements of Fire and Water depending on how you use it.
The element of Water can be gentle and healing. We are made up mostly of water and thus are highly connected to this element. In Tarot, the Cups represent the element of water and the emotions. Bringing water into your magic would be good for spells where you might need emotional healing or an emotional connection in relationships or an increase in intuition and psychic gifts. We drink water (or should) daily. It is life giving and hydrating, but it can also drown us. It can weather away at rocks and the earth. It is calm and patient but as volatile as a storm.
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Connecting with the Element of Water
Fill a bowl of cup with water. If it can be spring water or from a natural source, even better, but tap or bottled water is perfectly acceptable. Hold the bowl or cup in your hands and take a moment to meditate on it. You can put your fingers in the water to feel it as you do this, but also sense the water in your own body. Call upon the element to be more present and connect with it. Then take a slow mindful sip of the water, thanking it for its presence in your life.
Another way to connect is visiting a natural body of water like a lake, the ocean, a creek or river. Listen to the water crashing on the shore or beach. Listen to it babbling over rocks. Take time to just be in the presence of this water and like before, call upon it to connect with it. If you can put your feet or hands in the water to connect, even better. Swimming can also help you connect even deeper.
If you can visit a natural body of water, you can try connecting to the element of Water in your bath or shower. Be mindful of how it feels against your skin and thank it for cleansing you and your body gently with its powers.
Tools of Water
The main tools that represent Water are the Cup or Chalice in Tarot and most witchcraft traditions. Water itself in a bowl is also a great tool. As stated above, Cauldrons are also sometimes associated with Water alongside Fire depending on how it is used.
Earth is a strong and firm element. It is the most physically present of all the elements. It is in the ground beneath our feet, the wood of our furniture, the plants in our garden. It is a strong mountain and a deadly landslide. It helps us stand on a solid foundation in our lives. It is slow and steady. Bringing Earth into your magic helps you lay the groundwork for your projects and spells. While it can be slow moving, it is also necessary to making your dreams manifest.
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Connecting with the Element of Earth
To connect with the element of Earth, try some gardening if you can. Even if it is just an indoor pot and packaged soil, take some time to dig your fingers into the soil and feel it. Plant some seeds or repot a house plant in it. Feel the energy within the plant or seed and the soil.
Taking a walk barefoot can also be helpful in connecting to the Earth. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Feel yourself root yourself downwards like a plant and connect to the Earth below you. Laying down on the ground and absorbing the Earth’s energy is also a terrific way to connect.
Tools of Earth
Some tools that are associated with the element of Earth are the Pentacle or Pentagram which is often made of metal or wood to place on the altar for charging. I have also used a Crystal to represent Earth in my rituals. Salt and Soil are also both attuned to the element of Earth.
The element of Air is ever present in our lives but it is the most difficult to see or grasp. It is elusive and thought provoking. It fills our lungs as we breathe allowing us to live. It is fast moving and whimsical, changing directions sometimes flippantly. It is great for magic when you need a vast array of thoughts and ideas to get you going. It is also objective and sometimes distant, allowing you to stay detached from the issue at hand.
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Connecting with the Element of Air
On a windy day, take a trip outside and stand facing the wind. Feel it blowing against you and pushing you. Listen to it in the trees. Watch the sky and the clouds. Take a deep breath and appreciate it filling your lungs. Thank the element of Air during this for giving you its life filling essence.
Another way to connect is by lighting incense and watching the smoke. Make sure you are in a well ventilated area if you can. Light it and thank the flame for helping, and then sit with the incense. Watch the smoke and as you breathe in and out, meditate on the power of Air. You can say a simple prayer to call the Element of Air to be more present within your space with the incense smoke. Feel its presence and then thank it for its presence within your life.
Tools of Air
The tools of Air are either the Athame and Sword or Wand depending on your tradition. Tarot almost always ties Swords to this element. Other tools of Air are incense and smoke.
Many use a fifth element in their magic, that of Spirit. This is also seen as that which gives us all life. It can feel electrical when working with it. It is often used either when combining all the rest of the elements together to manifest or when one wants to connect with the divine.
Some might use a different system that uses these four basic elements above and additional ones to represent other key areas of their magic. These may be highly subjective but using them can bring more potent magic into your life. Play around and see if only the four or five elements work best for you or if a different breakdown works better.
Much of what we do in magic utilizes some version of the elements either in combination or alone. Building a relationship with that energy at its core is a good way to enhance its usage within your craft. Take some time to focus on each one by itself and then in combination with the others to see how they might enhance your magic.
Which one is your favorite element?