Elementals and Earth Spirits
“Our minds, as well as our bodies, have need of the out-of-doors. Our spirits, too, need simple things, elemental things, the sun and the wind and the rain, moonlight and starlight, sunrise and mist and mossy forest trails, the perfumes of dawn and the smell of fresh-turned earth and the ancient music of wind among the trees.” -Edwin Way Teale
An Elemental refers to physical incarnations of elements of earth, air, fire, and water that make up the universe. Humans are considered to have a fifth element, called Akasha, or spirit. An earth elemental is earth energy in physical form. Elementals can be found in stories, games like Dungeons and Dragons, and in reference to Witchcraft where they may be called upon by spell casters and beings to take form and perform tasks. Some examples are Mermaids (water spirits), Sylphs (air spirits), Fairies (earth spirits), and Salamanders (fire spirits).
An elemental is a mythic being described in works of occult and alchemy from the Renaissance of Europe. One of the first references to elementals were in the 16th-century works of Paracelsus . Elementals were also known as Nature Spirits, were builders that worked with the patterns and energy held by the Devas, bringing life into existence. They are believed to be the life force that underlies all living things as well as earthly elements of air, earth, water, and fire.
Aboriginal and Indigenous Spiritual Practices
There is no singular explanation of earth spirits and elementals. Many Indigenous, Native and Aboriginal cultures have traditions that speak of spirit that flows throughout all life and is present in the land, water, air, and fire and all living beings. Each group has its own unique and stories and practices, many of which are only honored within the tribes and considered sacred. A very general overview including some examples may be found here.
The Aborigines of Australia speak of spirits that inhabit the earth. There are two main kinds of spirits; transcendental spirits, also called ‘All-Father’ such are those who created the earth, and lesser spirits, belonging to single tribes or attributed to a particular landmark or body of water (for example). Bridging both transcendental and lesser is the Rainbow Serpent, the rainbow personified who arrived on earth after ‘All-Father’ sculpting the hills and valleys with its writhing body.
Earth spirits have a strong connection to the elements. Traditionally they were found in nature. Gnomes, fairies, Leprechauns, trolls, elves, gnomes, and a wide variety of fairies are all closely related earth spirits. Earth spirits may be seen in the physical aspects of the earth including forests, mountains, and other landforms. Earth sprits work with consciousness and amalgamate earth, air, water, and fire in practical and grounded ways.
Fairies are inter-dimensional beings that exist in a realm within the earth realm. There are many different types of fairies. What makes fairies different from angels is that fairies are strongly connected to the earth plane. Fairies are considered by some to be here to serve, tend, and nurture the earth. There is a belief that fairies were once more visible on earth but disappeared into a dimension that is not visible to most humans as humanity began to harm and neglect the earth, falling into war and violence.
Fairies are viewed as ‘tricksters’ who will respond to humans in what they put out energetically. There are some that have more altruistic motivations to help and come from the light and there are some that work from dark and are more ego-driven. Generally, Fairies are working in alignment with the plant and animal kingdoms on earth and are here to serve and guide.
Gnomes are elementals related to earth. Gnomes are astral spirits who have very close ties to the densest forms of matter in nature. This includes the forests, mountains, plateaus, and plains. There is an emphasis on the shape, weight, density, mass, and form of bodies of land on earth. Also, anything that provides minerals, building materials, resources, shelter, and food. The element may bring out feelings of stability, groundedness, perseverance, and steadiness in an individual. It is related to work and making something out of raw materials. The term “down to earth” or “salt of the earth” is the feeling of this spirit.
Sylphs are air spirits. They can transform weather patterns and work with air. Sylphs are nature spirits composed of the air element. They are invisible to normal sight and inhabit the sky. They control the weather. A sylph can sense the faintest shift in the wind, humidity, temperature, and air pressure.
The air element may present as dancing, singing, performing, and express oneself in artistic ways. It induces feelings of celebration. The air element induces cheerfulness, levity, laughter, amusement, and delight. It reminds us of the joy and beauty in life. The quality of air allows for a flow of art and music into our lives.
Mermaids are water spirits that are connected to the oceans and bodies of water. They are associated with nixies, naiads, ondines, undines, water spirits, and water nymphs. Mermaids are comprised of the element of water. Mermaids embody the fluidity, nurturing, soothing, releasing, receptivity, and beauty of water in nature. Although they are traditionally visualized as half-human, half fish, they can assume any form, even that of a human. Mermen are considered to lord over storms at sea and able to locate sunken ships. Mermaids are related to expressions of love and sexuality.
Salamanders are related to the fire element. They deal with power and how love, power, and wisdom intersect. Just as fire is expansive and dynamic, salamanders deal with what drives the individual, their inner will. If an individual has repressed anger, the fire element may lead to the other end of the spectrum inducing rage and the need to control, or paranoia when security is threatened.
What We Can Learn From Elementals
Even if you view elementals to be in the realm of fantasy and child’s play, the messages they represent may be used to inspire personal reflection and action. There are aspects of each of these spirits that evoke certain feelings and qualities in humans. You may draw upon this imagery to bring about particular qualities and experiences in your own life. They may be used in meditation or you may want to use them as journaling or creative writing prompts to bring about certain themes and work an idea related to the qualities they represent. From a psychic perspective, the truth is really “in the eye of the beholder” so to speak.
You may look at elementals using psychic tools or intuition to see if it resonates with your spirit. Elemental spirits, whether you believe them to be real or not, exist within the human consciousness and have filtered down through history in cultures, literature, art, stories, theatre, games, comics, film, and television. They create a spirit of frivolity, play, and wonder, creating a ‘kindergarten’ atmosphere, which is a wonderfully allowing energetic space to work from and with.
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