Earth is the element that is basic to our survival, our grounding, and it is from the Earth that we have sprung, and to which we shall all return, until the time that we are reborn, again upon Earth.
Earth equates to molecules in their cold and least excitable state.
From a psychological point of view it is about practicality, common sense, what is workable, solid and reliable.
The astrological signs related to this element are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.
The elementals of Earth are called gnomes. When we invite or summon elemental forces to be present, to give power and protection, we might specifically call on one species of elemental to help us in a selected endeavour. If our working was about the creation of a beautiful garden, for instance, we would ask for the help of the gnomes to bring this about.
The gnomes are about the power of elemental Earth, and as such one of the factors involved in plant growth, ore, gems, crystals, etc. but they are not quite the same as the nature spirits that tend plants, flowers and trees.
The gnomes can be grumpy and reserved, industrious and very close guardians of Mother Earth and her resources. You can make friends with gnomes, nature spirits and many other types of faery by showing respect for the Earth and by doing your bit to look after a plot of soil.
Ask the help of the gnomes for anything practical – gardening, craftwork, building anything solid. Go out and touch solid rock, or place your hands in the soil, or even sit in a cave, and imagine the presence of the gnomes. Frame your request clearly and ask for their help. Pledge a gift in return and thank them in anticipation.
The element of Air relates to our ability to think, to analyse, to be detached and reflective, so we may understand, feel free and find inspiration. Gaseous molecules are at their most free moving, swiftest and lightest.
Most gases are quite invisible and yet they can seep into all but the most carefully sealed places. Like thought they move with great speed, but they can be seen only by their manifestation, as the trees bend in the wind..
The astrological signs Gemini, Libra and Aquarius are Air signs, and the Air elementals are called sylphs.
The sylphs can help us in any matter where we seek to become detached, to see the whole picture as a bird on the wing sees the panorama of hill, valley, wood and field, and is not blinded by what is under its beak. Sylphs can cleanse and clarify, freeing the mind of its cobwebs and so open the way to the true power of the liberated spirit. The sylphs are not amused by sacred cows, nor do they appreciate pollution of their sphere by smoke and gases that affect the atmosphere. You could call on the help of the sylphs for a coming exam, or an interview, where you need to keep your mind sharp and clear, or for some problem where you feel you are ‘missing something’. Naturally, you will feel closest to the sylphs if you can climb up to the top of a hill, where the air is fresh. Breathe deeply and call on these ethereal beings. Do not forget to promise a gift in return.
When a substance is on fire its molecules are in a state of great excitement and transformation. Fire can eat up and destroy, it can cleanse and purify, it can throw ‘new light’ on a situation and it provides warmth, cheer and a raising of the spirits. Fire is very exciting.
At the depths of a bonfire there shines a magical world ‑ this is the world of the salamanders, or fire spirits.
Seeing ‘fire pictures’ is an act of drawing closer to the salamanders and, if we are lucky, we may catch a glimpse of them in their ethereal dance within the flames.
Fire relates to inspiration and to vision that is beyond the here and now, to the act of projecting consciousness into the future, going boundaries (as a firework may do) and to unpredictable places, to stimulate the imagination and to be creative. It is an element of energy in its purest form.
The Fire signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.
You may call on the salamanders for help when you need some extra sparkle, for warmth, joie de vivre, courage and, inspiration, such as when you are about to appear on stage, give a talk, or if you are attempting anything which, for you, is challenging. They can also show some amazing perspectives, not necessarily with the breadth of the sylphs, but with greater inspiration, where the impossible may be seen to be possible, from some quirky angle. A simple gift to the salamanders can be the lighting of a suitable fire such as a candle in order to invite their presence The flames inspiration are pleasing to the salamanders.
We know that Molecules in their liquid state are at once fluid but accessible to the senses. We can feel water, identify it, contain it in a bowl, immerse ourselves in it, and yet water runs off us, runs from between our cupped fingers and escapes from bowl or bucket, when this is overset, running away into cracks and crannies, never more to be gathered.
Water exists in a special relationship to life on Earth.
Water is the element that relates to the emotions, to tradition, community, feeling and love.
The Water signs are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces, and the Water elementals are called the undines.
The undines are graceful and beautiful, for the most part, but they may be allied to more terrifying creatures such as the Water Kelpie, which appears as a young horse, lures riders inescapably on to his back and takes them down into the river’s depths and drowns them; or the Water Wraith, a dreadful scowling female who lures or drags travellers under the surface to a watery demise.
Psychologically this relates to the waters of the unconscious overwhelming the conscious mind.
The undines may be a little put out by the fact that we devalue the world of dreams, our roots and ancestry in favour of the ‘rational’. However, they are gentle beings with a love of music and beauty. We are all familiar with the traditional mermaid and her enchanting singing, although undines may be of either sex or no sex at all.
The undines can help you to cleanse your heart, to find consolation in sorrow and to find love, especially to open out to a deep love of nature and the love that is waiting there in return.
They may help with family matters and in gaining an instinctual wisdom and understanding.
Naturally you can draw close to the undines near rivers, lakes and the ocean. A gift in return could be some act of cleansing of waterways, even if it just pulling some weeds out of a choked pond.
‘Summoning’ is an appropriate word in some respects, for we need to be very definite and focused, so that we send out a very clear call. As we summon them, we honour them and delight in them for their purity and brilliance. The elemental monarchs are generally glad to help, for anything that fosters understanding between humans and the spirit world and that draws us closer to the world of nature is welcomed by them.
However, to imagine that we can command these beings is a mistake, for they are more powerful and more far-seeing than we are, and they come because they want to. Also, time being different in their world, from our perspective they have plenty of it, albeit our sense of urgency is not lost on them.
The elementals must always be thanked before they depart.
The elements are always brought into the cast circle, for example literally as water in a chalice, earth as a stone or a pentagram engraved on a disk, fire as candle-flame and air as incense.
Certain symbols also designate the elements, for instance the ritual knife or athame equates with air and the cutting edge and focus of the intellect, while the wand or staff is linked with fire. However, it is well known that faeries do not like iron and, for this reason, some traditions forbid anything metal in the circle. Thus your choice of athame would need to be one made from flint, or wood. This may relate to the relationship between the faeries and the people of pre-Iron Age civilization, to their dislike of the despoiling of the Earth necessary to extract iron, or perhaps because metal, being a good conductor of electricity, disrupts their subtle energy patterns.