In modern-day Paganism, there is a good deal of focus on the Five elements – Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit.
While A Greek philosopher named Empedocles is credited with the cosmogenic theory of the 4 elements being the root of all existing matter, Greece was not the only culture to have these basic elements. Native Americans do, as well as India.
Each of the elements is associated with symbols, attributes and meanings, as well as with directions on the compass. The following directional associations are from Traditional British Witchcraft and Northern Tradition Shamanism. These are the ones Wyrd Sistrs uses in all our workings and practices.
Earth: Connected to the North, Earth is considered a feminine element. The Earth is fertile and stable, associated with the Goddess. The planet itself is a ball of life, and as the Wheel of the Year turns, we can watch all the aspects of life take place in the Earth: birth, life, death, and finally rebirth. The Earth is nurturing and stable, solid and firm, full of endurance and strength and prosperity. In color correspondences, green connects to the Earth. In Tarot readings, the Earth is related to the suit of Pentacles or Coins.
Air: Air is the element of the East, connected to the breath of life and is masculine in its energy. If you’re doing a working related to communication, wisdom or the powers of the mind, Air is the element to focus on. Air carries away your troubles, blows away strife, and carries positive thoughts to those who are far away or messages/prayers to the Gods and Goddesses or those who have crossed over. Air is associated with the color yellow, and connects to the Tarot suit of Wands, though this is a different stance than most other Pagans take.
Fire: Fire is a purifying, masculine energy, associated with the South, and connected to passion, motivation, drive, strong will and energy. Fire both creates and destroys, and symbolizes the fertility of the God. Fire can heal or harm, and can bring about new life or destroy the old and worn. In Tarot, Fire is connected to the Swords suit, though this is a different stance than most other Pagans take. For color correspondences, use red for Fire associations.
Water: Water is a feminine energy and highly connected with the aspects of the Goddess. Used for healing, cleansing, and purification. Water is related to the West, and associated with mystery, healing, cleansing, surrender, reflection and emotion. As you may expect, water is associated with the color blue, and the Tarot suit of Cup cards.
Spirit: is Female and male and no gender and all genders. it is associated with Ether, the Self, Divine Deities, higher powers, Quantum physics, Astral, other worlds, the Dead, ancestors, and the Web of Wyrd.
Learn these elements and their associations well. You will need to KNOW them to do magick, call quarters in circle and understand messages sent to you-like omens.
The Elements are also associated with certain tools we use in ritual and magick.
Earth is associated with the round Pentacle Disk.
Air is associated with the Wand.
Fire is associated with the Athame.
Water is associated with the Chalice.
Spirit is YOU.
However, most sources say that the Athame is associated with Air and the Wand is associated with Fire. My teacher taught me that this association does not make sense. People say wands are fire because energy passes through the wand, which makes it connected to Fire. But energy can be from any of the elements so that does not ring true as a good reason. Also, energy goes through an athame but those same people say it is Air.
She also told me that most Athames are metal and they DO have a connection with Fire in their making, so being connected to Fire makes more sense. Wands are waved in the air and have no connection with Fire. (A torch or Brand is NOT a wand)
This is what I was taught, this is what I teach. If you find you are pulled to the other associations, that’s fine, just know in our circle workings and practices we will be using the associations that I was taught until someone can give me a good reason to change.