Pagan Elements

The Pagan Elements are the basic building blocks of the world. In spiritual and magical practice, there are four earthly elements: Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. Each of these elements corresponds to one of the Cardinal Directions: East, North, West and South.  They also relate to different aspects of the human condition. Pagans use the elements to aid in magic and clarify divination.

Image "The Four Elements" By Raven Fabal

Image By RavenArt

Air

The element of Air relates to communication, abstract thought and analysis. It rules all mental activity from the start of an idea, to the questioning of the oldest ideas. Air provides breath of all life. It is the power of sound, speaking ideas and sharing knowledge. Air is all knowledge; there is no place on earth you can hide from the air.

Fire

Passionate emotions are ruled by the Element of Fire. It is the element of action, passion and change. Some say "life is the fire in which we all burn": life is constantly changing - that is the nature of fire. Fire can be anything from the light of a candle to the burning fury of the desert sun. It carries the power to make real the changes created by thought and emotion.  

Water

The Water Element is connected to emotion, intuition and psychic power. It is the power of purification and new beginnings. Conversely, it is the power of experience. It is from water that life first arose. The emotions of water are those that are calm, slow emotions. Water ranges from the smallest stream, to the  deepest pool, to the primordial ocean that both gives life and takes life away.

Earth

The Element of Earth gives solidity to the world. It rules all things related to the physical plane. This includes wealth and material abundance. All crystals carry the power of earth. Earth provides the anchor for the other elements to work upon.

Elemental Correspondences:

Element Air Fire Water Earth
Zodiac Signs Aquarius, Gemini, Libra Ares, Leo, Sagittarius Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Magic Uses Communication, Analyzing, Abstract Thought Passion, Powerful Emotion, Adventure, Activity Love, Healing, Psychic Ability Grounding, Protection
Direction East South West North
Season Spring Summer Autumn Winter
Symbols Bell, Chimes, Flute, Feather Flame, Incense Shell, Cups, Water Cornucopia, Scythe, Salt
Ritual Tools Wand, Staff Athame, Sword Chalice, Cup Pentacle

Alternate Element Systems

Spirit/Aether

In Wicca, a fifth element is added. Called Spirit or Aether, it is the higher power beyond the earthy, mundane or tangible elements.

Additional Information of the Wiccan Elements is available at:

Oriental Elements

In Chinese philosophy, there are five elements: Wood, Fire,  Earth, Metal, Water. These elements combine in different ways  to create everything that exists.

For more details on the Chinese elements, visit:

Native American Elements

Many Native American tribes use a system of elements similar to the European Pagan system above. Native American system place s a greater emphasis on the directions rather than the elements associated with them. In addition, the Cherokee (and possibly other tribes) add the directions of above, Below and Within. This creates a total of Seven Scared Directions.

For more information on the Scared Directions, visit:


Choosing a System of Elements

The most important thing is to use a system of Pagan Elements that makes sense to you. I have always used a four element system; the method you use is up to you. 

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