Elements from various traditions

Covens Element Magick  ► Articles  ► Elements from various traditions
by rofiqul and Intuition

Ancient classic element systems:
In classical thought, the four elements Earth, Water, Air, and Fire frequently occur and sometimes including a fifth element.

Classical elements in Babylonia:
The concept of the five classical elements in the Western tradition may originate from Babylonian mythology. a text written between the 18th and 16th centuries BC, describes five personified cosmic elements: the sea, earth, sky, fire, and wind.

Classical elements in Greece:
Air is primarily wet and secondarily hot, Fire is primarily hot and secondarily dry, Earth is primarily dry and secondarily cold and Water is primarily cold and secondarily wet.

Classical elements in Egypt:
According to Galen, these elements were used by Hippocrates in describing the human body with an association with the four humors: yellow bile (fire), black bile (earth), blood (air), and phlegm (water).

Classical elements in Hinduism:
The existence of the five elements can also be found in India, predating their use in Greece. The pancha mahabhuta, or "five great elements", of Hinduism are kshiti or bhumi (earth), ap or jala (water), tejas or agni (fire), marut or pavan (air or wind), vyom; or shunya or akash (aether or void).

Buddhist elements:
earth, water, fire and air.

Seven chakras:
In the philosophy of the seven chakras there are correspondences to the five elements as shared by both Hinduism and Buddhism as well as two other elements:

  • Sahasrara (Crown): Time/Space
  • Aja (Third Eye): Light/Dark
  • Vishuddhi (Throat): Ether/Sound
  • Anahata (Heart): Air
  • Manipura (Navel): Fire
  • Svadhisthana (Sacral): Water
  • Muladhara (Root): Earth

Bon elements:
In Bon or ancient Tibetan philosophy, the five elemental processes of earth, water, fire, air and space are the essential materials of all existent phenomena or aggregates. The elemental processes form the basis of the calendar, astrology, medicine, psychology and are the foundation of the spiritual traditions of shamanism, tantra and Dzogchen.

Chinese elements:


Wood feeds fire;

Fire creates earth (ash);

Earth bears metal;

Metal collects water;

Water nourishes wood.


Wood parts earth;

Earth absorbs water;

Water quenches fire;

Fire melts metal;

Metal chops wood.

Japanese elements:

Earth represented things that were solid.

Water represented things that were liquid.

Fire represented things that destroy.

Air represented things that moved.

Spirit represented things not of our everyday life.

Modern elements: (Chemical element)
The classical elements correspond more closely to four of the states of matter: solid, liquid, gas and plasma.

Elements in western astrology and tarot:
Western astrology uses the four classical elements in connection with astrological charts and horoscopes. The twelve signs of the zodiac are divided into the four elements: Fire signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, Earth signs are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, Air signs are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, and Water signs are Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces

In divinatory tarot, the suits of cups, swords, batons/wands, and discs/coins are said to correspond to water, air, fire, and earth respectively.

In traditional magick it is water, earth, fire, air, & spirit.

In traditional Chinese elements it is fire, earth, metal, wood, & water.

In Babylonian elements it is wind, fire, earth, sea, & sky.

In traditional Greek elements it is air, water, fire, earth, & aether.

In Medieval Alchemy it is wind, water, fire, earth, & aether. (sometimes sulfur, mercury, & salt are also included.)

In Japanese it is wind, water, fire, earth, & void.

In Tibetan it is wind, water, fire, earth, & aether.

In Hindu & Buddhist it is wind, water, fire, earth, & akasha

Added to on Dec 12, 2018
Last edited on Feb 13, 2019
Part of the Element Magick Library.


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