Fire. Water. Air. Earth.
The elements are witches’ tools- our raw creative materials and the source of the songs that come from the deepest parts of our souls. Fire, Water, Air, and Earth are the foundation of our physical reality. When we engage with them – when we learn the secrets of their magick – we become an embodiment of the fifth element – Spirit.
These five forces of nature together form the most important symbol of the witch – the pentagram. Whether worn round the neck or inscribed into the air with a ritual dagger, this symbol is the embodiment of Nature’s power within us.
Many of us are drawn to a particular element – whether from our astrological charts, our life experiences, or some deep calling within our hearts – we can feel a special kinship with one of the four.
Are you always able to start a fire, no matter the harsh conditions, does tending a hearth and a flame warm your heart, along with your body? Do you just have to have a candle burning to make a house a home? You may have a special bond with fire.
Does your heart skip a beat with the sight of river or mountain lake, do you have to walk barefoot in the ocean for a trip to the beach to be complete? Is a long hot bath or shower your perfect idea of relaxing? Your kinship may be to water.
Do you thrill at the sound of the whistling wind in a storm or lean heavy into the strong gale and let it cradle you? Do you always crave an open window, year-round – no matter the temperature? Does a summer breeze on your skin strike you as the most delicious sensation of all time? Your heart may be of air & the breeze speaks to you its secret language.
Or maybe you just love to have your hands in the dirt of the garden and you know the magick of growing plants and the mysteries of wildcrafted herbs. A tree-hugger, a green thumb… you may be a child of earth.
Yet a witch needs to know the secrets of all the elements in balance – so you mustn’t get too comfortable where you feel at home. Venture out. Learn the nuances of each element in its turn and you will come to hold great power and peace within yourself as a vessel of Spirit.
To be grounded, whole, and balanced, a witch learns to speak the language of each element harmoniously… never to banish or invoke excessively to throw off the wondrous balance of the natural world. Just subtly release that which is not needed and draw in that which is required. Let the elements move through you. Learn to listen. Learn to do just enough. Invite the elements to gather around you and tell their secret wisdom.
The path of the witch is a learning path, a path of curiosity, wonder, mystery, discernment. The elements are your first guides. They are your best friends & can be your harshest critics if you do not heed their teachings.
How can you get to know them as you walk the path of the witch, with wisdom and wonder?
To begin: let them become a part of your daily life. Think of all the ways they show up in the subtle and mundane world. See them as you as you cook a meal, burn a candle, drink fresh water, take a breath, pause to see the individual leaves of a tree rustle in the breeze, or hold a stone in your hand.
Next: build them into the rhythm of your ritual work. The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram is the single most important piece of ceremonial magick a witch can learn; but there are many smaller ways to move in harmony with the Elements. Purification and Consecration are two such ways – mixing salt and water or hyssop and water joins two connected forces of water and earth to cleanse and release. You can do this in a bath for yourself to prepare for any ritual work or to make a mindful transition – such as from the workday into the evening, or after a difficult experience. You may also incorporate purification into any ritual work by sprinkling salt water counter clockwise in a circle to cleanse your space before and after working any magick – or to wash a tool or weapon in preparation for consecration.
Consecration joins the active elements of air and fire. Once a space is cleansed by water and earth, the consecration blesses it with air and fire. Most commonly, through burning incense – yet smudging sage & other botanicals also joins these elements.
To form a deep and balanced connection with the Elements, cast your circle to work within, using a sword or athame (ritual dagger) to create the space, moving deosil (clockwise), thrice around the space. Find a verse or a poem that speaks to you to recite as you circumambulate.
If you are at a loss for your own words, look to the witches who have come before you. Doreen Valiente is a wonderful witch-poet, I often turn to for inspiration.
Mysterious water and fire,
The Earth and the wide-ranging air,
By hidden quintessence we know them,
And will and keep silent and dare.
The birth and rebirth of all nature,
The passing of winter and spring,
We share with the life universal,
Rejoice in the magical ring.
(excerpt of “The Witches’ Creed” from Witchcraft for Tomorrow)
In time, you may discover your own poet-voice in your ritual work, or you may be drawn deeper and deeper into learning the history of those who came before. Both are valid and wise ways to work… find what speaks to you.
Once you have created your magical space with words and motion, return to the center of the circle. Mix water and salt or water and hyssop, give blessings to the Mother, and move to the west. Sprinkle water in each point of a triangle, starting in the west, moving widdershins (counterclockwise) to the southeast, then the northeast, then back to the west. Return to center again. Mix fire and air in the form of incense or sage and bless the Father. From center, move to the east and smudge or incense in a deosil triangle – in east, southwest, northwest, and back again to the east, inscribing a Hexagram into your circle.
Royalty free Hexagram image: https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-judaism-sumbol-image20697406
Come to center again. Breathe deep, letting the air come into you heels, rooting you into the earth. Exhale, release the breath out thought the crown of your head into the sky. Feel supported by the ground beneath you. Stand or lay on the earth with your limbs spread wide in a star shape – feeling the balance and equipoise of the elements in your very flesh, blood, veins, bones, and breath. Let your body become the sigil of the pentagram.
From here, you may wish to add the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram – banishing if you need to release, invoking if you need to manifest. You may simply come to stillness and meditate in this place of balance… There may be a nourishing quiet or emptiness… you may come to hear, in this sacred silence, guides who lead you deeper into your path.
Listen. Feel. Be still and receive the wisdom that Nature is whispering in your ear. Come into harmony with each of the elements, respectively.
When you are ready, release your circle by walking around widdershins three times to unravel it… then walk forth in the world with Fire, Water, Air, Earth in your bones & Spirit in your heart.
Fire. Water. Air. Earth. The elements are witches’ tools- our raw creative materials and the source of the songs that come from the deepest parts of our souls. Fire, Water, Air, and Earth are the foundation of our physical reality. When we engage with them – when we learn the secrets of their magick – […]