Introducing Elements and Elementals
The Western Ancient world divided the world into four basic principles or Elements -- Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. We can think of these magical elements as forces, or as 'qualities' of energy.
Colours and directions associated with the Elements vary, but are generally:
Air: Yellow or blue in the east
Confusing huh?! There are a lot of these correspondences. They are a way of relating the same energy to different systems or dimensions.
Some people feel it's important to get these 'right'. The ritual magician may surround him/herself with as many appropriate correspondences as (s)he can to create a stronger connection to the Element, Deities or whatever they are working with.
I don't get too hung up on correspondences, and work with what feels right for me or what I'm 'told' by the Elementals themselves. In my opinion, the key point of the correspondences is to vividly affect the senses and so allow you to be more in tune with the being you're going to work with. We're looking for congruence, as like attracts like. So, if it says in a book that the correspondent colour for Earth is black, but for you it's green, go with your intuition.
Dragon work with the directions as above unless there is an obvious natural reason not to. It seems a bit daft to be inviting in the Element of Earth from the North if there happens to be a sea sitting there.... In that case, just move the directions!
Why work with Elements and Elementals?
This goes way back. In all magical work, they are invited to bring power to the Circle, but for many of us it's also about connection and honouring Nature.
We are made up of these Elements: we breathe air, we use up and give out energy, we drink and piss, eat and shit, we have presence and are part of our environment. By inviting these forces and beings to our circle we recognise our unity with them, our connection, our relationship.
Spirit is a bit of a special case. Generally, Spirit is in the centre of the circle and is seen as the point where all the other Elements meet and merge. Spirit is All and Nothing, Still and Ever Moving, a spiral of stillness. If that confuses you, that's good! Spirit cannot be understood rationally, but it can be experienced.
Elements and Elementals
The Elements are Earth, Air, Fire and Water as 'Forces of Nature'. For example, the seas and oceans, rain, rivers, lakes etc. are expressions of the Element of Water.
The spirit beings that live in the Elements are Elementals. Elementals are to Elements what individuals are to a Nation.
Working with Primary Elementals
Elementals need something to 'house themselves' in. Air Elementals needs incense or an open window, Fire beings needs a candle or other flame, Water spirits are happy with a bowl of water, and Earth beings love a pot of earth. Spirit is OK without a physical object but needs to be given the centre space.
As you'd expect humans have given Elementals names: Gnome (Earth Elementals) Undine (Water Elementals) Salamander (Fire Elementals) Sylph (Air Elementals).
I don't often use these names, but if they work for you, go with it!
These Nature Elementals are usually only visible to people 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. That said, most people can learn to sense the presence of these beings. Just because you can't see spirit beings, don't think you don't sense them. Our culture puts a high premium on seeing, but don't buy into that. Can you smell, hear, taste, or most likely, feel their presence? You may feel them in you body - a gut sense - as a tingle on your skin, down your spine or at the back or your head. That's just a good as seeing them.
Similarly don't worry if they don't speak to you in the way you expect. I more often get information 'direct' - It just flows into my awareness without words and I sometimes can't express it verbally at all.
Do we work with Elements or Elementals?
Good question! It depends what you're doing. In a circle, it's actually quite a personal preference. I tend to blur the distiction, but other people will focus on Elements or Elementals.
If you want to communicate, Elementals are much easier, as they are beings like us, rather than forces or powers.
If you want to feel the power of nature, then go for Elements.
The Dragon style of inviting the Elements/Elementals to the Circle:
Everyone turns to the direction you have agreed to invite first. Some people call North first, others East, but follow your intuition. The attribution of the elements to compass points is also to be decided by the group. Most people use the attributes given above, but this is by no means fixed.
Invite the element of Air (East) by whistling. There are old stories of witches whistling up the wind, and sailors never whistle on board for fear of calling a storm.
Invite the element of Fire (South) by clapping sharply and out of rhythm, like the cracking of a wood fire. Dance about and whoop loudly if you feel like it. Fire is pure energy and like attracts like.
Invite the element of Water (West) by making the sound of waves or of dripping water. If you sway slowly as if you were at sea it helps too.
Invite the element of Earth (North) by drumming on the ground with your hands or stamping with your feet. Getting down on your knees & slapping the earth with your hands is great to connect with the element.
Invite the Spirits of the Place and the Fair Folk. Now the circle is cast and the energies invited the space and the group is ready for the working.
Working with other Elementals
There are also city-centric Elementals of electricity, concrete, etc. You're far more likely to see these being in the city. Very few people work with these city-centric Elementals, but it's worth knowing they are out there...
Elemental work is different from (though similar to) working with Fairies, Nature Spirits and Deities. We'll look at that in depth in another session.
Some material taken from: