This article is the first in a four part series. The other three articles in this series are The Circle, The Cross and the Centre. In these four articles the groundwork is layed for a great deal of other material in this section of the site.
In classical Greek thought the universe was considered to consist of four elements: earth, air, fire and water. There was also a fifth element, where the planets and astrological constellations were thought to have their influence.
In the Renaissance there was both a revival of interest for classical culture and philosophy and an intense interest in magic and everything occult. Because of this a great deal of ancient Greek thinking about the elements ended up in Renaissance magical lore. After the Renaissance the wide-spread interest in occult matters faded, but individuals and groups like the Freemasons, the Rosicrucians and the Golden Dawn kept the tradition alive.
That's how the elements found their way into modern magical practices. Most modern magical practitioners, from witches to druids to ritual magicians, use the elements in both their teachings and their rituals and meditations.
In the western tradition the elements correspond to certain times of the day and of the year, to colours, to personality traits, things happening in our lives, phases in our development... Look at them as givens, in themselves neither good or evil, but there for us to work with.
Take some time to explore each element:
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