Metaphysics of The Four Elements

Metaphysics of the Four Elements

In classical Greek thought, the four elements – Earth, Air, Fire and Water – frequently occur. A Greek text, the Kore Kosmou (Virgin of the World) states: “And Isis answer made: Of living things, my son, some are made friends with fire, and some with water, some with air, and some with earth, and some with two or three of these, and some with all. And, on the contrary, again some are made enemies of fire, and some of water, some of earth, and some of air, and some of two of them, and some of three, and some of all.”

The elemental system used in Medieval alchemy was rooted in these classical elements. The Kabbalah describes the universe as consisting of a combination of these four elements.

In the Book of the Zohar, the four basic elements are mentioned in the context of the creation the first human. The Book of the Zohar refers to the parallels between these elements and the four corners of the Earth, the four ministering Angels and more.

Many Pagans, Witches and Shamans assign correspondences to the classical elements:
• Element of Green Earth in the North
• Element of Yellow Earth in the East
• Element of Red Fire in the South
• Element of Blue Water in the West

Considering all the above, we can gain an understanding of the four classical elements and incorporate such into our spell work and ritual:
• Material Elements: Earth, Water, Air, Fire
• Cardinal Directions: North, West, East, South
• Natural Colors: Green, Blue, Yellow, Red
• Basic Characteristics: Cold & Dry, Cold & Wet, Hot & Wet, Hot & Dry
• Physical Orientations: Left, Behind, Front, Right
• Times of Day: Night, Dusk, Dawn, Noon
• Phases of the Moon: New Moon, Waning Moon, Waxing Moon, Full Moon
• Earth Seasons: Winter, Fall, Spring, Summer
• Periods of Life: Old Age, Maturity, Birth, Youth
• Ruling Archangels: Uriel, Gabriel, Raphael, Michael

Sometimes a fifth element or quintessence is included with the classical elements. This fifth element is called Aether in ancient Greece and Akasha in India. Many contemporary magical practitioners refer to it as Spirit.

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