The Four Elements

And this is the root and foundation of all bodies, natures, virtues, and wonderful works; and he which shall know these qualities of the elements, and their mixtions, shall easily bring to pass such things as are wonderful, and astonishing, and shall be perfect in magic.
- Henry Cornelius Agrippa (1)

The four elements are not so much substances as qualities, like hard or soft. They are the most basic vocabulary of western occult discussion. A massive complex of relationships and correspondences among things is brought to mind when one of these words is uttered. Rather than write for 50 pages about the nature of a thing, one can simply state that it is "Fire", and forests will be saved. Tables of qualities more extensive than the following abound, such as in the encyclopedia by Whitcomb. Memorizing a table is the first step, but nothing substitutes for the work of meditation which will bring the matter to life.

  Fire O Water N Air M Earth L
Tarot Suit wands, batons, rods, sceptres cups swords pentacles, coins, disks
Quality (2) heat and dryness cold and moisture heat and moisture cold and dryness
Qabalistic World (3) Atziluth (Yod)
Briah (He)
Yetzirah (Vau)
Assiah (He)
Key Scale
Row Number in 777 (4)
31 23 11 32 bis
Deity Name (5) Adonai
Yod He Vau He
Archangel (6) Michael
At My Right Hand
Solar orb on brow of archangel
Behind Me
Ocean below archangel
Before Me
Clouds below archangel
At My Left Hand
Black background brown body
Kerubim (Ezekiel) (7) Lion (Leo) Eagle (Scorpio) Man (Aquarius) Bull (Taurus)
Evangelist (8) Mark John Matthew Luke
Elementals (9) Salamanders Undines Sylphs Gnomes
Season ruled by the Ace/Princess (10) Summer
(Cancer, Leo, Virgo)
(Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius)
(Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces)
(Aries, Taurus, Gemini)
Movement of Sun (Enochian)(11) Noon Sunset Sunrise Midnight
Movement of Sun (Zohar) (12) Midnight Noon Sunrise Sunset
Direction (Enochian) (13) South West East North
Direction (Zoharic) (14) North South East West
Direction (Renaissance Alchemical) (15) East North West South
Color (Scale of the King) (16) Scarlet Blue Yellow Four Dull Colors
Color (Enochian) (17) Red
(Flashing Green)
(Flashing Orange)
(Flashing Violet)
(Flashing White)
Color (Tattva) (18) Red Grayish White Blue (Greenish) Golden Yellow
Color (Zoharic) (19) Red White Clear Green
Color (Renaissance Alchemical) (20) Red Blue Yellow Green
Rosicrucian Vault Symbolism (21) Sulfur is Red Salt is Yellow Mercury is Blue  
Tattwa (22)
Hand Spirit is Thumb (23) 3rd Finger Index Finger Little Finger 2nd Finger
Ritual Offices (24) Dadouchos
My station is in the South to symbolize Heat and Dryness, and my duty is to see that the Lamps and Fires of the Temple are ready at the opening, to watch oover the Censer and the Incense and to consecrate the Hall and the Fratres and Sorores and the Candidate with Fire.
My station is in the North to symbolize Cold and Moisture, and my duties are to see that Robes and Collars and Insignia of the Officers are ready at the Opening, to watch over the Cup of Lustral Water and to purify the Hall and the Fratres and Sorores and the Candidate with Water.
Parts of the Soul (25) Chiah
Life Force
Divine soul-intuition
Animal Soul
Astrology Knowledge Lecture Action, creativity and energy Emotional and sensitive Versatility and intellect Physical and practical
Psychological Feeling, Will, Idea, Ardent Intuition, Pattern, Sensitive Intellect, Plan, Excitable Sensation, Function, Cautious
Virtue of the Adept (26) Velle, To Will Audere, To Dare (courage) Scire, To Know Tacere, To Keep Silence

See also:
The Ancient Greek Esoteric Doctrine of the Elements by John Opsopaus


1. (p. 8, Agrippa). Chapter III, Of the four elements, their qualities, and mutual mixtions
2. (p. 50, GD). First Knowledge Lecture
3. (p. 67, GD). Third Knowledge Lecture
4. 777
5. (p. 53-54, GD). Qabalistic Cross and Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram in the First Knowledge Lecture
6. Name and Location of Archangel: (p. 53-54, GD). Qabalistic Cross and Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram in the First Knowledge Lecture and p. 80 Fifth Knowledge Lecture; Pictorial Information: (p. 370 Hulse)
7. (p. 61, GD). Second Knowledge Lecture and (p. 382 Hulse)
8. (p. lxxxvi, Hulse)
9. (p. 60, GD). Second Knowledge Lecture
10. (p. 544-550, GD). Book "T" - The Tarot (Comprising Manuscripts N, O, P, Q, R, and an Unlettered T.A.M. Instruction.)
11. (p. xlv, 370, 159 Hulse)
12. (p. 232 Hulse)
13. (p. xlv, 370, 159 Hulse), (p. 80 GD) Fifth Knowledge Lecture
14. (p. xlvi Hulse)
15. (p. xlvii Hulse)
16. (p. 76, ). Flying Roll No. XI
17. (p. xlv Hulse) and (p. 310-312 GD) The Complete Symbol of the Rose Cross (these are the colors of the arms of the Rose Cross)
18. (p. 76, ). Flying Roll No. XI
19. (p. xlvi Hulse)
20. (p. xlvii Hulse)
21. (p. xliv Hulse)
22. (p. ) Tattwa
23. (p. 100, GD). Fifth Knowledge Lecture
24. (p. 118-119, GD). Neophyte Ritual
25. (p. 83, DuQuette. My Life with the Spirits)
26. (p. 275, BoT). The Sphinx Diagram

[Agrippa] = Tyson, Donald, editor. Three Books of Occult Philosophy written by Henry Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim. Completely Annotated, with Modern Commentary: The Foundation Book of Western Occultism. Translated by James Freake. Edited and annotated by Donald Tyson. 1995: Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul MN. ISBN 0-87542-832-0

[GD] = Regardie, Israel. The Golden Dawn: A Complete Course in Practical Ceremonial Magic. Four Volumes in One. The Original Account of the Teachings, Rites and Ceremonies of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Stella Matutina) as revealed by Israel Regardie, with further revisions, expansion, and additional notes by Israel Regardie, Chris Monnastre, and others, under the editorship of Carl Llewellyn Weschcke. Complete index compiled by David Godwin. Sixth Edition. orig 1971. 1995: Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN. ISBN 0-87542-663-8

[777] = Regardie, Israel, ed. 777 and Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley. orig 1973, 777 orig 1909. 1997: Samuel Weiser, York Beach, Maine. ISBN 0-87728-670-1

[BoT] = Master Therion. The Book of Thoth (Egyptian Tarot). orig 1944. 1991: Samuel Weiser, York Beach, Maine. ISBN 0-87728-268-4

[Hulse] = Hulse, David Allen. The Key of It All: An Encyclopedic Guide to the Sacred Languages & Magickal Systems of the World. Book Two: The Western Mysteries. 1996: Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul MN. ISBN 0-87542-349-5

[Whitcomb] = Whitcomb, Bill. The Magician's Companion: A Practical & Encyclopedic Guide to Magical & Religious Symbolism. 1993: Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul MN. ISBN 0-87542-868-1

Return to Main Page of Study Helps