One of the most important things you can learn as you begin your eclectic spiritual path is the elemental kingdom. Understanding the many correspondences associated with the four elements is essential. It will aid you in all areas of your spiritual practice and studies.
This article will look at each of the four elements, their importance in life, and their mystical representations. We will finish by briefly touching upon the fifth element of Spirit.
Please note that different traditions and schools of thought associate various correspondences to the elements. This does not necessarily make one more right or wrong than another. Still, it is crucial to understand the reasoning behind why they make the associations they make.
Additionally, Directional correspondence can differ from elemental correspondences. For example, the elemental correspondence of Earth is associated with Fall. The direction of the North is many times related to Winter and not Autumn.
As a beginner, my best advice is to pick only one system to study and stick with it – don’t confuse yourself by trying to learn too many correspondence systems too quickly.
Why are Correspondences Important?
Correspondences are vital because they give a person a mental framework – a category system – to understand and remember things more straightforward. For example, when you know that Fire is associated with the suits of wands in the tarot, you will understand that all wand cards deal in some manner with physical activity. Correspondences make learning easier and also are powerful ways of influencing the subconscious mind.
A General Understanding of Elements
Four energies make up everything in our world. They are Earth, Fire, water, and air. While each element has a physical representation, it’s essential to understand that we are not focused primarily on this material world representation. Instead, we are interested in those representations’ philosophical ideas when we speak of the four elements. Please keep this in mind as you continue reading.
The Element of Fire
Fire is our first element. It is most often represented in the physical world by flames. It is both hot and dry.
The philosophical idea behind Fire is applied will – or taking action.
In the tarot, the suit of wands is associated with the Fire element. In astrology, the signs Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are associated with Fire. This means that all of these are action-oriented by nature.
I was taught that the direction of Fire is in the south. The angel is Archangel Michael, the guardian, and protector of mankind. The elemental spirits or creatures are the salamanders, frequently appearing as little small flames. Dragons are often times associated with this element.
We also associate the season of Spring with this element, when people and animals are ready to emerge from winter isolation or hibernation and start becoming active again.
This is a very sexual element – and Fire represents both sex and passion. Still, it’s not romantic sex or “making love.” It’s wild passionate, animalistic sex or sex for pleasure and fulfillment of biological needs. This is also the element of flirtation.
The color is most often red, though some attribute orange to it too. It is masculine in nature and represents power and intensity.
The magick tool associated with the element is the wand because it is used to direct energy through a focused will. Additionally, the wand has an almost phallic like symbolism, representing masculine and sexual energy.
The age of youth is associated with Fire – because we are eager to take action and explore. We also are actively seeking ways to apply or will to the world around us.
The natural environment associated with Fire is the dessert.
To connect better with the Fire element, consider holding your hands over a burning flame and focusing on what you feel. Obviously, don’t burn yourself, but get in touch with how the fire element feels physically and translate it into philosophical ideas and qualities.
To easily add fire energy to your life, do something spontaneous.
Mastering the element of Fire helps to transmute anger into constructive and focused action. It also enables us to use our willpower in productive manners.
The Element of Water
Water is the next element. It is often represented in the physical world by – well – Water. It is both wet and cold.
The philosophical idea behind Water is emotional understanding and emoting.
In the tarot, the suit of cups is associated with the Water element. In astrology, the signs of Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are associated with Water. This means that all of these are naturally emotionally driven and feel emotions deeply.
I was taught that the direction of Water is in the West. The angel is Archangel Gabriel – the empathic messenger angel. The elemental spirits or creatures are the merfolk.
We also associate Summer with this element. This is when people feel most emotional and seek connections with others.
This is a very loving element – and Water represents both sex and love. Still, unlike fire, here it IS “making love” or romantic love.
The color is most often blue. It is feminine in nature and represents sensitivity and intuition.
The magick tool associated with the element is the chalice because it is used to consume and create energy. Additionally, the chalice represents female sexuality symbolism.
The age of adolescents is associated with Water – because we are falling in love for the first time.
All forms of nurturing and being nurtured are also attached to this element. It is an element that is known for its healing capacity.
The natural environment associated with the Water element is beaches.
To connect better with the Water element, consider holding your hands in running Water and focusing on what you feel. Get in touch with how the water element feels physically and translate it into philosophical ideas and qualities.
To easily add Water energy into your life, drink it, or offer sympathetic listening to someone who needs it.
Mastering the element of Water helps to better understand the motives and emotions of others. It also allows us to express ourselves emotionally better.
The Element of Earth
Next up is the element of Earth. It is often represented in the physical world by rocks, salt, sand, trees, and soil. It is both cold and dry.
The philosophical idea behind Earth is materialism and stability.
In the tarot, the suit of pentacles is associated with the Earth element. In astrology, the signs Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn are associated with Earth. This means that all of these naturally seek stability and are good at providing it to themselves and others in various ways.
I was taught that the direction of the Earth is in the North. The angel is Archangel Uriel – the angel of realism and illumination. The elemental spirits or creatures are gnomes or dwarves.
We also associate the season of Fall or Autumn with this element, when people start to wind down and begin to prepare for winter. It is a time of preparation or making sure things will be stable in the months to come.
This is a very tactile element. Touch and physical sensations are essential. In the tarot, pentacles represent money because people like to hold it and feel its tangibility.
The color is most often brown. It is feminine in nature and represents the maternal spirit.
The magick tool associated with the element is the stone or the pentacle because both are used to ground energy.
The age of adulthood is associated with Earth – because it is as adults that we are most concerned with practicality, stability, and building a promising future for ourselves and those we love.
The natural environment associated with the Earth element is the mountains.
To connect better with the Earth element, consider hugging a tree or playing in the dirt. Get in touch with how the Earth element feels physically and translate it into philosophical ideas and qualities.
To easily add Earth energy into your life, pay attention to tactile sensations as you touch and feel things.
Mastering the element of Earth helps a person to become more stable in life.
The Element of Air
Finally, we have the element of Air. It is often represented in the physical world by the wind. It is both hot and wet.
The philosophical idea behind Air is intellect and communication.
In the tarot, the suit of swords is associated with the Air element. In astrology, the signs Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are associated with Air. This means that all of these naturally seek to communicate and improve their mental facilities in some manner.
I was taught that the direction of Air is in the East. The angel is Archangel Raphael – the angel of healing. The elemental spirits or creatures are elves, fairies, or Sylphs.
We also associate the season of Winter with this element, when people are hibernating and going within. It is a time of reflection and remembrance. For some, it is a painful and depressing time. Two traits often associated with the suit of swords in the tarot are depression and mental anguish.
The color is most often blue though some also associate yellow with it. It is masculine in nature and represents the paternal spirit.
The magick tool associated with the element is the Sword or Athame because both are used to cut and direct energy.
The age of the elderly is associated with Air. Elderly folks tend to remember, withdraw into themselves, and seek to communicate their thoughts clearly to the younger generations.
The natural environment associated with the Air element is the forests.
To connect better with the Air element, consider sitting outside on a windy day and feeling the air blow through your body. Get in touch with how the Air element feels physically and translate it into philosophical ideas and qualities.
To easily add Air energy into your life, spend some time listening to a teacher, mentor, or advisor and processing the information.
Mastering the Air element helps a person communicate their ideas more effectively and be mentally astute and aware.
The Element of Spirit
Another element you will hear people talk about is the element of Spirit.
It is frequently associated with the center of a room as opposed to a directional point. Additionally, each individual person is also, in some manner, a representation of Spirit.
Spirit is how we use the elements. Spirit is what we do with the energy in our lives. Spirit can move from one elemental focus to another.
It is associated with the color white, though some traditions associate gold or silver with it.
It is neither male nor female. Instead, it is a mixture of both – an androgynous feeling.
It is associated with all seasons, and in the tarot, it represents the Major Arcana.
The archangel Metatron is most often associated with it, the angel who holds all records and all knowledge.
It represents unity and harmony, as well as that which is sacred.
When a person has mastered and synthesized all four elemental philosophies into their lives, they are operating from the energy or Spirit.
To easily add the energy of Spirit into your life, incorporate a daily practice of meditation, yoga, tai chi, saying prayers, or any other type of spiritual practice and discipline. Be consistent, and you’ll find it pays off.