Copyright (c) 1988 by Phil Hansford. This article is
is licenced for free non-commercial distribution only.
** MAGICK 4 -- ELEMENTS AND FORCES **
The Ancients divided the world into four basic
principles or *elements* -- earth, water, fire, and air.
That viewpoint has mostly changed with advances of science,
but the four elements are still accepted in magick, for they
are more closely linked with emotions, the human psyche, and
with nature than are modern explanations of the world. These
*magical elements* are also of some importance in astrology.
Many occultists think of the magical elements as forces, or
as *qualities* of energy; especially within the astral world.
Each element has a symbol and color. (Common symbols are --
fire: a triangle pointing up; air: a triangle pointing up
and with a horizontal line through the middle of it;
water: a triangle pointing down; earth: a triangle pointing
down and with a horizontal line through the middle of it.)
Colors of the elements are -- earth: brown and green;
water: blue; fire: red; air: yellow...The Eastern tattvic
system uses different symbols and colors. (The tattvic
symbols are briefly described later on in this course.)
The elements are often used in magick ritual.
Magick sees relationships between things. These
relationships are called 'correspondences'. Although magical
correspondences are not literally equal to one another, you can
think of them that way (such as gold equals sun). Tables of
these relationships, called 'Correspondence Tables', are
available (an important one is Crowley's '777'). Thus one thing
or symbol can be used to suggest another. This is important in
magick, for the magician may surround himself with as many
appropriate correspondences as he can to vividly affect the
senses; thus making his magical contact with the inner planes
The magical elements have correspondences with the
tarrot cards as the four suits. The four quarters (directions
of the universe as used in magick ritual) and the Archangels
also correspond with these same elements --
Element Suit Quarter Archangel
======= ==== ======= =========
earth pentacles north Uriel
water cups west Gabriel
fire wands south Michael
air swords east Raphael
Astrological signs also correspond with the elements.
Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn are earth signs. Cancer, Scorpio,
and Pisces are water signs. Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are
fire signs. Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are air signs.
The magical elements are said to be peopled by spirits
and mythological entities called elementals or nature spirits.
These are grouped into four main categories --
Gnome (earth) Undine (water) Salamander (fire) Sylph (air)
============= ============== ================= ===========
dwarfs nymphs jin (genies) fairies
elves tritons storm angels
Elementals are usually only visible to those with
clairvoyant sight and are more likely to be seen at night in
the mountains or country away from cities -- especially if you
are tired or sleepy. Although elementals exist naturally, it is
also possible to create one which will exist for a limited time
-- no elemental has immortality. A created elemental is called
an 'artificial elemental'.
To the Ancients, elementals were the physical
explanation of the universe. However, some contemporary
occultists see them only as symbols for forces and otherwise
not 'real' at all. Another word sometimes used for elemental is
'familiar' (usually in medieval witchcraft); the term is
ambiguous, as it might merely be an ordinary household pet such
as a dog or cat.
Chinese philosophy and acupuncture talk of yin yang.
This is the idea of polarity, or opposite pairs, as shown --
The list could go on. In Chinese literature it is quite long.
Some occultists suggest everything can be similarly arranged
into related opposite pairs.
Here is a simple magical technique you may wish to
try. It is a variation of affirmation, which was discussed
in an earlier lesson...To help you to achieve your goal
(magical or otherwise), find a word or short phase which sums
up what it is that you want to accomplish. Write the word (or
phrase) down 10 times each day until you achieve success.
1) List the four elements.
2) What is an elemental?
3) What are correspondences?
William Britten, Art Magic (long out of print, but in some
Pete Carrol, Liber Null.
Wing-Tsit Chan, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy.
Manly Hall, Unseen Forces.
Phil Hansford, 4/88
(818) 353-8891 (modem)
P.O. Box 83
Tujunga, CA 91042