The Four Great Powers
As long as magic itself, one of the most fundamental abilities of a magician has been to attempt to control the four raw powers of the elemental system. The four refer to Fire, Air, Earth, and Water. The ability to feel these energies, understand them, and to move them is the study of the Elemental Mage. Throughout their practice different casters will experience different degrees of success no matter which art is practiced, but Elemental magic is often considered one of the most difficult arts to progress in and thus there are few practitioners. It is also difficult because of the nature of the magic itself: it deals purely with the real and tangible facets of the four elemental powers, not with the ethereal correspondences of the elements as an Enchanter would. As such, it tends to be seen as an “all or nothing” art where you clearly succeed or fail every time. Also, as a matter of practicality, few have a real need for this kind of power anymore (due to many of the necessities being provided for by technology) and thus the caste tends to be left behind, to a certain extent. Regardless of this fact, however, many have felt the call to gird themselves with elemental knowledge and harness the natural powers around them.
Focussing only on the physical manifestations of the four elements, each has unique uses and capabilities when properly applied. “Heat” energy, as we know it, is not perfectly synonymous with Fire magic. Though to an Elemental Mage the two are very similar, there is a missing aspect in the concept of heat which restricts it to this level. For the Elemental Mage, all things which produce heat are also giving off the mystical equivalent of heat energy. In this way, Fire energy can also be used to metaphysically detect things which produce heat, and even, in extreme circumstances, to focus the ethereal form of heat into a physical manifestation of flame itself, thus creating pure flame from seemingly nothing. Keeping in mind the physical principles governing combustion it becomes readily apparent why feats of this nature are rare, at best. Through enough practice and concentration, however, the Elemental mage learns how to absorb heat energy from all things around them, as a unified action, and bring it to bear against a target. This can be to warm the caster, to warm an inanimate target, or a friend. It can be used to find things generating heat, and to control preexisting sources of heat such as flame and mirage.
Air is another of the elemental manifestations, and is usually the first element an Elemental Mage finds control of. Due to its already volatile nature and tendency to change the Elemental Mage can find their first successes, usually,in attempts to change wind direction. Breezes can carry smell, keep away noxious fumes, cool the caster or something targetted by the caster, and may be the edge required to start a fire that just will not light. There are far too many uses of wind and air to be listed here; truly, we see the effects of wind every day, as even now we breathe the air and can describe what the wind conditions in our area are like. It can be used to regulate heat, it can affect our senses in various ways, and is an overall good place to start. Wind constantly moves, constantly changes, and in that spirit we may influence them without much resistance.
Earth, however, is the difficult counterbalance to Air. It is firm and reists all kinds of change, hence the Elemental Mage must exert themselves to a rare degree to find anything more than a nominal skill with this element. Earth is the foundation of most life, and by this merit it can be used to lend aid to dying plantlife, choke out undesired plantlife, sense creatures within the caster’s spell range, and to basically know that which the earth would be able to relate (not as an intelligent entity, but as an extension of one’s own senses, such as feeling the tremors of other animals, feeling the stability of a certain area to step on, etc.) Some Elemental Mages claim the ability to predict and cause certain events such as earthquake, famine, drought, siroccos, frost, snow, hail, sleet, fog, and other types of natural manifestation by making full use the the Earth element to gain knowledge and control of the environment.
Lastly, there is the practice of controlling the water. Water can be used in much the same way as Earth in that the tremors it carries can be interpretted by the Elemental Mage to extend their range of sensation and know things they would normally be oblivious to. Water abides in many of the things that we see daily. The air contains some, the ground contains some, and various materials or substances (including human flesh) have quantities in them. Elemental Magic concerning water can be seen in a great deal of cultures which still rely heavily on agriculture, and in the history of cultures which did. The “Rain Dance” is a prime example of water elemental magic at work. To cause rain to fall at will, or conversely, as the Biblical characters of Moses, Elijah, and the Two Prophets of Revelation 11, to cause it to stop is the baliwick of the elemental magician.
The abilites of the Elemental mage varies greatly, and intimate knowledge of the elements gives intimate knowledge of the physical world around and its innermost mechanics. To truly understand the world around an Elemental mage is only a matter of learning and harnessing the ways of nature.
What do you think of at the mention of the word elements? Do you picture the wild elements raging? Hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms? Or perhaps you remember the periodic table of the elements?
Elements are the basic building blocks of matter.
For example, the atoms of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen make up all humans, animals and plants on our world. The elements that I’m talking about – Air, Earth, Fire and Water – are the spiritual essence of specific forces around us.
The ancient Greeks considered them the building blocks of the world. They noticed various properties of natural objects, such as differing degrees of heat, dryness, moisture, solidity, and fluidity. Each magical element has a different property and function.
The first step is to become one with the element you want to work with. Allow it to fill you completely and become a part of you. Remember you are working with an energy greater than yourself. You must be at one with the element before it can affect you. Feel that you are made of only the element you have chosen. Say to yourself, “I am one with Infinite (name of element),” until you feel as though you are that element. Feel the infinite energy of the element coursing through you, and know that it has the power to affect you. See yourself as taking on the characteristics that this larger power possesses.
A useful exercise is practicing becoming in tune with the different elements.
- For water, float in a pool or play in the bath.
- For earth, go lie down in a field or forest, or even in your own backyard.
- For air you can visit a windy hill or sit in front of a fan.
- For fire, sit in a desert or a dry sauna. If this is unavailable, you could turn up the heat in your home.
Breathe in the element feeling its energy fill you, cleansing you, then breathe out letting the element take out any impurities with it.
Spend at least a week on each element. Then practice becoming the element. With steady practice you will get results. Now you can guide how this greater energy will specifically affect you.
A good way to do this is to think about the area you are trying to heal (if you are interested in healing yourself, for example), and give yourself affirmations such as: My stomach is peaceful and tranquil. Or: The pain is gone. Or you can even just use one word affirmations like: Peace, tranquility, soothing, etc.
You are in effect taking the broad characteristics of an element and trying to narrow it down to your specific problem. Keep up your concentration until you have an effect, which is not always easy to do, especially if you are experiencing great pain.
Feeling one with the element, focusing it on a particular problem, while saying your affirmations, all at the same time. It can get a bit difficult, but the rewards are worth the trouble. It may take several minutes to achieve results, depending upon the problem. If after many minutes of concentration you have not received the full benefit, try letting go of the images and let the element follow through on its own. This is especially true in cases of diarrhea, which usually takes several hours. You may have to use several treatments until you achieve the desired effect. After you know what each element can do, you can tailor your treatments to a specific purpose.
Starting with earth, we will focus on the different elemental qualities.
What comes to mind when you think of earth? Traditionally, earth has stood for stability, for wealth, and for fertility. This element is cool and dry, and when you fill yourself with it, feel these attributes. Earth is materiality. Matter came from the word mater, meaning mother. You can see where we come up with the term Mother Earth. The earth is our mother and therefore is a very nurturing element. It also governs materialization and form. Esoterically it is considered a passive element. It is the shaper of energy into concrete forms. I use it to counter diarrhoea. It usually works overnight, and you don’t have to pay for over-the-counter supplies. Another way to use earth is to ground yourself if you are feeling spaced out or just silly and wish to come down to earth. Fill yourself with earth and use the affirmation: I am grounded. It will make a difference in how you feel. When using earth try to become rock and soil and plant-life. Feel the stability and quiet strength fill you. Think about the fortitude of mountains and the life found in fields of crops. You can use earth any time you need stability. Think of other uses for this element.
The next element is water, which is also passive.
Water is cool and wet and rules the emotions. Its chief characteristic is that of contraction. Look at how your hair looks wet compared to when it is dry and you will begin to understand this aspect of water. Notice how water flows and undulates. It is good to use water if you are feeling irritable or angry. Feel the soothing, comforting power of water as it fills you. Become one with the element and concentrate on soothing the burning in your stomach. After a short while the pain will lessen and go away. When the pain goes, you are left with a pleasant refreshing feeling. You can also use this element for the elimination of other minor pain such as muscle soreness. Experiment more for yourself.
Next comes the element of air.
Unlike earth and water, air is an active element and is connected with movement as well as the intellect. While earth is solid and stable, air is always active and always moving. They tend to cancel each other out. When you fill yourself with air, feel the constant motion. Traditionally, air is hot and moist and you can incorporate that in your imagery as well. You can think of it as a giant breath. A good image is to see yourself as a part of the sky, surrounded by clouds. If you are feeling clumsy and uncoordinated, air can be of use also. Try to think of other uses for this element. This is the element to use for painful gas. Since the pain is caused by a buildup of gas, use air to move it along. An affirmation you can use is: The gas has moved out of my body. You may notice that all the affirmations suggested are in the past tense. This is because you are creating a condition. If you place this condition as already existing in the element you are working with, then the condition will be created in you. It is a standard magical principle. This is the way you create your desire in the element.
The last element is fire.
Fire is, of course, active. It is full of energy and action its qualities are hot and dry. This element is the opposite of water for obvious reasons. Fire is an ideal element to use to fight laziness or tiredness. This doesn’t mean that you can stay up forty hours using nothing but fire to keep yourself going, but it is a great supplement to healthy living and for those times that you just feel less energetic than usual. A good time to use fire is when you exercise to excess and feel absolutely drained. This isn’t healthy and can open one up to illnesses such as colds. Fire can give you a lift and help you fight off disease.
The following techniques from Donald Kraig’s book, “Modern Magick”.
If you are feeling giddy, like an airhead, and want to come back to earth, you may need to increase your store of this element. To do this hold out your hands about eighteen inches or so apart and picture yourself holding a container to house the element. It doesn’t matter what kind you use. Picture earth flowing from all around you – not from you – into the container. Then breathe in the element from the container into yourself. You should feel more grounded after a few minutes.
Alternatively, you may conclude that you have too much air in you. Just do the reverse of the above instructions. Picture an empty container in your hands, and imagine the excess element inside you. Breath out the extra air, seeing it leave you and going into the container. Next, picture a black hole opening up in front of you and place the container in the hole, feeling it being sucked in. Then close the hole. In a few minutes you should feel less spaced. Use the black hole method for all the elements except earth. Here you may picture a hole in the earth opening up, and see yourself drop the earth laden container into the ground and see it close over it.
These techniques may seem simple, but are quite effective.
While you are experimenting, you can look into the para-elements. Para-elements are combination of the regular four elements. Here is a list some possible combinations:
Lightning, rain, mud, dust, and lava. These are not part of the traditional elements. But, it seems that the elements can combine to make new, unique elements that can be as effective as any single element. It is for you to find out for yourself. The possibilities are endless. Find what works for you.
Lightning, which is the combination of air and fire, would be hot and somewhat moist. It is very active and energetic. This could, perhaps, be used for creativity, as in lightning flashes of insight. Rain, or air and water would be wet and tepid, moving and soothing. It may be useful with long term emotional blocks. Earth and water make mud. The qualities of this para-element are cold, damp and passivity. Dust, the combination of air and earth, is warm and somewhat moist. It mixes solidity and inertia with movement and the intellect. The combination of fire and earth is lava. This is formative energy. Its qualities would be very dry and somewhat warm. It might be used for gaining new ideas.
If you need the help of two elements try using the para-elements.
If you need the energy of fire, yet also the stability of earth you can utilize lava.
With practice and a pioneering spirit, you can use the four elements to help you in your life, as I have. Experiment with each element for different problems and see what happens.