Comparing Eastern and Western Views on Elements in the Art of Magic

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It is essential to initiate a Treatise on Magic, which exposes the bases of a magical procedure. This sacred pact is based on the elements and their influences in all orders of manifestation, from the Macrocosm to the Microcosm…


The Wu Xing is the Chinese belief that there are five powerful elements. This is an ancient belief that can possibly be traced as far back as 770 BC and is the basis for fenshui and many other Chinese spiritual beliefs.

The element of Water is seen as the lower part of the geospatial charts, but that doesn’t make it any less significant. It is usually associated with the spring.

The element of fire is the highest part of the chart and is associated with the summer and the South hemisphere.
Wood, with spring and the East.
The element of Metal is associated with autumn and the West.
The Earth element is associated with the center, assisting all other points and elements.

Each element is in turn related to an animal, a viscera, a color, a flavor, a sound of the pentatonic scale and a planet, so they extract the consequence that everything on Earth can be found in dependence on an element. This theory dates back to the second millennium before our era.


For the Greeks and most Western traditions, Nature is composed of four elements: Earth, Water, Fire and Air. Each of these elements has their own signs of the Zodiac, the planetary influences or the elementals that give life and animate each one of them. A fifth element, Ether, binds them all. It even binds the elements of Fire and Air.

Each of the elements powerfully influences three zodiacal signs. The great philosophers Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle indicated that the various phenomena of life are reduced to the manifestations of the elements, which through the force of Nature perform their work of creation and destruction by means of these vital principles. Water comes from cold and humidity, Air from humidity and heat, Fire from heat and dryness, and Earth from dryness and cold. Each represents a state: solid, liquid, gaseous and igneous. And each one is assimilated to a set of given conditions of life, where within the evolutionary cycle it begins with the first element, (Water), to finish with the last, (Earth), passing through the intermediate states, (Air and Fire).

Thus the order of the Quaternary is manifested in Nature and in the different stages of human life: winter, spring, summer and autumn; from midnight to dawn, from dawn to noon, from noon to dusk and from dawn to midnight. Childhood, youth, maturity and old age. On the basis of such universal values rest the operations of astrology, alchemy, and magical and esoteric operations.

Earth, Fire, Air and Water are the four natural elements. These four varieties of ether are densely populated by innumerable elemental creatures. The Salamanders live in the fire, the Sylphs in the clouds, the Undines and Nereids in the waters. Pygmies, dwarves, gnomes and similar beings can be found in the depths of the Earth.

These elementals have their own physical body, for example, the plants; the magician must know them and learn to handle those currents of force and their relation with the zodiacal signs:


To Fire, which represents the active, impetuosity and vitality, correspond the signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.

To the element Air, which represents intellectual force and critical spirit, correspond Gemini, Libra and Aquarius.

The element Earth has the qualities of prudence and method, its signs of influence are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.

Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces correspond to the element Water, which is a symbol of receptivity and creative imagination.

By handling the elementals of Water we can use all the occult powers they have for both healing and purification.

By handling air elementals, the mind is purified, the winds are unleashed or calmed.

If one has power over the elementals of the Earth, one possesses the key of transmutation and the power to discover the treasures of Nature and the archives of Magic.

The magician can command the elementals of Fire; this can be a purification fire or a destructive fire.

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