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Invoking the Elements

In witchcraft, the energy that we draw from during ritual or spellcasting, is anything but supernatural. Witches have a unique world-view which enables us to see the immanent life-force, usually referred to as the Goddess, as a constant flow of energy that is not set apart from the natural world, but is instead seen quite literally as the natural world itself. This universal energy is seen and felt in all things and places, and is “tapped into” (i.e. brought into our awareness) when performing ritual so as to charge the magick with potency.

The model of the five elements can be thought of as a spiritual map that reveals the landscape of our souls. By relating our psyche to the land around us, we begin to make a shift into living in harmony with the natural world. This relationship between our spirit and the cosmos forms the basis for the magickal worldview which enables us to live a life of power. When we are consciously aware of the air in our lungs, or the passion in our hearts, we have begun to live more fully.

When working with the elements, both in meditation and in direct experience, aspects of ourselves begin to resonate and are brought to the forward of our awareness. This can lead to a better understanding of the self, and by extension to an increased command of psychic talents. Often we will find obstacles, psychological or otherwise, blocking our path. Sometimes these can be disturbing or even frightening experiences, revealing to us our deepest fears that we have tried subconsciously and determinedly bury into extinction. Only by confronting and embodying these fears can we begin to truly grow, and indeed by avoiding them we run the very real risk of causing ourselves harm.

When used intentionally and consistently, the model of the elements serves as a spiritual compass, pointing us in the right directions to find exactly where in our inner worlds we need healing or change, reflection or celebration, and then leading us safely back home again in our center.

What follows is a list of correspondences for the five directions and their associated elements. I have included a version of the directional invocations as a guideline for writing your own. (An alternate version appears HERE.)

Alchemy_Elements-AIR

[AIR]

The East corresponds with the element of Air, representing the mind, intellect, the ability to reason, the power to Know. It’s time is first morning light in the springtime, Its’ color is yellow and its’ tool is the wand.

Hail Guardians of the East,
I summon the powers of Air!
Windswept meadow,
Breath of life,
Fantastic torrent removing strife,
With Clarity, the power to Know,
We invoke you!

(Participants should take a moment to focus on their breath, feeling the powers of air in their lungs and body while examining the idea of clarity and knowing.)

By the air that is Her breath,
Be with us now!

Alchemy_Elements-FIRE

[FIRE]

The South corresponds to the element of Fire, representing passion, energy, and the powers of fierce change, and Will. It’s time is high noon in the summertime. Its’ color is red, and its tools are the athamé and the sword.

Hail Guardians of the South,
I summon the powers of Fire!
Blazing flame,
Crackling fire,
The quickened pulse of heart’s desire,
With Energy, the power of Will,
We invoke you!

(Participants may dance vigorously or make energetic noise, raising energy.)

By the fire that is Her spirit,
Be with us now!

Alchemy_Elements-WATER

[WATER]

The West corresponds to the element of Water, representing the Deep self, emotions, intuition, and the power to Dare. It’s time is the twilight of sunset in the autumn. Its’ color is the blue of the oceans, and its’ tool is the chalice.

Hail Guardians of the West,
I summon the powers of Water!
Rushing stream,
Vast, dark ocean,
Poetry of the soul in motion,
With Intuition, feeling, the power to Dare,
We invoke you!

(Dancing languidly or simply calling up old emotions may be utilized here.)

By the Waters of Her womb,
Be with us now!

Alchemy_Elements-EARTH

[EARTH]

The North corresponds to the element of Earth, representing the powers of stability, birth, death, and the power to keep Silent. It’s time is midnight in the dead of winter. Its’ colors are green and black, and its’ primary tool is the pentacle.

Hail Guardians of the North,
We summon the powers of Earth!
Cave of darkness,
Standing stone,
the celebration of flesh and bone,
With Stillness, the power of silence,
We invoke you!

(A strong moment of silence, feeling the body.)

By the Earth that is Her body,
Be with us now!

Alchemy_Elements-ETHER

[SPIRIT/ETHER/FORCE]

The Center corresponds to the element of Spirit, Ether, or Force, and represents the Deep Self in harmonic resonance with the other two layers of the human soul, namely Talking Self, and the fetch. It is that which connects the directions at the center, immanence, transcendence, and life which survives death. Its’ colors are violet, white, or black, and its’ tool is the cauldron, symbol of transformation.

As above, so below.
As within, so without.
Four stars in this place be,
Combined to call the fifth to me!
Circumference and center,
Woven together,
To make the circle complete!

(Imagine the energies of the four elemental powers combining creating a dynamic force that spins, like a top, with its’ axis being the center of the circle. Participants may wish to dance in a circle to join in this flow of power.)

©1996