Magic honors the four elements of the universe, also known as the elements of earth, fire, water, and air. All these elements are necessary for life and work in harmony to create and sustain life. Practitioners, witches, and spell casters use these elements as part of their spells and rituals.
There are no better or worse elements. Each one has its own weaknesses and strengths. But having a deep understanding of each element and your dominant one (or ones) will help you better understand yourself and develop stronger connections with loved ones and strangers. You can also work on channeling the elements you embody less frequently to create more balance.
We are all made of these four elements
From a physical perspective:
Earth: The body is built from the same building blocks as the earth beneath your feet, and we fuel our bodies by eating fruits and vegetables grown in the soil.
Air: You can only survive for so long without air (5-10min).
Fire: Electrical impulses whizz through the body, stimulate the muscles and fire up our neurons.
Water: Your body (adult) weight is 60% water, and you can only survive for so long without water (about 3 days).
From a spiritual perspective:
Earth: Earthing (also known as grounding) is planting your feet on the land helps to ground and center your energy. A self-soothing skill to use when you are having a bad day or dealing with a lot of stress, overwhelming feelings, and/or intense anxiety. Grounding is a technique that helps keep you in the present and helps reorient you to the here and now and to reality.
Air: The element of air represents the mind, inspiration, and imagination. It is the element of new life and new possibilities. Connecting to your breath for example helps you open your higher chakras, be in the present moment and cultivate inner peace.
Fire: The element of fire is passionate and it transforms everything in its path. Candle magic is one of the simplest forms of fire magic. Burning away the old to uncover the new. The element of fire is present any time we go through shedding and transformation.
Water: Water is the element that sustains all life. No living thing in this world can survive without it. Its power is evident in its ability to either grow and sustain (eg. growing a plant) or destroy (eg. tsunami, erosion, etc). Human beings consist primarily of water. It’s only logical that the element of water speaks to our own personal growth and regeneration. It is a heavy and passive element that is opposite in nature to fire. Being in the water is a way to energetically cleanse and rejuvenate. It’s soothing and also recreates the feeling of being held.
Note: Witches, Wiccans, and Pagans believe there is a fifth element which is Spirit, and will call on these elements any time they perform a ritual or spell.
In ancient times, people were a lot more deeply connected to the elements. They would make their own fire, find clean water sources to drink and bathe in a river or lake, grow crops to feed themselves, and spend more time outside enjoying the fresh air.
Although our lives have changed due to technology, we still need all four elements and use them in everything we do.
Personality Traits of the 4 Elements
You can’t have one element without the other. Each element relies on another. For example, we need water to put out fires and nourish the earth. Fire needs oxygen to grow, and the earth needs the wind to move it. Water needs fire to be heated, and so on.
Let’s explore the qualities, strengths, and weaknesses of each element in more detail.
The Element of Earth
Earth is the element of stability, practicality, and realism. Someone with a strong earth presence will likely be a solid, reliable person who sets achievable goals and works hard to manifest them. They are always moving, doing, and working on something. They have a natural talent for making a house a home and infusing it with a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
The earth represents the whole of nature. Rocks, salt, soil, and rolling hills all represent the element of earth. Caves are considered a part of the earth. Earth is considered female and contains the direction of North. It is associated with the time of midnight because places under the earth are considered dark. Earth also represents pregnancy and fertility. Brown and black are considered earth colors. On the Wiccan altar, salt is used to represent the earth.
Earth rules over the natural world, growth, physical body, stability, self-perception, material wealth, and silence. Earth elements can also be rigid and stubborn in their beliefs and ways of doing things.
|Direction: North||Chakra: Root|
|Season: Winter||Crystals: Onyx, jet, malachite, Jade, Hematite, Turquoise, Aventurine|
|Number: 4, 8||Plants: sage, mint, thyme, fennel, Valerian, lavender, holly, carnation, pine, oak|
|Time: Midnight||Animals: Bear, wolf, deer, cow, bull, ox, snake|
|Color: Green||Associations: Prosperity, abundance, money, wealth, animals, stability, nature, |
strength, home, nature, protection
|Gender: Feminine||Types of Magic: Prosperity, grounding, fertility, ancestors, protection, household|
|Witch’s Tool: Pentacle, Salt, Stones||Shadows: Irrational, Gullible, Unstable, Lack of a clear sense of self, Lack of structure, Easily drained and overwhelmed by other’s emotions|
|Zodiac: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn||Strengths: Stable, Reliable, Practical, Hard-working, Loyal, Logical, Empathetic,|
|Planets: Earth, Venus, Saturn|
|Tarot: Suit of Pentacles|
|Runes: Othala, Inguz, Ehwaz, Berkano, Eihwaz, Jera, Ansuz, Uruz, Fehu|
The Element of Air
Air is the element of logic, the mind, and communication. They are most likely in their head rather than their heart and will apply methodical logic to any decision they must make. Intelligence, focus, and rationality are key themes here.
People with a strong connection to air will often be charismatic, witty, and brilliant at giving speeches. However, if there’s a lack of Water connection, air people will often be insensitive to people’s feelings, which can lead to a struggle in relationships.
The element of air is represented by the sky, wind, and clouds. The peaks of high mountains are also assigned to the element of air because they reach into the sky. This element represents knowledge and intellect. It is said that ideas come straight from the air and that thought is representative of the air. In terms of “practicability”, this element is the opposite of earth. Earth is considered practical, air impractical. The direction of the air is east because the sun rises in the east. Air rules over the following: wisdom, intuition, logic, theory, learning, fertility, new starting, future planning, and plan making.
For this reason, morning is the time of day associated with air. Spring is also associated with this element, as it stands for new beginnings and the male gender. The colors of the element are yellow, white, and sky blue. His magical tools are wands, incense sticks, rattles, bells, feathers, and fans.
|Direction: East||Chakra: Heart|
|Season: Spring||Crystals: Zircon, aquamarine, garnet, Clear Quartz, opal|
|Number: 5,11||Plants: Allspice, azalea, clove, Lily of the valley, mulberry, apple, honeysuckle|
|Time: Dawn||Animals: Birds, flying insects, ladybugs, dragonflies, bees, butterflies|
|Color: Yellow, white, sky blue||Associations: Mental power, communication, thought, intellect, teaching, freedom, travel, beginnings, happiness, laughter|
|Gender: Masculine||Types of Magic: Visualization, creativity, finding lost objects, studying, astral travel, travel, communication, divination, telepathy|
|Witch’s Tool: Athame, Dagger, Wand, Censer, Incense||Shadows: Irrational, Gullible, Unstable, Lack of a clear sense of self, Lack of structure, Easily drained and overwhelmed by other’s emotions|
|Zodiac: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius||Strengths: Intelligent, Logical, Focused, Independent, Charismatic, Entertaining,|
Big picture perspective, Flexible
|Planets: Neptune, Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus|
|Tarot: Suit of Swords|
|Runes: Dagaz, Mannaz, Tiwaz, Sowilo, Algiz, Eihwaz, Gebo, Raidho|
The Element of Fire
The element of fire is different from the other magical elements. Fire has no geography and is just itself.
It is an outsider, out of all control, for it does not follow normal rules. Fire is associated with volcanoes and the desert. Hot chilies and cumin are associated with fire in a herbal sense. Fire is regarded as a male element and is considered to be focused outward from the self. Fire rules over energy, passion, purification, healing, our spirit, joy, and destruction.
Fire is the element of passion and warmth, but this can easily turn to the intensity and blinding rage if not managed. People with a lot of fire tend to be the life of the party and a walking ray of sunshine. They also tend to be natural leaders and possess a magnetic radiance. Fire is the element of transformation; with this, they can transform any negative situation into a positive one and vice versa. Fire means stubbornness and power. It is the spark that gives a spell its power.
Fire is a healing element, and its direction is south. Its time of day is midday when the sun is highest in the sky. Fire represents the germ that springs from a seed.
Its colors are orange, red, and yellow. The magical tool of fire is the candle.
|Direction: South||Chakra: Solar Plexus|
|Season: Summer||Crystals: Ruby, Carnelian, Sunstone, Citrine, Obsidian, Hematite, Amber, Tiger-eye, |
|Number: 1,3||Plants: Almond, saffron, sunflower, ash, maple, cayenne, marigold|
|Time: Noon||Animals: Lion, cat, snake, lizard|
|Color: Red||Associations: Passion, courage, creativity, anger, desire, action, the will, sex, lust, energy, work, destruction, strength|
|Gender: Masculine||Types of Magic: Love, protection, healing, banishing, exorcism, empowering, success, purification|
|Witch’s Tool: Wand, Sword, Rod, |
|Shadows: Anger and rage, Vindictive, Jealousy and possessiveness, Obsession,|
Unfaithful, Easily irritated
|Zodiac: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius||Strengths: Bright, Passionate, Warm, Decisive, Daring, Magnetic, Leadership qualities,|
|Planets: Sun, Mars|
|Tarot: Suit of Wands|
|Runes: Dagaz, Eihwaz, Nauthiz, Kenaz, Thurisaz, Fehu|
The Element of Water
Water is represented as lakes and oceans. The moon is associated with water because it influences the tides. Any creature that lives in the sea is associated with this element, as well as whales and dolphins. It is a feminine element associated with feelings of emotion and mood swings. Childbirth relates to water as it relates to the amniotic fluid. The direction of the water is the west, and the colors are turquoise, blue, and silver. In ritual, the element is represented by a simple bowl of water. Some Wiccans add a shell to make it even more like the sea.
Water is the element that is calm, ever-flowing, and fluid. Most of its activity happens beneath the surface, just like our emotions. People with a lot of water tend to be kind, caring, sensitive, and empathetic. They feel deeply, and this allows them to easily relate to others. However, this also means they can often pick up and carry other people’s burdens and energy, which can drain and exhaust them. Boundaries and energy work are essential here. And because their emotions are ever-changing, they can sometimes be irrational and volatile.
Similarly, water rules over the following things: love, intuition, the womb, feelings, divination, and exploring our unconscious mind.
|Direction: West||Chakra: Sacral|
|Season: Autumn||Crystals: Pearl, Jade, Sapphire, Amethyst, Calcite, moonstone, rose quartz, coral|
|Number: 2||Herbs: Water Lily, orchid, iris, jasmine, lotus, raspberry, willow, ylang-ylang|
|Time: Dusk||Animals: Any that lives in water|
|Color: Blue, sea green, silver||Associations: Passion, courage, creativity, anger, desire, action, the will, sex, lust, energy, work, destruction, strength|
|Gender: Feminine||Types of Magic: Love, protection, healing, banishing, exorcism, empowering, success, purification|
|Witch’s Tool: Chalice, Cauldron||Shadows: Irrational. Gullible, Unstable, Lack of a clear sense of self, Lack of structure,|
Easily drained and overwhelmed by other’s emotions
|Zodiac: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces||Strengths: Caring, Compassionate, Feeling, Sensitive, Empathetic, Understanding, |
Flexible, Forgiving, Devoted, Feminine
|Planets: Neptune, Moon, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Pluto|
|Tarot: Suit of Cups|
|Runes: Inguz, Laguz, Perthro, Eihwaz, Isa, Hagalaz, Wunjo|
The Element of Spirit
The spirit, also called Akasha or Ether, isn’t an element per se, but it is commonly included as a magical element as the fifth point of the pentagram. The spirit is the binding force between the other elements that run through all other matters and the source of magic. Spirit creates everything, enlivens everything, and abides in everything. Therefore, it is always present. When a ritual is performed, or a spell is cast, the practitioner connects with the spirit and elevates her spell work from the physical realm to the divine realm. The spirit is energy, which flows through everything and everywhere and has not yet achieved a form or substance. It is the primal source of energy that fuels and creates the elements: Air, Water, Fire, and Earth.
The spirit rules over transportation, transcendence, finding out the mystery, and keeping other elements balanced.
|Direction: Center||Types of Magic: Transformation, power, spiritual, religious|
|Season: All||Crystals: Diamond, Quartz Crystal, Onyx, Jet|
|Time: Present, Eternity||Plants: Mistletoe, nightshade, coltsfoot|
|Color: Purple||Animals: Unicorn, Sphinx|
|Gender: Androgynous||Associations: Transcendence, power, time, unification, transformation, magic, alchemy, divination|
Connecting With the Elements & Creating Harmony In Your Life
1. Immerse yourself in the nature
We have become disconnected from the natural elements as we’ve connected deeper with technology. But we are deeply connected to these whether we acknowledge it or not, and reconnecting with the physical elements in nature can help us bring elemental wisdom back into our daily lives and interactions.
Go for a walk in the forest. Dance in the rain. Sunbathe. Moonbathe. Make a bonfire and toast marshmallows over it alone or with your nearest and dearest. Run into the ocean or a lake. Meditate outdoors and breathe in the fresh air.
2. Be Mindful of Each Element
Do you notice each of the four elements? For example, do you really feel it when you take a deep breath of air? Do you notice the nourishment of a blissful bath or shower and how you step out feeling relaxed and renewed? How about when you see the first blooms in early spring or the cherry blossom trees bloom into magical, giant candy-floss-like wonders? Or the warmth and magnetic pull of a real indoor or outdoor fire on a cold winter night?
Being mindful in these moments and appreciating their beauty is enough.
3. When Do you feel these elements within?
Can you recall a time when you felt fully grounded and centered (earth)? A time when you had full clarity and focus of the mind (air)? A time when you felt wide open and connected to everyone (water)? How about a time when you felt incredibly passionate or creative like nothing would stand in the way of your desire (fire)?
Revisiting these moments and how you felt can help you embody more of the four elements.
4. Cultivate awareness of your dominant elements
Most of us have a good sense of our dominant elements, and reading the descriptions above will likely have confirmed this for you. Knowing which elements you embody most can help you better understand your strengths, see where you need balance, and which elements can assist with that.
For example, if the fire is your dominant element, your strengths are your passion, creativity, and magnetic radiance. But if you also know that you tend to blow a fuse quickly and fly off the handle, being a little more mindful (air) or empathetic toward other people’s feelings in those situations (water) will help you cultivate more balance and harmony.
5. Bring the four elements into your space
Another way to embody all four elements is to incorporate objects that represent the elements in your home or on your sacred altar. This includes crystals, jewelry, plants, stones, soil from the earth, shells, candles, and more.
Here are some ideas to get your inspiration flowing:
- Some soil from the earth
- A plant or bunch of flowers
- Herbs (fresh or dried)
- Crystals (rich green, brown, and deep red ones tend to have earthy energy)
- A diffuser with some essential oils
- A wand
- Smoke (from burning your herbs or incense)
- A feather
- A fan
- A dreamcatcher
- Objects of creatures with wings (butterflies, bees, birds, dragonflies, fairies, etc.)
- A candle
- Burning herbs or incense
- Matches or a lighter
- An athame
- Crystals (yellow, orange, and vibrant red ones tend to have fiery energy)
- Some water from a river, stream, or the ocean
- A cauldron or chalice (pour your water in this)
- Some sand from the beach
- Crystals (blue, turquoise, and light green ones tend to have watery energy)
We are earth, air, fire & water
No matter what your dominant element or elements are, we are all made of all four elements and can embody the energy and gifts of any of these at any time. Being more mindful of the elements in your external world and your inner world will help you notice subtle imbalances and work on harmonizing them.