Hail and welcome Air
Messenger of the East
Element of sunrise and new beginnings
Hail and welcome Fire
Catalyst of the South
Element of midday and purification
Hail and welcome Water
Transformer of the West
Element of sunset and remembrance
Hail and welcome Earth
Guardian of the North
Element of midnight and wisdom
One of the simplest ways to start an earth-based spiritual practice is through connecting with the natural elements. This is something that is so foundational to my own practice that I often forget to share about it. Yet I know a lot of women are just starting out with finding their way into elemental magic.
Do you know the popular chant that goes “Earth, my body. Water, my blood. Air, my breath and Fire my spirit”? It’s a beautiful chant that reminds us that we are made of the same elements as nature.
Many of my suggestions involve being in nature and working with altars. I recognize that creating altars isn’t everyone’s path so I don’t want anyone thinking they’re not a “proper witch” because they don’t have an altar. This is a way that we can cut ourselves down or think that we’re not doing enough or not being enough.
We want to get that “not enough” mindset out of our magical practice as much as possible because truly all you need to make magic, is YOU.
Your body, your thoughts, your passion, your spirit. I cannot emphasize this enough. Don’t let anything stop you. If you think “Oh, well. I don’t have xyz”, I know you can find something that represents each of the elements to you.
It’s interesting that in my Facebook group, Awaken the Goddess Within, in a recent poll regarding which elements members felt connected to most, Earth came last. For Earth based spirituality, it’s pretty vital for us to have a connection to Earth.
And so let’s begin with Earth.
Earth, my body
The Earth element is associated with our physical bodies. It’s our home— our planet, and our body home. When you want to represent this element in a ritual or on your altar, there are many different ways to do this. Here are some suggestions:
- a bowl of soil or a potted plant
- stones or crystals
- pine cones or acorns
- a picture of a tree or flower
- a sacred walking stick
Typically, the earth element is associated with the direction of north in the northern hemisphere, and the direction of south in the southern hemisphere. But trust and follow your intuition about placements, always.
Suggested deepening practice:
Go out into nature and lean your back against a tree or a big rock. Sit and quiet the mind and feel the strength of the Earth element. Feel into the groundedness of the Earth and through your connection with the tree or with the stone or whatever surfaces you are touching (remember you can still do this on a park bench). As you get more adept, you’ll be able to drop into the Earth element anywhere from a busy crowd to your meditation cushion.
Lastly, I would like to mention gardening of any kind nurtures your relationship to Earth. And it doesn’t need to be a big garden. A little container of parsley that you grow for yourself in the kitchen will do. This can become a simple everyday ritual where you are still connecting to Earth.
What is one way that you would enjoy connecting more to the Earth element?
Air, my breath
Air is associated with the mind – the mental realm of thoughts. Air is connected to a lot of Greek gods and goddesses that are the messengers and our thoughts are those messengers. Some ways to connect with and represent air are:
- anything that makes the air more visible such as incense or sacred smoke (be very mindful that these are being harvested sustainably and through fair trade)
- scents such as essential oils to awaken the nose
- feathers and images of birds
- through your breath
Typically, the air element is associated with the direction of east.
Suggested deepening practice:
When the wind blows, do you get energized? What about the sound of wind chimes? I know I’m not the only one that just loves listening to the wind in the trees. And so my suggested practice for this element is to go outside on a day with a breeze and listen. Listen to the wind in the trees. Listen to the birds and watch them fly in the sky. Breathe in the air and feel your connection.
When we use our skill of listening to help us quiet the mind, it’s so powerful. And as someone who typically struggles to quiet the mind, this is something that I’ve needed to do. Listen to what’s around me and that being in nature is the best for that. Because if we’re inside, it’s often just very quiet with maybe the hum of the fridge which is not very inspiring. But when we’re outside, we can train ourselves to listen.
Eventually thoughts come back and we catch ourselves listening to them and so we take a breath and go back to listening to the outside. Quiet the mind, listen, quiet the mind. It helps us move from small mind to universal mind, and we could all benefit from doing more often. The small mind will always be there for us to return to, just like our mental chatter. But the more that we can use that skill of listening and connecting with the element of air, this helps bring us into full presence.
What is one way that you would enjoy connecting more to the Air element?
Water, my blood
The element of water connects us to our emotions, our emotional body. Water is also associated with the moon and lunar energy, which is cyclical and fluid in nature like our menstrual cycles as women. Water is really a shape shifting element. Water can be liquid, solid or gas. Recognize the similarity between the triple goddess archetype?
Ways to connect with water and represent it on your altar include:
- a chalice of water
- images of fish, dolphins, whales, and other sea creatures
- images of bodies of water
- attune to the moon and your lunar energy
- sacred baths
Typically, the water element is associated with the direction of west.
Suggested deepening practice:
Get into water! Whether it’s a sacred bath you draw for yourself, or going swimming in a lake, river, or the ocean, approach the activity with a ritual mindset. Relax as much as possible to allow a sense of “dissolving” into the water; becoming One with it. While in the water, whisper or sing your prayers. Water is a power conductor so you are sending your love into its molecules to be carried along the currents around the world.
Water has a long, long history with the priestess lineages that are connected through to Avalon and the whole myth of the Holy Grail and the Grail Maidens. The chalice is a sacred tool of divine feminine consciousness and speaks to water’s innate ability to transmit and molecular qualities to shapeshift.
What is one way that you would enjoy connecting more to the Water element?
Fire, my spirit
For most women starting out on any kind of “witchy” path, candle magic or fire rituals seem to be the most common. Fire connects us to our creativity. It’s our passion, our willpower. Some ways to connect with and represent fire are:
- the sun
- images of fire, sun, volcano or lightning
- lava rocks or Fire Opal
Typically, the fire element is associated with the south in the northern hemisphere, and the direction of north in the southern hemisphere.
Suggested deepening practice:
Do a candle ritual. Create sacred space and ground and center yourself, in whichever ways feel best for you. Light a candle. Gaze at the flame while you “empty your mind” and drop into a deeper consciousness. This is called open-eyed meditation. Simply be quiet, open and receptive in this process. You may receive “messages” or insights from watching the candle, or you may simply experience deep relaxation. When you feel complete, express your gratitude, snuff the flame, and close your ritual.
The reason that our relationship with fire is so strong is that electricity is a relatively new invention. Consider that 100 years ago, in 1922, it was not a given that houses or buildings were outfitted with electricity. So until very recently, our light sources were the sun, the moon, and torches, candles, and fires. So I want you to remember when you are outside and want to connect with all the elements, that the sun is our main source of fire.
What is one way that you would enjoy connecting more to the Fire element?
The Elements of Life
The next time you go outside, put your bare feet on the ground and connect with the earth element.
Breathe, listen to the wind in the trees, connect with the air element.
If you are near water, wonderful, or tune into your circulatory system of blood, fluids, saliva, and connect with the water element.
Let the sun into your heart, where it lights your inner fire, your passion and your creative power, and connect with the fire element.
You found your way here through an undeniable knowing that your spiritual practice is one that is connected to earth, and the elements of life.
It is inevitable that your path is going to take you into relationship with the Earth as you find your own way of practicing magic in connection to nature’s elements.
I celebrate this!
Please let me know in the comments if you try any of these deepening practices or altar creation suggestions. I’d love to hear from you.
You might also be interested in checking out my free Cyclic Living Guide, learning about the 8-phase Lunar Solar Creation Cycle.
Or, if you’re looking for guidance, inspiration, and live, online holy-day ceremonies to support your cyclic living practice, you’re ready for Walking the Wheel.
This offering is THE next step if you wish to deepen your embodiment and understanding of the Celtic Wheel of the Year.