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
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 more lucid.
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
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 Mysteria (818) 353-8891 (modem)
P.O. Box 83 Tujunga, CA 91042
maintained by Jeff Morton / Ioldanach@yahoo.com / Ioldanach@yahoo.com