A Treatise on Elemental MagicFor the time being, please use the attached article at the bottom of this post in order to view the entire treatise.
An essay concerning the elements as the first step in Hermetic Magic
If you are a regular reader of my articles then you may have seen where, in my article entitled “The First Steps,” I proposed the study of elemental magic to begin. Wherein was my fault? That I provided an idea, and not a guiding light. It is with this article that I hope to remedy the aforementioned problem and provide the aspirant with a fitting and complete guide to elemental magic, so far as he is capable of understanding it at that level. In theory this article is complete, containing an appropriate degree of my total knowledge concerning the elements and their natures. In retrospect, I have here only provided very basic techniques to be thrown in where appropriate for the cultivation of the magician in the elemental grade.
The studious magician shall find amongst the theories of this paper many valuable propositions, and with his own wit and cultivated mind shall infer by what means it may all be applied to practice. In this facet I have provided what exercises would be necessary to serve as cornerstones to be built upon, and not a single exercise which I have myself not practiced and found valuable above all others. What you shall see here is the gold I have labored to deduce from ore, presented in a whole body as a single stone which you may examine and hold. If the words of Agrippa were archaic to you, the fluids of Bardon hard to understand, the writings of Pernety allusive, the instructions of Levi riddled in difficult Qaballistic veils, and if the alchemical propositions of Paracelsus startled you I believe you may find precisely the sought-for information here in as clean and direct a way as my own intellect shall allow. It is with no small amount of effort that I have undertook to reconcile the instructions of all the aforementioned(and many more) in the present work, so that upon reading this paper one may indeed come to understand the writings of many others concerning the elements. With any luck this paper shall be a key by which means one may better identify the wisdom of the esoteric texts, whom have almost all spoken of the elemental initiation, though some were indeed obscure in their language.
In all true hermetic circles, from self-initiation to the first grade of the Golden Dawn, the elemental initiations are always the first handled. There are numerous studies far and wide, each one quite perfectly capable of being efficient without any kind of elemental experience. Yet, in spite of all of this, the grades of Zelator through Philosophicus , Malkuth to Netzach, the primary explanations of each ascending grade corresponds to one of the elements. Why is this? When there are so many wide and varied systems, why is such emphasis placed on elemental knowledge? Pernety sums it up quite well when he says:“Hermetism begins with the study of the operations of Nature,
and ends with the knowledge of the Divine Principle.”
The human specimen is composed of the four primordial elements in an analogous manner. When this similitude is understood one may understand the reflections of “Within and without; Above and below.” It is by the knowledge of elemental magic, which is the sum total of the operations of nature, one may learn via certain observations the celestial movements, or that which is called the Divine Principle. Within all of nature there are pieces of this ultimatum; the seminal seeds of life exist within this First Cause, and by her children so may the Universal Soul be understood. “Like father, like son” is the mechanism and mode of this, the natural magic. Essentially, that which is in God is also to be found within us; this shall be elaborated in the section concerning the microcosm.
In times since passed this was referred to as the “Natural Science,” and this was a most perfect explanation of these functions. It is indeed natural in that all are open to learn about it, and that it is innately present in nature. These forces exist with or without the interference of man, and of all the things of nature, they are likely the least tempered with. However, there is another demeanor with which we should focus ourselves, and it is that this is very much a science. There are certain practical and proven ways to accomplish certain desires, and a few of these I will hope to give or at least hint at within the present work.
Let is be known and firmly established within the mind of the aspirant that this is indeed a natural thing, and there is nothing constitutionally strange, special or “magical”(in the common sense of the word) about it; there is certainly nothing miraculous about the feats that may be accomplished by these practices. The vulgar look upon the works of the elemental magician and eagerly proclaim one of two things: “miracle” or “devil’s work.” Magic, of itself, is neither of these, and the magician is able to explain by what natural means he was able to accomplish his task in such a manner that, with complimenting practice, any other mentally-standard individual could do the same.
Mysticism aside for a moment, we are treating of the elemental art most importantly due to its practicality and observable application. We may study the nature of the gods, the stars, the planets and the angels, and yet may only accumulate spiritual evolution; to some such as myself the aforementioned is more than adequate, as it is what we seek. To others, however, they wish the effects to be externally produced as opposed to internally nurtured. The beauty of elemental magic is that it may do either or both according to the magician’s will. It provides a system of transcendent cultivation and practical magic in union or apart.
I would like to point out that I rather consistently make use of the term “God.” If you are offended by this, then grow up. My sole purpose for using this term is as such: it is a three letter word, and one which essentially sums up that concept to which I often point in reference. I could use Wilson’s “Faculty X,” the Hindi “Brahma,” Augustine’s “Illuminating Light,” the Native American “Orenda,” the Shinto “O’Kami,” the alchemist’s “Primum Modile,” or any other bothersome presentation. The term “God” has been chosen because it is one which is of common understanding in definition amongst the masses, and because it is only three letters long. I would wager that most of the above names of this force were not even known to the reader until now, though I would equally bet that every reader at this point has some understanding of what “God” makes reference to. Semantics concerning such things are only detrimental and shall thus be ignored.
While my readers will ultimately judge the value of this treatise on elemental magic, I will leave you with this much of my own thought: I believe that this compilation has the potential to be one of the first well-written subjects on practical elemental magic to be found in one place. Until the present date I have not seen any suitable essay, article or book dealing with this matter, and so I have set out to remedy this; I believe that with this essay I indeed have. In the words of Regardie, “My work is now done.”The Synthesis: Hermetic and Elemental Magic
It should be known first and foremost to the aspiring reader of this potentially lengthy essay that the author is a follower of the hermetic tradition, and therein this paper will likely be stacked high with characteristics, properties and theorems that the lay-man may care little for. If the psychological and consequently magical associations of the elements bother you to an unendurable degree then it is just as easy for you to cease reading this, as this paper shall be of little use in your hands. If, however, you wish to investigate the potential occult virtues of the elements as they have been studied for centuries, I invite you to read on. Regardless, I would hope that there is at least something of value in here for any reader, new-age or archaic; ceremonial or direct.
I will not, by any means, reveal the exact methods by which the various miraculous feats attributed to elemental magic have been oft accomplished in the past. Not only would this process be altogether time consuming, but it would also infringe upon the development of your own intuition and dampen the fervor which this path demands. None the less I shall provide certain practicalities, such as the harmonizing of the elements within the magician, the expression and externalization of the elemental qualities, the interaction with and creation of elemental spirits, and a few instructions for manifesting comparatively small but infinitely faith-strengthening feats(such as fire manipulation, calling the wind, etc). The higher knowledge, such as by what means the magician may refine an element to its purest existence, is left to the study and pursuit of the reader.
What you are about to read is indeed a synthesis in which the beliefs of Heinrich Cornellius, Aleister Crowley, Franz Bardon, Eliphas Levi, Hermes Trismegistus, Dom Antoine-Joseph Pernety, Valentinus the Benedictine, Paracelsus, Trithemius and so many other great authors of the occult are brought together to be expressed as a single unit: Elemental magic. It bears mentioning early on that elemental magic is my largest field of both study and practice, and such is to explain the potential length of this essay. Having written pieces of it here and there over the course of the last year it is only after great reflection that I have decided to publish this work. I hope that all with open minds can come together to enjoy its contents, and perhaps be enlightened a little thereof.
Hermetic IdeologyThe Fundamental Theory: Man as Microcosm
There is a certain belief that the reader must contemplate and try his best to understand before the reasoning behind the rest of this essay is both revealed and understood. This conjecture is eminently that the human being is his own microcosm, or “small universe.” Likewise his own existence as a small universe is reflected in the ethers of the macrocosm, or his environment in sum. This fact, however, is only known to the magician and only via magic can the realities of this hermetic law be brought about to cause change in the outer world.
While the root of this idea is somewhat controversial, it would in all reasoning be draw to the age-old concept of “As Above So Below.” If you truly thought that this idea applied only to hermetic science then you are not very well versed in Medieval literature or the writings of the saints. The idea that all organization on Earth reflects a parallel but higher level of organization in Heaven and in Hell has been proposed in the western world as early back as Dante or even Plato. In the land of Egypt this is traced back to wherever that ancient religion may have found its beginning.
The mechanics of this belief essentially exist in the philosophies of Universal Love and Duality(“Love” here not referring to the conventional sense of the word, but to the principle of attractive forces). In respect to the proper religious backgrounds it is said that we are all the reflections of God, for it was written in the Torah “and He crafted man to be alike unto His own image.” Now whether or not this literally means that God has feet, eyes, allergies, etc, is of little relevant to the magician: we shall let the philosophically perplexed deal with such whimsical connotations. What this sentence reveals to the hermetic scientist is of much more relevance to us here.
What is the hermetic stance on this thesis? It is held that within God is to be found all things in their archetypal form. This relates to the Qaballistic theorems of the three negative veils and the ascended Crown of Kether in a manner that the student of the respective study shall notice immediately. All that is left for the resolution of this proposition is a simple transitive conclusion: If God issued forth from Himself all things, then all things must exist within Him. If He in turn created mankind in His image, then it would follow that so also do we in some manner retain all things within ourselves(“Look not for the coming of the Kingdom, for it is within you”). To expand upon this we use another fundamental thesis to be found this time within the Christian doctrine: the attractive power of God. If we all exist within God, and yet are individuals(as we are certainly not “God” ourselves), then there is some exterior connection to this Supreme Identity. If this is the case and we do indeed possess the direct link which Christians such as Eckhart claim “draw us closer and closer unto Him”, and if we are to assume that our souls are a part of this Intelligence, then we are indeed a part of God. If this is established, then because the parts are directly connected to the whole, then so do we(who have our residence with God) have direct access to what He does(“All of The Kingdom is yours”). It is only philosophically correct to presume at this stage of reasoning two things:
1.) That if God is has access to all the world’s information and wisdom, then so do we, who are intrinsically a part of Him, have the ability to tap into the same.
2.) At the highest level of initiation the will of the magician and of God become somewhat merged. Because God is omnipotent, then the magician at this stage also obtains some level of the same.
So what is the iconoclastic resonance of this proposition? A most intriguing thesis: the magician is capable of accessing the entirety of the macrocosm via the evolution of his own microcosm. Through obtaining inner resolution with God, so also does he obtain exterior harmony with the world. This is the meaning of the first lesson I was taught when I began this path, as an elder adept whispered to me “You can never find God in all the depths of the universe until you find Him within yourself. When you do that, He shall show His existence in everything else.” I shall leave this for you to further contemplate.
Dr. Lomer once wrote that it should be obvious to any atomic scientist who looked with open eyes that we are the natural reflection of the universe. He theorized that man was indeed composed of small indivisible units known as atoms, with trillions of them composing the physical gross body, and he pointed out that around the center of each nucleus revolved a series of small electrons. Lomer suggested that in the minds of the observant a parallel should be drawn between the circling electrons of the nucleus and the circling planets of the sun. Each atom could be seen as its own small galaxy consisting of several planets revolving around a single focal point, and therein man could be seen as being composed of trillions of galaxies pieced together to create a universe; the microcosm.
While an interesting proposal, there are of course certain logistic condemnations of it. However, for our purpose here I believe it served as one interesting way of looking at the composition of the man within respect to the two universes, small and large. Hermetically, I believe man is best looked at one of two ways(or perhaps even both for the more comprehending student):
1.) Man is composed on a physical, astral and spiritual level by the interaction and consequent operation of four primordial elements: fire, air, water and earth. These four elements exist within man as a reflection of the forces by which all other things in the universe were created. One may question to himself “What of the chemical elements that science uses?” Suffice it to say for now that while a certain analogy exists, the hermetic elements are not parallel to the physical elements we know; more shall be treated of this matter later in this work.
2.) For the Qabalist: Man is both the Ze’ir Anafin and the Arikh Anafin. The energy consciousness and weight of Ze’ir Anafin superimpose the Briah, Yetsirah and Assiah, all three of which the cosmic consciousness resides within. The Ain in Arikh Anafin leaves Atziluth through which all thoughts begin before manifestation at the will of the magician. Therein, the entire Qabalistic cosmos exists within the magician, and an analogy can be drawn between the two in the mind of the studious.
The Qabalist will understand the latter, and therein have a more immediate comprehension as to not only why we are the microcosm, but transversely how we affect it by change in our interior selves(volition and desire) via the weight of Kether and Malkuth in conjunction with the reflective nature of the Ain. The elemental paradigm however, which is the one we shall familiarize ourselves with here, could perhaps be a little more difficult to understand without a previous working knowledge of the hermetic representation of the elements. Of this we shall treat in the second part of this essay, The Nature of the Elements.Mechanism of the first part: The macrocosm is a reflection of man’s microcosm, and vice versa. Through change in one, change in the other can be made manifest.The Creation of the Elements: A new look at the Genesis “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.”
I shall, for the purpose of this particular part of the essay, refer to the Creative Force(that is to say, the First Motive) using the terminology “God.” When possible and convenient I will replace that term with either “Divine Providence” or “First Motive,” but it is for our present context(in evaluation of the stated verses of the Old Testament) a fitting word. The importance of this particular part of the essay is paramount for reasons which shall become clear to the studious scholar. Therein I have labored extensively on just this one section, so as to provide a clear revelation of the occult truths hidden within the creation myth.
“In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth. And the Earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”
These two verses dictate to us several important occult instructions. The first of them is that neither Heaven or Earth are eternal, as all that which is created shall consequently face its own destruction, but that none the less there existed first a thing which put into motion the first two polarities of this universe: above and below. Because of its original movement to spark creation this “thing” is rightly called the First Motion or Original Transmutator, to which the Hebrews bestowed the title “God.”
In this action, better understood via the title “the First Motion,” the hermetic philosophers have deduced two things; first that because we are reflections of God, and God is the Oversoul and template who IS original motion, so must the property of the soul be “motion.” Second, that there was nothing created before God made an action; because action entails movement, and therein because creation was built upon movement, creation must likewise be sustained by movement. From this occult deduction eventually arrived the ancient(at least, to the hermetic philosophers) Principle of Vibration. Interestingly enough, while the philosophers realized that all things must exist in a constant state of motion, it was only in the recent past that science has discovered this original occult fact.
To delve deeper into the verses under question, we see that though “Earth” was created simultaneously to Heaven, it had no form. For this reason we do not see this primordial Earth as similar in any way to the actual magical element of earth, and therein also do we arrive at the conclusion that, having no form, “earth” as we know it(the planet) had not yet been created. What was created? Polarity. Under the curtains of this sentence God revealed to Moses a very sublime occult truth: the Principle of Polarity. Everything which enters into existence must consequently do so hand-in-hand with its opposite, and for this reason “heaven” and “earth” were created together. Another observation we may now realize is that the element of earth was not the first of the four elements to exist.
Though there now existed both vibration and polarity, there did not yet exist any seminal ideas which would spur that which we call “creation” in so far as our planet and the corporeal universe is concerned. This is expressed as “and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” this face of course being recognizable to the Qaballist as the Arikh Anafin. For those of you unfamiliar with such ideology, the proper texts may easily enough be consulted for a briefing of Jewish mythology, as it is otherwise outside the scope of this essay.
“And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
To believe that these “waters” hold any congruity to the actual element of water is a fallacious presumption. The absurdity of such is displayed by the very fact that without earth having yet been created to halt its flow, the entire universe would have had to consist of water. These “waters” are instead an analogous mirror which we would call the ether, reflection being amongst the principle qualities of water. So we may see that God moved upon the face of the ether.
“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”
The first thing recognizable as a corporeal force created by God was light. From whence does light infallibly come? Fire. For this reason it is spoken that the first of the elements is fire, and therein it is above all the most pure of its brethren. This fire, having its source in the Celestial Fire which is The Spirit, was the first actual emanation from the Creator as displayed by its product: light. Before a physical world, before the creation of the various kingdoms of earth, indeed before anything which we may call corporeal(under analogy) existed, there was light in its solitude.
God saw the light, that it was good, and therein from the existence of light was created judgment and opinion, for God had passed consent of one of His creations, that it was “good.” This was allowable, as He had at this point already established the Principle of Polarity. We move on to see that light gave birth to other things, namely the passing of time, for by establishing the existence of light God simultaneously created the passing of time, as is expressed by the existence of morning and evening, and therein the passing of the first day. Until light had been created there had been no “day before or after,” and in this “light” was the creator of the first day, and its consequent passing to the next. Within this the substance of light had created yet another aspect of existence: change. Even as the first day was created, so did it eventually expire, and this change is called the movement from one day to the next. Rightfully may one deduce that within this, the Principle of Change(which acts upon the Principle of Vibration), shall we also find the creation of that which we call life and death.
We shall treat of the subject of light, this first incarnation of God’s actual spoken word(as denoted by “And God said….”, at a later point in this article. This is explained now simply so that one may understand fire’s principle virtues: creation and destruction. Fire, we may infer, was the first natural element.
“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven.”
In this do we finally arrive at the creation of layers of the ether, which are called the various realms of the astral, though more properly understood as the differing densities of the akasha(the substance of which we shall touch on in the next section). The waters were divided from the waters, and therein that which was of one “water” did not step into that which was of another water. For this reason, though one may exist in parallel ways on the various levels of existence, my skin is still physical skin, and shall remain such so long as I have skin. Likewise, my soul shall remain an intangible soul, never to be expressed as a physical substance.
Above and below having been established already, God separated the layers of the universe so that the inferior would be in one place, and the superior in another. It was here and only here that one may safely conclude physical existence had actually begun, for these “waters,” which we shall call the akasha at a later time in this paper, were condensed and molded so as to create the physical world. In this we find that water was the second element to have been created in so far as it can be understood and represented in our world. For this reason water is attributed the quality of subjectivity, being easily molded, from whence(metaphorically) our physical world was molded into being.
“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.”
Finally we arrive at the creation of the third element, which is that of earth, having been born from the gathering of the waters into one place. It was not until the emergence of this element that the other two, water and fire, had a place to manifest. Therein earth is seen as having the quality of manifestation, and yet at the same time as having that of limitation. For unless earth were created, water would have nothing to stop its flow; likewise, fire would not require to consume a resource in order to burn. For this reason Earth is seen as that which unites and brings together, having on it necessarily both fire and water(as well of air, which I shall mention next), and therein is the explanation of Bardon’s “tetrapolar magnet,” which we shall treat of in more detail under the proper section.
“What of air?” the reader may now find himself asking. “Is air not also one of the four elements?” Indeed, air is considered one of the four elements of Plato, though he lacked the wisdom which both the Egyptians and Hebrews understood, and which science has, with the production of modern chemistry, come to verify. What piece of intelligence is this? That air, in so far as we consider oxygen, can only be created via the interplay of water and fire, i.e, hot and cold, so as to produce the various components of what we consider oxygen, which is the living air of the Platonists. For this reason, that air never had an original representation before the creation of the world, the element of “air” is not truly considered an element. Instead, because it is the result of interaction between two extremes, and likewise the metaphorical “separation” of above and below, air is seen as the medium by which the things are relayed from one substance to the next. In this sense the hermetic philosophers looked at air as a “glue,” holding in one embrace all physical things. However, we shall treat of this later.The Threefold Nature
I have treated to no small extent in several of my articles of the threefold nature of our universe, namely that all things have their pure existence in the Celestial sphere, and emanate downwards into our physical world. I shall treat of this in specific elemental detail here.The Celestial Sphere
The Celestial Sphere is the Qaballist’s Briah, but for our sake we shall see it as the primordial world within which exist five primary substances: Akasha, Fire, Air, Water and Earth. In gross manifestation, four of these are principally expressed: the familiar fire, air, water and earth. The four Platonic elements exist in the Celestial Sphere in their most pure form, incapable of being refined to any more subtle form less they lose what characterizes their forces as individual units.
It should be noted here that while there is a relative relationship, the hermetic elements are not to be considered within the same context as the traditional four elements, and therein can not be compared amongst the chemical elements of the periodic table. The terms “fire, air, water and earth” were chosen by the adepts of old to represent entirely celestial forces in a manner understandable by the corporeal mind. By drawing certain analogies between these four primordial and formative forces and forces within our own physical world the magician can directly work upon those things which would usually be out of his reach. There are no adequate words to express the nature of the primordial forces, and so they are best dealt with within the confines of those four physical attributes attributed to them, sharing many of the same qualities. It is indeed because of the parallel between the physical forces and the celestial forces that we can work not only upon the celestial with the physical, but upon the physical with the celestial. The studious magician shall find a key used in ritual magic amongst that truth.
The Celestial Qualities are as follows, so far as the mind can understand them:
Fire: Expansion, electric, motion, brightness and thinness
Air: Balance, connection, thinness, motion, darkness
Water: Magnetic, retraction, darkness, thickness, motion
Earth: Tetrapolarity, union, darkness, thickness, stillness
Of importance to the magician is that with each movement upon the celestial there is made manifest a consequent movement in our world according to the laws of cause and effect in conjunction with the axiom “As above, so below.” Now it should be known to all that the elemental energies can not be worked with directly as their substance in this physical, restricting world. We can not, for example, put fire energy into a jar and study it; nor can we examine water-element energy under a microscope and therein understand its composition and nature in relation to the other elements. These energies will of themselves demonstrate no prime direct influence over material things. Why is this? Because the human being, as all things, operates on three layers: The Celestial Sphere, the Mental Sphere, and finally the Material Sphere. At any given moment the magician exists on all three of these layers of his being in a parallel manner, so that where the physical body stands in our world so does the astral body stand in a parallel astral dimension in a place congruent in proximity and correlation to our present geography. Because of this threefold existence of man, when the mind directs the soul to manipulate energy we in fact manipulate the celestial embodiment of the targeted energy in a plane parallel to our own. It is only via the emanation downwards from the celestial into the physical that, via condensing the desired substance, any real physical effect can be had. So, for example, if it were my wish to construct fire in such a way as to set a piece of paper ablaze, it would first require that I condense the fire element in such a manner on the celestial sphere so as to cause its emanation downwards to still possess enough density by the time it reached our level of existence.
It bears reiteration that any change operated upon the celestial sphere will necessarily manifest into the physical world, and one should keep in mind that every day this happens billions of times according to the universal machinery, which has set into play those motions necessary to perpetuate the ebb and flow of nature’s operations.
This sphere is the parallel of the Qabalistic Atziluth, or “World of Archetypes.” In correspondence to the Tetragrammaton(the four letter name of God, Yod Heh Vav Heh) this world holds the letter Yod. This letter represents the Father, an exertive and emanative force from which ideas expand. It is this Father quality which actually contains the primordial archetypes of all things in existence, and it is the expansive quality of the same attribution which expressed these things outwardly. It is the electric world, a definition which we shall understand after examining the virtues of fire. Indeed, The Father is the Celestial Fire.The Mental Sphere
The second sphere is the Mental Sphere, also sometimes called the Intellectual(Agrippa) or Symbolic Sphere. It is here that the elements begin their downward descent towards our physical outer world, and wherein the magician may first come to aptly work with the elements in an important form. In the mental sphere we find the correspondences associated to the pure elements, and so it is here that “Fire” picks up the quality of heat, passion, love, anger, jealousy, action, enthusiasm, etc, and so forth with the other elements in a respective manner; we shall treat of the associations of the mental sphere as they affect the magician’s composure later.
Because the mental sphere is the place of the perceptible mind, be it conscious or unconscious(each with its respective quadrants), it is here that human perception begins to distort and corrupt the purity of the celestial elements, thus associating them with their physical representations(which are, of course, poor representations, though the best we could understand). Thus expansion becomes growth, electric becomes heat and passion, motion gives birth to anger, love, action and enthusiasm, and so on appropriately. Regardless of the exact order, the celestial qualities are dimmed amongst the presence of a plethora of man-made associations by which means we can try and understand the celestial elements via the mechanism “As above, so below.” These qualities, which(as I have mentioned in my Introduction to Magic) are referred to as Occult Virtues, are the levers by which means the magician can move the celestial elements at will. Here do we find the value of the Principle of Sympathy, so that by taking on the qualities of action and energy one can call via synergy the presence of the fire element to do his bidding, and more importantly, can the magician employ the converse so that he may understand that by using the element of fire he can manipulate all associated qualities in this world.
Illustration: Were the element of fire the desired element to conjure on the intellectual level, the magician would meditate upon its qualities until those qualities were present within himself. He would, so to say, take on the identity of fire on the mental sphere, and from there obtain a synergy with it that may allow him to work upon either the celestial or mental spheres in turn with that particular element.
Were it not for the Mental Sphere the magician would find himself utterly unable to work with the elements, for they would have no tangible expression within his mind and therein no medium via which they could be handled. If we did not understand the passionate quality of fire within the mental sphere we would not know how to employ the fire element towards such an end(while I use fire as an example, words can be replaced appropriately to make all such statements true for any of the elements). We shall deal with how to operate magic upon the mental sphere later. Any confusion as to what, exactly, the mental sphere is at this point will hopefully be remedied when we come to the subsection “Magic in the Mental Sphere” later in the present work.
The Qaballistic world to which the mental sphere is analogous is Briah, the Creative World or World of Thrones. The letter of the Tetragrammaton assigned to it is the second letter: Heh, The Mother. The Mother’s job is to receive the primordial blueprints from the outgoing father. The quality is that of magnetism, bringing into it the seminal ideas of the Celestial Fire and nurturing them within her womb. When the qualities have been given a manner of polarity and proper attributes in accordance to The Father’s “Divine Will,” The Mother has completed her task.The Astral Sphere
Though this is typically not considered amongst the essential “spheres,” it is arguably the most important mechanism of manifestation. The Astral Sphere is not unique unto itself like the others, but is instead somewhere amongst a transparent line separating the confines of the mental and celestial spheres.
The Astral Sphere is the common ground of the two spheres covered thus far. It is hailed all over as the “higher world,” but this is false in so far as hermetic ideology is concerned. The astral sphere is a different world, but there are entirely separate levels of existence which this sphere can not claim to ascend unto. It serves simply as the area of reconciliation wherein both thought and energy can exist in union. For this reason it is vital in the process of physical materialization.
We have observed that in the celestial sphere there is pure energy, and that in the mental sphere there is refined thought. If both the substance of energy and the framework of thought are required in order for an actual form to be completed then it is only natural that a mechanism such as the astral sphere would be necessary in order for manifestation. On this level both the energy and thought-stuff emit a certain semi-attractive force which brings unto certain thoughts the proper similar energies. Here did fire become “hot,” and likewise it was through the astral sphere that the correlations of “passion” or “lust” became very real components of this substance. This mediumistic sphere allowed for thought to shape the nature of energy. Yes, this is the place also of the mental creations of man given form: such things as Santa Claus or even the Tooth Fairy could be found here if sought for, having been given expression via the substance of energy and characteristics via the thoughts of men. Likewise this is the place where, should we enter upon it, we shall find all of the spiritual beings in varying degrees of the Astral Light. While woven into the nature of the astral sphere, and therefore important to understand, the aspects of the Astral Light will not be discussed in this paper. For further information you could consult my “Introduction to Magic,” though the most comprehensive study I have seen of this force was in Israel Regardie’s Tree of Life, which I strongly the serious occult student to buy.
The letter of the Tetragrammaton expressed here is that of “Vav,” The Son. The Father gave the original seminal essence of The Son to The Mother, who further nurtured this raw substance with characteristics. The consequent conception was that of The Son, who has received some traits from both The Father and The Mother. He is neither electric, like The Father, or magnetic like The Mother, but has instead produced a balance of the two: he is electromagnetic. This means that The Son has the peculiar power to both receive and transmit, as opposed to being refined to one or the other. This allows him to receive the designs of The Mother and Father, and still be able to express them in a continuous descent into what we call manifestation. This is called the Archeus, or Soul of the World, and it is “Yod” on the Tree of Life. The Material Sphere
The final and lowest sphere is the Material Sphere, within which the celestial elements find their most impure expressions. Why do we call these manifestations impure? Simply because none can exist without the dependence upon another, and therein they have lost the individuality which originally characterized the four primordial elements in their celestial bodies. Fire relies upon air, water relies on earth, air relies on water and earth relies on all of the above, wherein conversely all the aforementioned also rely on earth for a place of manifestation. For this reason, the gross interdependence upon one another, the material elements are considered the impure manifestations, or the “Secondus Materia” as The Philosophers called it.
The final letter of the Tetragrammaton belongs to the physical world: the second “Heh.” As the last in the line of the descent, it is the daughter, who having inherited the magnetism of The Mother(the first “Heh”) can only receive what is given by the exertive force of The Son.
Due to the analogous “distance” between the material and celestial spheres in so far as emanation is concerned we find it the most difficult to affect the four elements in the material sphere due to the energy it requires to travel from the celestial to the physical. While such actions like this happen billions of times each day in so far as the universal machinery has programmed them, for the magician to replicate the operation of manifestation via the medium of his volition alone is a difficult and trying task. We shall treat of how to operate elemental magic upon the material sphere after covering the appropriate instructions.
I would like to point out that the concepts of Father, Mother, Son and Daughter are used here only as symbols to express certain traits attributed to the respective spheres of existence. They have no religious connotations to them(The Son does not refer to Jesus Christ, for example), nor should they be viewed in the manner that we consider the sexual traits of mother and father, or the relationship between son and daughter.
Before going on to handle the primary body of this work let us first deal with certain things which you shall find scattered about the following sections of the essay. Primarily you shall find three things:
1.) A description of the element’s qualities
2.) Its elemental correspondences on the Mental Sphere
3.) The element’s applications
4.) Tattvic information
Upon those you shall also find information concerning the element’s primary seat within the human body in so far as we understand the magician to be a representation of the macrocosm, and therein contain all of the elements within him. Another addition shall be those of the elemental tempers, of which I have already treated in Koujiryu’s article concerning the Aura and shall here restate in light of the context. For those of you who do not understand the concept of the elemental tempers, all such confusion shall be clarified in the subsection “The Elemental Man.” Next to each element name that begins that section is the corresponding letter of the Tetragrammaton, the traits of which have already been discussed.
It bears mentioning that previously we stated the celestial qualities as if each was unique, one upon the other. This is entirely untrue, as anything one may find within one element(celestially) so may he find within any other element according to their single uniting substance: the akasha, which is in all of them. Therefore, while we say that fire is bright, thin and consists of motion, that is not to say that its polar opposite(earth) does not also consist of those three qualities. Instead we examine a ladder of connection: Fire is twice as thin, three times more moveable and four times brighter(in celestial quality) than air, which is in turn twice as bright, three times more thin and four times more moveable than water, which is in turn twice more bright, three times more thin and four times more moveable than earth. This same ladder can be applied inversely in the climb from earth to fire, using earth’s qualities instead, in which earth is twice as dark, three times as thick and four times as still as water, etc. While one may question the measure of the aforementioned table, it provides an analogous understanding via conveying a single point: that each element still has the qualities of another, though always to a lesser degree than that with which those qualities are actually associated with.Fire(Yod)
Let us first treat of the original “element,” which we have given the name fire so as to understand by its representation on the material sphere. It is said in the hermetic science that the sun was bestowed an igneous spirit by the Creator, which it would convey to the planet earth so as to excite two principle things: movement and heat, each of which are the property of life. By operating that Fire which is innate in all living bodies the “sun” preserves the principles of generation and life together in a successive manner. Fire being the principle of movement, it moves the seminal seeds of the Soul of the World(of which we shall treat later) into actuality as opposed to letting it exist in potentiality, and therein fire is attributed the power of creation. This fire produces light, as has been mentioned briefly in an earlier section, and in this we find it the first agent of the world. This light has the power to pierce the transparent body and make apparent the compositions of the world, whereas this heat has the power to penetrate to the interior and animate the torpid and hidden nature of its subject.
The fire, which should be understood as analogous to the celestial fire, conveys its essence throughout the material world via the element of air, which mingles with water and fire, to impress the qualities of the Celestial Fire upon all of the terrestrial bodies. Its key principle, that of emanation, is the means by which the celestial rays from whom the terrestrial bodies receive their qualities are created and thrown outwards for manifestation. Fire, then, contains within it a key ability which the magician must contemplate: the power to emanate outwards into action its interior qualities. We shall find that earth does not of itself produce anything which consumes space outside of its present mass, nor do water or air. Fire, however, as the power to be in a precise area of space, and yet though its body is there may stretch outwards and permeate a room with its being via the mechanism of light. Within this operation is a great occult truth which may easily be applied to practical magic with the elements, of which I shall give a few examples for each element.
Fire is a bipolar element within itself, consisting of two extremes: The Celestial Fire and the Infernal Fire. To the Celestial Fire we attribute the qualities of heat to make all things fruitful, and light to give all things life and motion. To the Infernal Fire we attribute the parching heat to consume all living things, and darkness making all things barren. Now one may wonder of the latter quality of the Infernal Fire, in so far as how fire in its natural context can not produce light as the Infernal Fire is attributed. In this we find the concept of the “Dark” Hell, wherein everything burns but there is no light, one being trapped in perpetual darkness. In this way fire’s principle of destruction is still in play, yet that very thing which causes its principle of creation(light) is robbed from it. One who can work with both the Celestial and Inferior Fires can operate many things that the magically ignorant may be compelled to call miracles; the magician, however, knows that his operations are quite natural and can explain them(if at length) to any willing to listen.
Due to its analogy with the Original Fire, or Divine Fire, one will find that the presence of fire in a ritual(as is represented by the burning coal of the incense burner) strengthens godly being in its presence, and is likewise a powerful mechanism to strengthen the force of one’s prayer. For its connections with the divine it is seen as a representation of He who said “I am the Light of the World,” and consequently its presence wards off negative entities so long as that connection is made concrete within the mind of the magician lighting the fire. Likewise it was taught to the Jews that they were to make all their sacrifices consecrated by fire, fire being a principle link between the Celestial Fire and the terrestrial world. It is, due to its qualities, a representation also of man’s soul. Much more can be said about fire and its animating principles, but I shall leave the rest to the studious magicians and move on to a few practical applications. Note that in this particular section I shall not provide how to operate these applications, but simply what these applications may be, so as to incite thinking. We shall move on to treat of ways by which these applications can be made a reality when we come to the appropriate part of this essay.
Keeping in mind all of the aforementioned, the observant scholar should have already noticed certain principle ways in which the fire element can be operated. Seeing that fire is the principle of creation and life via the excitement of movement, he may have inferred that via proper manipulation of the correct aspects of this element the master adepts are able to animate that which otherwise is inanimate, sometimes even bring back to life that which was previously dead by sparking once more the igneous flame of life within it. Knowing now that light is a force which pierces the transparent body and reveals its composite nature so may one have concluded that within the power to extrude this light from his own presence the adept can peer directly into the soul of another man and know his very nature. This light, being blocked by no thing, is likewise the mechanism of clairvoyance in the eyes of the trained magician(the cultivation of which is outside the scope of this essay). So also can you learn from the statements above concerning the nature of fire that via knowledge of the principle of light, which is the emanation from a single source, so may one emanate his own nature outwards as appropriate. This emanation may in turn imprint the will of the magician upon what things are receptive of his rays. Likewise, with a knowledge of both the creation of one’s own “light,” or emanating rays of intent, and a working knowledge of the principles of air(of which we shall treat momentarily) the magician may likewise work such things as telepathy, being able to impregnate the surrounding air with his thoughts and direct them as he wishes. Let it not remain unspoken that amongst many other things the ability to properly manipulate the essence of fire can enable the elemental adept to work such wonders as the igniting of objects into flame, the control of the temperature of a room, and the ability to internally warm himself and others with the wave of a hand.
For our purposes here we shall refer to the elemental qualities as a set using the term “fire,” and shall refer to the fluid energy with which we work(apart or connected to the qualities) as Tejas. The use of this Tibetan term will allow an easier distinction between the element and the elemental energy, and shall also save me the time of writing “________ elemental energy” over and over in later discussion.
Tejas is represented symbolically as the red triangle pointing upwards. Its Divine Name, being that combination of vibrations and intent which resonates most clearly with its own frequency, is YHVH Tzabaoth(Yod-hey-vau-hey Tsah-bah-ohth). The archangel assigned to its commission is Michael(mee-kay-el) and his corresponding angels are the Arallim.
Direction - South
Gender - Male
Energy - Projective, electric
Qualities - Hot and dry; light and active; motion
Colors – Red and/or orange
Correlation to the Law – “To Will”
Point of Pentagram - Lower right
Season - Summer
Hour of day - Noon
Tools - Wand, athame, incense
Animals - Lion, serpent, dragon
Alchemical symbol – Red triangle
Elemental being - Salamander
Manifest Representations - Fire, sun, stars, volcanoes
Human sense – Sight(the principle of light)
Finger – Index finger
Tattwa - Tejas Air(Vav)
Air is the midway between that which is above and below; the principle link(metaphorically) connecting the heavens to the Earth. We find it situated between fire and water, and being not a singular element of its own, assimilating parts of both its neighbor’s qualities. For this reason the air is seen as receptive, and is the mechanism by which the celestial rays are received from the heavens and then impressed upon those virtues of the earth. In its function it can indeed be seen as close to that of the Soul of the World, which we shall hence forth call the Archeus, and its operations can be seen as having some congruity with that of the Akasha. Air is the glue connecting above and below so that they may not be foreign to one another, and for this reason it is seen as the principle link between man and his soul, this link being the mental body. We shall, however, examine the body of man within elemental context in the appropriate part of the work.
Though the Platonists would disagree, the Hebrew doctors do not identify air as its own element, having none of its own unique qualities. Indeed, within the Qabalah we find only two principle elements, fire and water, from the interaction of which existence as we know it was hence derived. This element, as has been made note of, receives the influences of celestial movements and then carries the appropriate messages into the core of men and animals, impressing upon them the proper qualities. Due in large to this quality may the properties of air be those by which spirits may be evoked into manifestation, being capable of receiving what movements are given to it.
Air, none the less, is vital in sustaining the process of life which the actions of fire have put into motion. Until fire is applied the air stands dark, and therein we find two types of the air element: night and day. To night is attributed arid manifestation and mystery, for without the illumination of fire nothing contained within the air can be recognized and understood. It is the cold principle which it has borrowed from water brought into play, and its key sense upon which it operates is that of hearing. To day is attributed realization and understanding, with all secrets having been brought out and recognized by the emanation of fire(light). Air having not existed before fire, “day” is considered its primordial manifestation. Because fire is seen as the animating principle of life, so is the pass from day to night often seen as a symbolic passing from life to death.
Of importance within the air element are the four winds, each with their different attributes, and each to be operated for different reasons as seen appropriate within their qualities.
-Boreas, the northern wind: Fierce, dry, cold; makes the air serene and binds the water
-Notus, the southern wind: Cloudy, moist, warm; that which brings rain
-Zephyrus, the western wind: Soft, cold and moist
-Eurus, the eastern wind: Cloudy, ravenous and warm
The principle winds here are Boreas and Eurus, being the polar opposites, and each one with a corresponding wind which borrows attributes from both poles: for example, Zephyrus has the cold of Boreas and moisture of Notus. With the knowledge of the qualities of the winds(more of which may be discerned by the scholar upon contemplation) one may work many interesting operations, as they are the Four Forces, each issuing from one of the Four Towers and commanded by one of the archangels. I could here provide the angelic and demonic correspondences of the winds, but I shall leave that to the studious.
With all of the above the observant magician shall have noticed certain ways in which the air element may be applied for magic. He knows now that air is the principle of impregnation and conveys that which it carries to the other gross bodies, and therein that this element may act as a fitting conduit by which means his will can be carried. Just as air imprints qualities, so is it receptive of the celestial rays, and within its proper understanding may the magician ascertain by which means the qualities given to a substance can be controlled and altered according to the will. Likewise we have seen that air is the vehicle of messages, be they celestial or otherwise, and in this may the power of telepathy be exercised, as Agrippa said: “Hence it is possible naturally, and far from any manner of superstition, that a man should be able in a very short time to signify his mind unto another man, abiding at a very long and unknown distance from him.” This principle operated, as one should now see, by the air’s power to receive the thoughts of the magician and imprint them upon the desired recipient, so as to create the “sender and receiver.” The innate occult operation of air’s transmission has even been made use of today by such things as radios, televisions, phones, and all else which receive invisible transmissions via the space of air. Should one be studious, he shall draw many more analogies by which to understand and activate the powers of this element.
The Tattvic designation of Air is Vayu, the symbolic depiction begin a blue circle. The Divine Name which causes this fluid to excite by means of its innate vibration is Shaddai El Chai(Shod-dah-aye El Kaye). The designated archangel is Raphael, who’s angels in this respect are the Chassan.
Direction - East
Gender - Male
Energy – Neutral; balance
Qualities - hot and moist, light and active
Color – Yellow, light blue
Correlation to the Law – “To know”
Season - Spring
Time of day - Dawn
Tool – Interchangeably, the incense and the wand
Point on the Pentagram - Upper left
Animals - Eagle, human
Alchemical symbol - Triangle with a line through the middle
Elemental being - Sylph
Manifest Representations – The sky, wind, clouds
Human senses - Hearing, smell
Finger – Ring finger
Tattwa - VajuWater(1st Heh)
Water is, by Qabalistic terms, the second and last of the true “elements.” Only by the interplay of water and fire were the air and earth consequently wrought. According to its nature this element both attracts and seeks those things both inferior and superior, and therein is the magnetic force which creates the tension between this world and the next. As fire and water are the polar opposites, fire being electric and water being magnetic, they are constantly pushing and pulling against each other, and the tension consequently established amongst the world is referred to as “weight”, which is not to be confused with our physical perception of weight(though a certain analogy exists). Water is the molding vehicle which consequently helps decide the shapes of those things which are brought into manifestation via the qualities of earth.
The element of water, when in play with earth, possesses the quality of sustaining life, though the quality of creating life belongs specifically to fire. Its child is the reflective ether upon which we look to find God and see only ourselves. By this means all which occurs above is reflected unto that which is below, and so it becomes the messenger of the gods. It is the great purifier and inquisitor, seeking out what is deemed evil and purging it of existence; for this reason long has water been used in the rituals of men for the sake of cleansing and baptizing. Within its reflective principles and the transduction of divine light to which it belongs exists the secrets of the power of baptism, should a fitting conduit perform the ritual.
The primordial chaos of the universe was analogous to water, or more appropriately, to steam or vapor. God organized this vapor by collecting it into one place, and so that which was chaotic become serene. Just as its brother element contains the principle of creation and destruction, so does water retain the principles of life and death(life and death not being the same as creation and destruction, which the aspirant should make note of). Water is the symbol of he who said “I am the fountain of life,” and often was it testified by Paul that Christ was the Holy Water, and this we must remember to be congruent to the Cosmic Christ which is cultivatable within ourselves, that we may all achieve perfection and godhood. The key to this perfection is water, without which(as Jesus testified to Nicodemus) spiritual regeneration can not occur. As Agrippa said:
“Water swallows up the Earth, extinguishes the flames, ascends on high, and by stretching forth clouds challenges the Heavens for their own.”
So what applications shall the scholar find for water? I shall make note of a few, so as to brighten your inspiration for continued study and training. Water is the magnetic force, and therein attracts that which is within proper polarity unto itself, and repels that which is not further away. By this means, and the careful manipulation of water’s inherent principles, the adept can learn many ways by which spirits may be warded off or conjured into manifestation. Likewise can curses be cast off and returned to their masters. The scholar should have noticed that, because of its properties, the proper manipulation of water can allow one to sustain the quality of an enchantment by the same magnetic force, and in conjunction with his knowledge of air, see that enchantment belongs to the principles of air and water mutually. This is not to say, of course, that virtues of enchantments can only belong to water and air; simply that it is the latter principles which keep the enchantment in operation and bind the will of the magician to an object.
Not amongst the least of the powers one can ring out of the essence of water is the power of true baptism, which unfortunately is often lost to the church these days and drug through the mud by unfit preachers. A true baptism is one the likes of which Paul gave, wherein the recipient received various spiritual powers(such as the speaking of tongues) after immediately not only being cleansed of negative energies(operated by the interplay of fire and water/electric and magnetic), but having the Holy Spirit fill them(operated by the magnetic property of water alone). Yet another marvelous feat which bares mentioning is the rumored power of the archaic mages to live under water for long periods of time, wherein the mage(by the power of air and water) can sustain his body as well as cipher oxygen under water where the normal human body would deteriorate. Yet one more interesting power is that of resurrection, operated almost entirely upon the principles of water, wherein the animating qualities formerly present within the body(and attached to the soul) are attracted and rebound back to the physical vessel, presuming this process can be operated simultaneously with the healing of whatever caused the vessel’s ceasing.
Direction - West
Gender - Female
Energy – Magnetic, passive
Qualities - Cold and moist, heavy and passive
Color – (dark)Blue
Correlation to the Law – “To dare”
Season - Autumn
Time of day - dusk
Tool - Chalice
Point of pentagram - Upper right
Animals - All aquatic life
Alchemical symbol - upside down triangle
Elemental being - Undine
Manifest representations - Waterfalls, ocean, rain, etc., fog, the Moon
Human sense - Taste
Finger - Thumb
Tattwa - ApasEarth(2nd Heh)
Earth is the principle of manifestation, without which no things could exist on the material sphere as such a sphere would not be created. Without this element there is no "logical end" of the emanation of any element. It halts the embracement of air, stops the flow of water, and requires that fire feed on fuel to continue its existence. For this reason it is sometimes referred to as "The Elemental Opposition," being the only element which puts a firm halt to any other element.
Due to earth being the subject of manifesting principles it consequently contains within its bosom the seminal virtues of all things. These seminal virtues are operated into movement by the qualities of fire, grow by the qualities of earth, and are connected to the process of nature by the qualities of air. In this natural order of events so do all things find themselves created, sustained and connected, each unit bound to the operations of its higher unit: Nature. Earth is wisely called the "first matter of our creation, and the truest medicine that can preserve us," as it truly is the first means by which we come into actual materialization, and it seems only natural that the physical best nurtures the physical.
Because it is the recipient mechanism of the other three elements, earth is called the tetrapolar magnet, containing within it all polarities. Having received the qualities of both fire and water this element is rightly called electromagnetic, the synthesis of which is made possible by the element of air(for it unites all, even the opposing polarities). Every element, principle, quality and polarity finds its manifestation upon this element, and so it is seen as the all-embracing cornerstone of Nature. One may, in sorts, imagine earth has a great sphere, within which is found the other three elements. It receives the virtues of all things, the end of the beams of light so to say, and with that light reveals all virtues.
The heat peculiar to the earth is only fit for corruption. Its moisture weakens it, and could produce nothing unless aided by the celestial heat(as has been made note of already). Let it therefore not be thought that earth is the principle of creation, as we have already mentioned that creation belongs to the qualities of fire alone. It should be minded that without the interplay of the other elements on a celestial level earth could not be a vessel for manifestation, being incapable of and within and itself to produce any type of life.
There are several applications which the scholar should recognize from the given body of information concerning this element. We find first that all manifestation belongs to earth, and the magician should draw an analogy between this principle and the subject of manifesting his own will as actuality on this material sphere. Being the recipient of the celestial rays, and their logical end into manifestation, earth is likewise the recipient of the magician's own emanations and their consequent halt. Due to this principle of limits, given birth only by earth, one may see by what means the actions of nature, men and animals alike can be halted by the will of the magician should he make use of earth's qualities in his operations. In conjunction with the air the secrets of transmuting the electric principles into magnetic principles, and therein the keys to such feats as levitation and resurrection, belong to the proper manipulation of this element and employment of its tetrapolar activity. As the physical nurtures the physical, so does the essence of the earth element nurture the condition of its physical children; in this manner one may learn to enhance the growth of plants by employing both earth and water, or specifically, water of earth(which we shall treat more of later).
Also belonging to earth is the revelation of its secrets, for it contains the blueprints of all manifest qualities and knows the actions of all who move upon its surface and within its sphere. Therein the magician should realize(in light of aforementioned knowledge) that by shining the principles of fire upon the bosom of earth, all otherwise hidden virtues shall be brought into sight. The final quality employable by the magician belongs entirely to the play of earth: decay, or what is properly referred to as entropy. It is only by the presence of earth that fire can burn out(fire of earth), water can be sucked up(water of earth), bodies can rot(fire of earth), air can be made polluted(air of earth), and so many other such operations as are worked by the interplay of earth and the other elements.
The tattva of earth is Prithivi, represented simply enough by a yellow square, of which we may note that the square represents the manifestation of all four elements. The Divine Name for this tattva is Adonai Ha-Aretz(Ah-doh-nai Hah Ahretz). Uriel is the archangel designated to this tattva, and Phorlakh is the corresponding angel.
Direction - North
Gender - Male and Female
Energy - Mutual interplay
electromagnetic Qualities - Cold and dry, heavy and passive
Colors - Brown, black, green
Correlation to the Law - "To keep silent"
Season - Winter
Time of day - Midnight
Tool - Pentacle
Point of pentagram - Lower left
Animals - Bull, sphinx, bear
Alchemical symbol - upside down triangle with a line through the middle
Elemental being - Gnome
Manifest representations - Mountains, caves, gems, fields, rocks, forests
Human sense - Touch
Finger - Ring finger
Tattwa - Prithivi Akasha
It should be known that Akasha is by no means an element as we know it, though is represented as one of the primordial forces upon the celestial sphere, and is consequently the material upon which all fabrications of existence are woven. This substance, which some philosophers referred to as the "dry water" is rightly called the Soul of the World by some occult authors. The function of the akasha is thus: It receives first the will of Divine Providence and, from its primary seat in the celestial sphere as the Prima Materia it sends the celestial rays downwards into the mental and physical spheres, wherein the elements are impregnated with their qualities. In a sense the akasha sends these celestial rays from itself to itself, similar to throwing a ball into the air and then running to catch it yourself. The reason this can be so is that, as a rule, all the elements contain degrees of the akasha within them, even as you contain genetic similarities to your parents. Through this principle the celestial rays are received by the elements and then, according to the principles already thoroughly treated of, put into play as is appropriate to their nature.
We should not, as is often done amongst Bardon adherents(if only due to his somewhat difficult writing manner), allow ourselves to believe that the akasha and the vital force are analogous to one another. The vital force is simply an aspect of the akasha which, because the akasha pervades all things, consequently is to be found within all living things(for it is the interplay of the akasha upon the qualities of life which sustain the vital force). Likewise the vital force, above all the energies, receives the impregnation of thoughts better than any of the other elements(and for this reason on receptivity and conveyance the vital force and Soul of the World are both often confused with the celestial qualities of the air element). It is of this generic matter of creation that our souls are composed, and likewise it is this force which binds the astral, spiritual and physical selves(while it is the Od which binds the mental and spiritual selves and not the akasha, though the Od is simply one aspect of it).
The most famous subject of the Akasha to the aspiring occultist is without a doubt that supernal collection of archetypes known as the Akashic Records. We shall, for a moment, treat of the dynamics of this "archive" of sorts. All things which exist existed first as a thought within the mind of Divine Providence, i.e, within the akasha. Everything which ever was, is and shall ever be had/has/will have its roots in the akasha principle, and it is the supreme force which decides the traits of the seminal vessels before ever impregnating the material world with such occurrences. Because of this one may find within the Akasha, which is the Universal Mind(for it is written "The Universe is Mind; All is mental") everything from the nature of a grain of sand up to the business affairs of a given young man 300 years from now. For this reason it is said that God "Knows all and sees all," which is rightly said, for all which could possibly by known was created by the Akasha principle. In light of this knowledge one may see that everything concerning existence and all its units is kept within the akasha in a manner similar to how a good cook records his own recipes in a personal cook-book. In light of the human mind's power to organize these otherwise random assortments of knowledge spread throughout the akasha(known as the "small face" in Qabalah) one is capable of consulting them in a similar manner to how one may consult a book for knowledge, or perhaps more specifically, the internet. In a sense you "type in" what it is you want to find, and results(according to your spiritual maturity) will be brought into your view accordingly. With the proper operation of the Akashic Records nothing is hidden from the mage. While I have made mention of the akasha principle here, its operation and exercise is ultimately outside the scope of this article, and the appropriate work can be consulted for further knowledge.
The first exercises I shall give you are the elemental meditations, which were first presented to my students and which I have found appropriate to post here for all to practice and benefit from. These meditations are complimentary to the following meditations, wherein these establish a familiarity of the spiritual parts of the magician with the qualities of the elements and allows for the interplay of vibrations, and the exercises found afterwards(represented here from Bardon's Initiation into Hermetics) deal with developing the tension between the spiritual and physical so as to affect the physical.The Elemental Meditations for Harmony Air
Find for yourself an outside place where you may remain relatively undisturbed by the world for about half an hour, and which is accommodating for a seat. On a windy day, preferably 10mph+ winds, go to this place of solitude and assume your respective meditative position. Regulate your breathing using appropriate methods and clear your mind, as is the norm for any good meditation.
Turn your mental attention outwards to the wind itself, feeling it blow against your being. If you can, try to feel it coming even as you can feel energy moving. As it brushes against your face, inhale deeply, bringing into your bosom all the glory of the sylphs which they dance about so well for. Hold your breath, and think of the wind itself halting in expectation for your exhalation, as if it needs your permission. After a moment's rest, exhale slowly and rhythmically, thinking of the wind resuming its course once more. For all intensive purposes, believe that your breath is the microcosmic reflection of the macrocosmic wind. Repeat this process for at least ten minutes, attaining a degree of rhythm with the currents of the wind about you.
After the time has expired and you feel in tune to the wind, turn your focus to the feeling of the wind against your body. Focus on this feeling, and dissipate it as you dissolve the barrier of the flesh, allowing the wind to flow freely into your very ethereal being. When the wind blows against you, do not offer up resistance, but instead mentally let it seep through you and into your bosom, where you shall retain it. Every inhalation see this being done, drawing the wind through the skin and into your being. When you exhale, cast out the wind you have drawn in through your body. Do this process for about five minutes, at which point you should actually begin to feel yourself sway with the wind's currents, though you do not move yourself.
When you have attained the aforementioned, take the meditation one step further. When the wind comes to meet your skin, offer no resistance, allowing the wind to pass through and by you as if you were not even present. Do not bring it into you, but let it flow entirely though you, entering one side and passing out the next as if your presence were not blockade to its beautiful serenade. Inhalation and exhalation should no longer matter at this point, as you shall subconsciously be breathing in some type of rhythm to the wind's currents. You and the wind become one as you dissolve into its flow, letting it carry you where it will. As you advance in your studies this becomes an excellent approach to initiating remote viewing; however, I shall allow you to figure out how on your own.
When you truly feel merged with the quintessence of the wind itself, it is time to return to your center. Go about this meditation backwards, seeing yourself slowly materialize again, and gradually offering resistance to the wind until once more it breaks across your flesh, no longer able to flow straight through you effortlessly. When you have regained your center and returned to a calm, yet essentially normal state of being, close the meditation as is custom to your preferences.Earth
Start into your usual meditation stance, preferably sitting. Open your senses and silence your mind, beginning a process of rhythmic breathing, 4 seconds in, 2 seconds hold, 8 seconds out, 2 seconds old, and repeating over and over until it becomes reflexive, no longer requiring you to think about it. Once done, you should find yourself comparatively relaxed. With your mind clear, visualize yourself sitting on the soil of the earth(as such, you should be meditating outside for this). Focusing clearly, visualize roots thrusting from the bottom of your body(such as the parts of your legs touching the ground, etc) down into the depth of the earth, and latching into the deep soil firmly. When done, visualize the earth beneath you, and particularly along these roots, vibrant with a green or brown energy, which is moving slowly throughout the dirt. Focusing, inhale and visualize this energy being absorbed by these roots, and in turn, traveling up the roots and into your being. Let this energy gather inside of you, first filling your legs, and gradually working up with each breath. Continue this visualization until the energy fills you up to the crown of your head, permeating your being with this earthly force of life, even saturating your aura. After this process is complete(taking about ten minutes), being to not just visualize, but actually somewhat "feel" your skin turning into tree bark, and the rest of you slowly mold into stone or soil, until you are a being of earth. All the while, however, let not your mind wander too deeply into the earth itself, but keep your wits about you, and let no roots come up from the earth and attach to you, for Gaia delights too much in pulling her children into her bosom, and this is dangerous for the unfocused magician, who appears to Gaia as one of her own at the moment of this mental transfiguration.
Finally, after holding your focus for a few minutes at this point, relax, and begin to systematically visualize yourself turning back into a normal human being, with the rock, dirt and bark becoming flesh, muscle and bone once more. Turn your focus downwards, and uproot yourself, perhaps accompanied with a shrugging of the shoulders and tightening of the muscles of the legs for a moment. Bring your focus back into position within yourself, breathe for a moment, then open your eyes, having completed the meditation.Fire
Perform the same process as in the Earth meditation, except throw your "roots" upwards towards the sun in your mind, and have them absorb through convection the fire and heat of the sun, sending it back down into your being, where you will visualize a small fire sparking at the position of your Tan Tien. With this small flame beneath your navel, join a process of breathing into the drawing and flaring of the fire. As such, when you inhale, draw the fire down into your being, and when you exhale, see the fire within yourself growing. Continue this process until the flame engulfs your being, which should take you about 15 minutes if you visualize the growth at the proper, slow speed. At that point, you should feel warmer than normal, partly because of the fire element's presence, and partly because of the stimulation of your chi from the Tan Tien. Hold this visualization of the flame within and surrounding you, seeing your flesh burn away in its fire until all that exists is a being of flame, ablaze with this divine fire. Hold this visualization for two or three minutes, then begin to "feel" the fire cooling, and your flesh reappearing. Gradually, over a course of a few minutes, draw your roots back into you, and subdue the fire until it returns to the tan tien and dissipates. Open your eyes, and the meditation is complete.Water
I am afraid that for this meditation, you must be at the beach. As such, while you may not be able to practice it every day, when you find yourself at the beach, this exercise would be a good one to remember and put into practice. Perform it during the incoming tide.
Stand in the shallow water of the ocean, going no deeper than ankle-high waters, and close your eyes. Silence your mind, and open your senses, relaxing your muscles from head to toe systematically. Begin the normal process of rhythmic breathing, further relaxing and focusing you. Turn your mind down to your feet and ankles, and begin to concentrate on the feeling of the tide as it brushes up against them, first coming to you, the pulling off the shore and back into the ocean. Contemplate this motion for a few moments, trying to get the feel of it. If you're particularly relaxed, you will notice after a few sessions of this exercise that you will be able to feel the tide within yourself when your eyes are closed, thus enabling this meditation to come into effect quicker. Focusing on the water as it brushes by your feet, begin to visualize your feet slowly dissipate with each passing of the water towards and away from you. As the water comes up to your feet, visualize the essence of the water throwing itself into the essence of your feet, becoming one. When the tide pulls the water back into the ocean, see the water pulling particles of your feet back with it, starting with the very bottom skin of the feet. Slowly, but surely, your feet will begin to disappear in your mind, and you will begin to "shrink." Continue this process of visualization, coupled with your breathing in correspondence to the tide. When your feet have dissipated into the ocean, let the water climb up to your ankles, climbing slowly higher and higher, until in your have completely dissipated into the water. At that last wave, when the last part of your body is broken down and pulled into the ocean, your consciousness will quite automatically be projected into the ocean, where for a time you will be "one" with the energies of the water element. Do not lose your focus! The feeling will be soothing, and you should embrace it. However, do not lose yourself to it. After a few moments, begin to see the process occur in reverse, first with the reconstruction of your head as the water brings particles of it back into its original place, then traveling down to your shoulders, lifting your head higher off the ground, etc, until finally you are a whole person once more. Open your eyes, and the meditation is complete. This meditation will take a total of at least half an hour. However, many people become so embracing of the soothing promise of the ocean that they find, upon snapping back into a normal state of mind and closing the meditation, that they have been meditating for well over an hour.The Accumulation of the Elemental Energies
Give or take a few remarks, the following material is based strongly on the writings of Franz Bardon, and can be found in another format in his book Initiation into Hermetics, step IV in his training process. Along with these exercises, many useful supplementing exercises are to be found in the referred book which can only benefit the magician should he apply them diligently. I have given only the core exercise here, and provided the given meditations for passive interaction with the elements to provide a working premise upon which the following exercises can be undertook. I believe it paramount that the aspirant has experienced a degree of union and harmony with each of the elements several times before progressing to the following meditations. This shall allow him the discipline and control necessary for its operation. Part One: Preliminary Skill Development
Sit in your asana, or meditative position. Close your eyes and focus on the element in question, preferably beginning with fire. Contemplate fire for a moment, and all of its various qualities. Specifically, try to grasp the concept of heat, meditating on it for a moment of itself. In your mind recreate heat that you have experienced in the past and in totality try to visualize yourself reliving that exact moment, as if the fire or source of the heat were present in your very room. Try to feel, for example, as if you are sitting in front of a blazing fire or outside in the scorching sun, and make this feeling very real to you. If your visualization is strong enough and your concentration focused enough, you should succeed in beginning to warm yourself up(though only slightly). If you can retain a feeling of warmth for five minutes then you may consider this exercise complete, and move on.
Simultaneously you should devote some time to performing similar things with the other three elements. For air, try to obtain the feeling of lightness in weight. For water, try to obtain a feeling of coldness, and for earth try to obtain a feeling of increased weight(gravity). Though all of these shall likely only be obtained on a slight level, and shall indeed be only psychological byproducts for the time being, success in the aforementioned is success indeed towards the accumulation of the elemental energies. What you are trying to do is establish a mental link with the elements and their corresponding quality. Therein, you shall recognize the elements by their associated qualities of hot, cold, light and heavy.Part Two: The Accumulation Exercise
Assume your asana and clear your mind of all disturbances, turning your attention to your immediate environment. Using your cultivated skill of visualization, imagine as if you were not where you actually physically are. Instead, visualize yourself in the center of a universe composed singularly of fire; all around you and in every direction is ablaze a great flame, and all about the place is an intense heat. You should have the concept of being engulfed in flames yourself, though you should retain that the fire does not harm or penetrate your skin(it stays external). Inhale and pull into your being the essence of this fire, perhaps visualizing the fire itself working its way through your skin
and into the core of your body. With one complete inhalation you should have pulled into every part of your body a portion of this fire energy. Exhale, and release the empty breath into the inferno that has become your surroundings while simultaneously trying to feel the warmth about your body which was not present before. If you do not, don’t worry as this is only your first real try. With practice comes success. After holding this state for a few minutes, release the fire energy back into your flaming universe with each exhalation. A good thing to visualize is that as you inhale you push out the fire energy within you into the physical skin, and as you exhale you finish the push through the skin and thus release it back into its environment. After seven such exhalations you should feel as if there is no trace of this energy left within you, and any change in body heat should thus subside. At this point the meditation is finished, and you may thus acquit the visualization.
Every day that you practice this exercise, add one breath to the set. I would advise that twenty be the goal for some time, and in no way are you ever to exceed forty breaths of accumulation. In the beginning more breaths will lead to a more intense feeling of the fire energy within your being. With practice, however, you will be able to accumulate a large deal of such energy with only a small number of breaths. When you can, after twenty breaths, feel a distinct increase in heat so that you are beginning to sweat(usually around the hairline) you may consider yourself to have acquired skill in this particular facet of elemental manipulation.
This same exercise routine is to be applied to the remaining three elements of air, water and earth as well. For air, the student should visualize himself aloft in the sky, surrounded only be bright blue air on all sides of his being; the goal shall be to establish a distinct feeling of lightness. For water one should visualize himself as being deep within a vast ocean, surrounded on all sides by cold, dark water; the goal is to be able to produce a distinct feeling of coldness, though one need not try to reach a level where he can actually make himself start shivering, etc. For earth the student should image that he is surrounded on all sides by thick brown clay, and that with each inhalation he lets this clay seep into his body and set itself in, weighing him down; the goal is to produce a feeling of increased gravity on his own physical body.
Eventually the regular practice of the elemental accumulation(as indeed doing such with all four elements should become a daily habit) will allow one to be able to produce states observable by even the uninitiated. You will, for example, be able to warm a person by touching him, and even reproduce testable fever-temperatures within yourself for short periods of time. With water, one may be able to have his body feel cold to the touch. With air, the student may be able to measurably lower his apparent weight on a scale, though in truth his body mass has remained the same. For earth, one shall eventually be able to produce the opposite effect of air. Such things, however, are far off and should not be the object of the student’s desire. You shall know that in time you will be able to produce such phenomena as has just been made note off, but you shall not make it the goal of your training in magic in its entirety.
If you have indeed acquired skill in the harmonious meditations preceding the accumulation exercises then the latter should prove easy to obtain skill in. When a type of sympathy has been allowed to establish a rapport between the magician and the elemental world it is not a very long step into interplay with the elements themselves. In time the movement of the wind is no more difficult than the movement of an arm, should the magician obtain such synergy.The Projection of the Elemental Energies
After having obtained skill in accumulating the energies of the elements it would follow that one practice projecting these energies so as to effectually interact with his own world. These practices should naturally only be engaged upon acquiring some skill in the accumulation and sensation of at least one of the elements. Likewise, the aspirant should only practice projection with the element(s) he is most skilled with until he is capable of working with all the elements mutually.
Arrange your practice session by clearing a small area wherein you are to perform the accumulation exercise for the desired element. If you are doing these exercises in your room it would not be a bad idea to thoroughly clean the room first, so as to ensure a
“clean” atmosphere and allow for easy access to what you are to work with. Before you sit down to begin take a cup or jug and place it in front of the area where you will be sitting, preferably within arm’s reach – the reason for this will be realized in a few minutes.
Seat yourself now in your asana and commence the accumulation of the element you presently desire to work with(ideally, the one you are most skilled with at the moment). Accumulate the element for at least ten breaths, depending more or less upon
how thorough your concentration and receptiveness to the element are. In the length of ten breaths some may be able to accumulate as much energy as others require a good twenty breaths to do, and so you should judge accordingly when you have accumulated
When you are thoroughly brimming with the element in play try to consciously move the bulk of the energy within you into your hand. Let it gather there, condensing each bit of energy as it smoothly flows into your dominant hand. Naturally, as more energy condenses in your hand the presence of the element should more noticeably be exerted. So, if we are working with the fire element, the hand should begin to feel quite warm, even hot, and so on with all the elements in accordance to their properties. I would not advise condensing all the accumulated energy into the hand at once, but instead send bits of it in waves. You shall send one wave, which is to be a definite
proportion of your total energy, into the hand at a time so as to allow multiple practices of projection from a single accumulation of the element. When your hand is brimming most vibrantly with the elemental energy, you may proceed to the next step.
Turn your attention now to the cup, specifically the empty space within the cup. If you would like to make use of such gestures, you may extend the charged hand towards the cup so that your palm faces downwards into it about three or so inches upwards from it. With your hand now over the cup, concentrate on the flow of your energy and push it out of your hand downwards, so that it is released from your palm. Still retaining concentration on the energy, let it fall downwards from the hand and into the cup, wherein it shall collect. In this sense you are pouring the element into the cup very much like you may pour water into it. When you are finished your hand should feel
normal once more: remove your hand from over the cup and concentrate on the energy inside it for a moment. After about three or four minutes, when all elementally induced sensations of the hand are gone, extend it once more over the cup and take note of how it
feels. If the space inside the cup exerts definitive warmth, you may presume that you have succeeded in projecting the fire element into it. Naturally, if you were practicing with water the cup should emit a feeling of cool air from it, and so on respectively for
each of the elements and their properties.
After you have obtained some skill in projecting an elemental sensation into the space within the cup, and have had uninitiated but helpful individuals verify the sensation so as to ensure it was not your own suggestion to your physical senses, you may move on
to larger spaces to fill. The eventual goal is to be able to fill an entire room with the desired elemental energy with a mere wave of a hand, and to do so in such a manner that it effects both the physical feeling of the room and the mannerisms of any individuals within the room. So, for example, a room filled with the fire element should cause any individuals within it to become suddenly enthusiastic about whatever they may have been discussing or doing, or even agitated and/or aggressive. Likewise, a room filled with the water element should cause a cooling sensation in the air, and have an affect upon the people within it to the extent that they calmly collect themselves, speak softly but firmly, release any mental tension, etc.
Magic on the Three Spheres
I made mention much earlier in this essay of the three primary spheres within which we consistently “live and move and have our being.” This, of course, follows the hermetic paradigm and so one need not necessarily adhere to it for good, practical results. However, one may find upon a little study that many if not all of the great occultists have used some sort of template into which man was divided and dealt with. The division suggested in this paper is that of the spiritual, mental and physical man, and this thesis shall be the mechanism of the following sections. Whether or not you presently believe in such a division I can not infer, nor can I ask you to change your established beliefs so far as they are based upon your own experiences and not some abstract reasoning. However, what I can ask is that you consider this threefold division for the sake of understanding magic in three ways: energy, thought and manifestation. Try it and apply
it. If it does not work for you, then disregard it; this is a fair enough principle for all practical magicians.Magic on the Celestial
Our working definition of the Celestial Sphere is as follows: The sphere upon which the archetypal energies which dictate the actions and forms of existence in the mental and physical spheres reside. As mentioned much earlier, the archetypal existence of all things can be found upon the Celestial Sphere before it was even given form or image in the mental sphere. These energies are divided, for our sake, into four groups which we have named fire, air, water, earth and a more subtle and pervasive energy which we have called the Akasha. It follows, due to the inherent influence of these energies, that any change in them results a consequent change below, and so they are the
foundational stones of the universal mechanism by which the highest Intelligence keeps the universe in perpetual flux.
It is best, for the sake of practical magic, not to view the three worlds as vertically aligned. In that way we do not think of the Celestial Sphere as actually existing “above” the mental sphere in some point in space, nor the mental sphere as actually above the physical sphere. Instead, the magician should view all of these as different transparent slides, each possessing a specific image to superimpose upon each of the other two slides so as to create a single image.
When we work purely with the subtle energies of the elements, such as the energy within the wind that we entitle the air element, we are in fact working with the backdrop of that “superimposed image.” I can work with it standing on a hill in the wind as if it
were indeed physically existent all around me, and yet it is not; I am working with it in a parallel manner. Naturally, if the movements of the wind are created by the movement of some celestial energy as this paper suggests they are, then it would follow that by consciously moving the energy wind would result. In this way the magician can view the wind either as the movement of particles across the physical world, or as simply a movement of energy. Likewise, he may view himself as a body or as a soul within a body, etc. An understanding of this parallel processing is an understanding of the mechanism of the celestial sphere, and by what means we can influence it.
What, then, is the mechanism by which the magician may exert influence upon such a sphere of existence? This question is easily enough answered if we no longer view the magician as being part of a separate existence than that found in the celestial sphere of energy, but instead view him as a threefold being that constantly has his existence in all three spheres simultaneously. Therein, just as when I stand upon that hill with the wind blowing upon my face, so is my spiritual self standing amidst the movement of a wave of energy. Just as I may interact with the wind, so may it interact with the celestial counterpart.
In order for this process to become efficient the communication between the spiritual and physical self have to be strengthened to such an extent that a notion in your mind will always be a notion in your spirit. The barriers between such communication must be broken away by such things as energy manipulation and meditation. The result is that when you speak words, there is actually spirit behind them and mental force supporting them. When you will that the wind begins to blow, your mind can relay the notion to the spirit which may then interact with it much as our bodies interact with physical substances. A most excellent exercise for the enhancement of this
communication is the Middle Pillar Rite which Regardie was quite fond of.
The spirit acts upon the celestial as directed by the mind, and the precise directions are given via the important faculties of volition and imagination. Imagination, on the celestial level and when supported by the will, forms a template into which the energies of the celestial can fit or be forced into. An example of this principle in play would be if I viewed fire not as a physical substance of combustion, but as a collection of celestial energy, and then visualized that energy changing directions so as to cause an effect on the flame. I would imagine the flame being already much taller than it really was, and if the communication of the mind and spirit were efficient, the actual celestial
energy behind the fire would mold itself into the template the imagination had formed for it, and so consequently the actual fire would heighten.An Exercise for the Manipulation of a Flame
One particularly excellent way for practicing with magic on the celestial sphere to cause a material change, and consequently enhance the communication between the mind and spirit over time, is the manipulation of a candle flame. Lay down in your meditation
space a candle and seat yourself some feet in front of it though still within arm’s reach. Have next to you a lighter with which you may light the candle when ready.
Assume your asana(meditative posture of preference) and begin the fire accumulation exercise. After accumulating about ten breaths or so(once again, use your judgment), retain the energy within your being. You should at this time feel warm, but not particularly hot; none the less, the sensation of the fire’s presence within you should be unmistakable. Take the lighter and light the candle, letting it burn for a few minutes so as to ensure a well-established flame. At this point direct your conscious attention to the fire in your mind and try to feel the movement of the fire’s energy, making a connection between it and your own. In this way as the candle flickers, so should you
also feel a slight flux in your internal accumulated fire energy. When this relationship has been established begin to firmly visualize an empty “shell” of the flame around the wick. It is this shell into which you want the physical fire to mold itself. So, if you wish the flame to get taller you would imagine the empty shell of a flame significantly taller than the actual flame, and begin to visualize and feel the energy of the flame spread out more so as to fit into its new template. As this diffusion begins start to project your own accumulated fire energy into the flame so that it does not get weaker as its energy disperses along a larger area of space. It should not require too much energy, so do not rush into throwing your entire fire essence into the flame as it will have no greater effect. If your own application of the energy is harmonized with the spreading of the energy then the flame should mold into your imaginary picture of the flame, and the actual flame
itself shall become taller. Needless to say, this same exercise applies for making the flame lean certain directions. In time and with much practice you will be able to manipulate the flame with a well directed command, without the need of such mental visualization. Why? Because the soul’s interaction in the process will become far more efficient, and so less direction on the part of the mind will be needed.Magic on the Mental Sphere
The mental sphere is analogous with Agrippa’s “second order” of elements, i.e, those which have been expounded upon by a single compound. As explained in some detail previously, the mental sphere is that layer of our existence within which the phenomena of thought and imagination find their foothold, and wherein fantasy is reality. If we are to follow the hypothesis and the speculations of past and present theorists, we may say justly that this mental sphere is the reality of Jung’s “Collective Subconscious,” the parapsychologist’s “Mental matrix” and the Quantum theorists’ “Quantum Computer Database.” In simpler terms it is the fabric by which all minds on this planet are connected, and consequently the very means by which the minds of other can be indirectly affected. An understanding of its operation can bring us one step closer to an understanding of the maxim “The Universe is mind; All is mental.”
Within the mental sphere we find the associated attributes of all the elements, and likewise the elemental tempers which I shall highlight here for clarification: Fire - The Choleric Temper Positive
: Energetic, strength, creative, valor, loyalty, motion, perceptive, activity, enthusiasm, eagerness, resolution, productivity. Negative
: Sporadic, breakative, irritable, destructive, intemperance, anger, caught in illusions, gluttony, jealousy, passion, intemperance. Air - The Sanguine Temper Positive
: Adaptability, clearness, kindness, intellectual, piercing, perceptive, inventive, diligence, joy, adroitness, lack of grief, cheerfulness, optimism, eagerness, independence, familiarity. Negative
: Gossiper, thief, dishonest, contemptible, fearful, lacking of stability, rude, air headed, unemotional, continual feeling of being affronted, contempt, lack of endurance, slyness, garrulousness. Water - The Melancholic Temper Positive
: Respectability, modesty, compassion, devotion, seriousness, docility, fervor, cordiality, comprehension, meditation, calmness, quick to give one’s confidence, forgiveness, tenderness. Negative
: Indifference, depression, apathy, shyness, laziness, over emotional, disintegrating, dissolving, secretive, no foundations, ungrounded, forgetful, lustful, clouded. Earth - The Phlegmatic Temper Positive
: Respectability, reputation, endurance, consideration, resolution, firmness, seriousness, scrupulousness, thoroughness, concentration, sobriety, punctuality, reserve, objectivity, infallibility, responsibility, reliability, circumspection, resistance, selfassurance. Negative
: Greed, addictions, obsessions, laziness, tired, lack of control, forgetful, anger, slow, insipidity, unscrupulousness, misanthropy, dullness, unreliability, laconism.
These four tempers are the mental manifestations of the presence of overexertion of the elements within the essence of the individual. A person who is typically reliable, truthful and objective can be seen as having a relatively good disposition towards the earth element. However, if this is in turn not balanced by a presence of the other temperative qualities as well then the individual is not considered magically “healthy,” regardless of whether his elemental qualities are positive or negative. To illustrate that, I did introspection on my self once to discovered my own disposition, and found myself to possess far more earthy and airy qualities than watery and fiery. While my earthy and airy qualities were mostly positive, as were my watery and fiery, the desirable attainment is to have a relatively level number of traits from all the tempers. Therein, I set out early on to add more of the positive qualities of water and fire to my attitude, as well as to transmute the negative qualities of those two elements into positive qualities. Needless to say I am still working on this, but I would advise a similar goal for my readers. These tempers are the qualities with which the magician plays when he engages in magic on the purely mental level. Exercise: Impression of Qualities
For this exercise you will have to choose for yourself an experimental subject who must, naturally, remain unaware of your operation. Your goal will be to subtly influence the individual’s immediate expression of elemental qualities by projecting into their mental self an additional deposit of the desired elemental energy. As with previous examples we shall again use fire for all simplistic purposes to serve as an example with this exercise as well.
This is best practiced in a relatively populated area, where your own gesticulations or actions are likely to go unnoticed by surrounding people. The best test subject at first is likely to be a woman, and if at all possible, one who is presently engaging in a conversation. Why a woman? I can say in all objective reasoning that women are typically more receptive to subtle influences than men. This is in no way a suggestion that women are weak willed, but for a similar reason they also often prove to be far superior clairvoyants and mediums than men(as well as better Aikido students).
Locating your target and fixing your mind firmly upon her(for our purposes here), begin a small accumulation of the element appropriate to the circumstance. Circumstantially we shall illustrate this in the light of two women having a conversation, and your target apparently not showing much enthusiasm for the subject of the discussion. In this instance fire would be the circumstantially appropriate element, and the goal would be to spark a little enthusiasm within the target. It should be kept in mind that we are not “creating” the enthusiasm: the enthusiasm has always been there as a potential expression due to the fire element existent within all individuals, and we are simply stirring it into more observable action.
Begin a slight accumulation of the fire energy where you sit, keeping your mind particularly fixed upon the idea of enthusiasm so as to invite into your being this particular quality in a more potent manner. You may, after a few breaths, even objectively notice a small rise in your own enthusiasm for the success of this exercise, and while this is a good sign at first it is to be suppressed as the magician advances. After having accumulated an appropriate amount(judge according to circumstance; a truly bored individual will need more of a spark than a somewhat attentive one) turn your mind to the individual you are targeting. Do not focus on the physical vessel, but instead try to see past the body as if you were not looking at a material person by instead simply a mental vehicle made of a subtle substance. I personally enter this mindset by visualizing the physical skin “fading away” and revealing a person made of a dark grey substance beneath. It is the vessel, known as the mental sheath, which you wish to establish the connection to. Reach out with your mind and establish a sort of rapport between yourself and the individual, then proceed to project the fire essence down this connection and into the head of the sheath. I say head because the head is the area associated with fire. When working with air project to the chest, when working with water project to the stomach, and when working with earth project to the waist and below. As your energy begins to pour into the individual begin to see the dull substance in the targeted area of the body change into a dull emanation of the color associated with your element. For our example we would begin to see the grey substance of the head begin to turn a faint red. Continue this until you either notice a change in the individual’s attitude or until the area is brightly glowing; if you have developed any degree of psychic sight you will more easily be able to observe when to properly stop.
When done, allow a few moments for the expounded traits to begin expressing themselves. If they begin to do so you may consider the exercise complete, as their expression will automatically lead to their consequent suppression as a fire burns out after running out of fuel. However, if the traits do not express themselves within five or ten minutes, or if the target is showing signs of leaving your presence, begin to focus on the energy of the individual and dissolve the collection of the additional elemental energy. This can be done simply enough by focusing on the energy concentrated within the targeted part of the body, and feeling it subside bit by bit until you can no longer feel the presence of the element over that of the others. This is particularly important, as imbalances left alone can cause slight disturbances in health.
We find often in many grimiores certain seals, pentacles and/or magical squares which are supposed to “cause fighting to end,” “bring a conflict to a close,” “end war,” “begin a war,” “excite passion for another,” etc. As pretty as all those neat symbols are, they can all be broken down to rely on the basic mechanics provided to you above. Each entity conjured for such operations works purely upon the mental sphere, and by its presence there may influence easily the minds of those ordered. The fancy symbols and the likes are simply a means by which certain reservoirs of the appropriate elemental energy are released towards a particular goal; the names and numbers within them have little or no significance in and off themselves.
To close this exercise I might remind you that you and you alone are responsible for how you apply this technique, and should likewise judge it in the context of your own established moral codes. If you find this unethical, then do engage in this particular facet of the practice. I personally find it educational, regardless of its ethics, though I would advise that one not abuse it. In a similar way an adept may conjure a hailstorm, which is damaging to property, humans and animals, if only once so as to embrace the educational experience and know that he is at least capable of producing the phenomenon. Not everything is ethical and not everything is educational; however, they should always be weighed in circumstances to decide the “lesser of two evils,” so to say. This exercise is not mind control, but an educational exercise to demonstrate to the novice the power that the elemental qualities hold over the mind. Likewise, it should be treated as such in a mature manner.Magic on the Material Sphere
The material sphere is the one which arguably requires the least explanation: it is the physical, corporeal world within which we conceive ourselves as existing and to which our vessels are confined. Due to psychological assertion that this world, within which we live and move and have our being, is so different and set apart from the mental and celestial spheres it is often considered the most difficult to create phenomenon observable via physical mediums. In the occult world this can consist of healing, calling storms, moving objects, combusting items, etc: these are all viewed as either discouragingly difficult are scientifically impossible. However, the magician can explain quite perfectly how such phenomenon come to manifest, and with much time, practice and patience can himself learn how to exert an influence over the physical world.
Just as the mental sphere essentially requires celestial movement to itself be altered, so does the material sphere also require celestial movement(though not necessarily intellectual movement). If it is the goal of the mage to create a small flame, adequate fire energy needs to be condensed and given a suitable catalyst. In the case of lighting a candle or the likes, we know that logically a flame also requires oxygen, and so it would follow that not only fire but air energies need to be condensed thoroughly and brought together to manifest a spark. The exercise of flame manipulation I provided earlier is an excellent way to observe the effect that celestial energies can have on material substances, and with time and study one may also draw inferences as to the actual nature of those refined “heavenly” bodies.
This sphere of existence is Agrippa’s “third order” of the elements, which he says is twice compounded. To this we may add some understanding if we view the material world as an expression of a duo: the celestial and mental spheres. The qualities of each compound upon one another to create the final image of the physical element. Through study and observation of practice the scholarly student of occultism will learn many ways by which to influence the physical vessel via the manipulation of mental and celestial qualities and expressions. For our sake I shall provide a single exercise to get you started: the calling of the wind. Exercise: Calling the Wind
In almost every fairy tale and work of fiction concerning the mages of lore there are accounts of great magicians capable of raising gales at the raise of a hand, and such images have captured the imagination of children and writers alike for ages. Interestingly enough, this famed ability to conjure the wind is arguably one of the simplest operations the aspiring neophyte can successfully engage in. It also happens to be a principle way by which magical prowess can be demonstrated to open-minded observers once developed for several months, and with time and practice give the magician a weapon in his arsenal than can make the most skeptical of onlookers begin to question his own stance on such matters. This is not to suggest that in a year’s time you’ll be standing on a mountain top commanding great gales, but so long as aspirations are kept realistic in proportion to the amount of practice put in the magician can expect to demonstrate, if only to himself, his growing command over his environment.
Find a good open place where you may stand and feel the wind from any direction it may blow. Turn your attention to the air element all around you: in the trees, encasing your body, connecting you to everything else in the area via its substance. Close your eyes and try to actually feel the very energy of the element as it lingers still in the atmosphere, both near and afar. While not entirely needed, you may find this to be a good time to begin the air accumulation so as to further synergize with the element. If you choose to do so, the wind may kick up quite automatically in response to the new concentration of its essence. If not, or you have decided to use only your mind for this feat, then concentrate intently on trying to physically feel the sensation of this embracive element all around you, then begin to try and feel it moving. Visualize yourself strongly as if you are standing amongst a sea of small particles, and that these particles are slowly beginning to pick up and move in the direction you please, brushing against your body in the process. Try to actually feel the movement of this energy as it breaks itself against your body and weaves its way between the grass and trees. With each minute let the velocity of these traveling particles increase, and hold it at a steady pace until the physical wind is harmonizing with the movement of the energy. Once unity is complete in that respect, attempt to move the energy faster and then sustain the heightened pace once more, allowing the physical wind to catch up. Carry this on until the wind is no longer harmonious with the movement of the energy, and set that as your present limit and your eventual goal to surpass. With daily practice one may quickly become quite adept at this feat, and the aspirant should not let a slow move dishearten him at first. If you have practiced diligently the exercises provided in this article thus far, this should be easily accomplished.
The Elemental AdeptElemental Compounds
I mentioned in the above chapter that Agrippa classified the elements into three different orders, each acting upon the other. This subject shall now be treated of in a more detailed manner alongside one of Agrippa’s more veiled statements.
“There are then, as we have said, four Elements, without the perfect knowledge whereof we can effect nothing in Magic. Now each of them is three-fold, that so the number of four may make up the number of twelve; and by passing by the number of seven into the number of ten, there may be a progress to the supreme Unity, upon which all virtue and wonderful operation depends.”
This “perfect knowledge” of which Agrippa speaks can rise only by the careful study and practice of those things which have hitherto been presented to you in a manner easily worked with, and so one need not concern himself at this point with the meaning of that first sentence. The threefold consideration of the elements we have already treated of, and so hour from the threefold existence of each of the elements we derive twelve manifestations is no mathematical wonder. The next statement, however, is rather more complex.
Twelve is expounded by the threefold nature of each of the four elements. Seven refers to the seven rays issuing forth from the planets, and ten is the representation of God. So, the four elements by their threefold nature are acted upon by the planetary forces to depict the Godhead. Agrippa was a strong believer in the impact that the planetary alignments had on the operations of the elements, for as most learned men of his time were, he was very familiar with astrology and so believed firmly in its application to magic. These seven rays from the planets then intermingle with the nature of the elements to create further variations with which disciples of the Seven Rays teachings will be familiar. For our purposes here we shall view the astrological categories as simply an additional system of classification, wherein instead of dividing energy into four groups(the elements), they are divided into seven.
Let us the move on to Agrippa’s following statement, which as I have noticed over the years has managed to confuse almost anyone who stumbled upon it (the spelling errors are his, not mine):
“Of the first Order are the pure Elements, which are neither compounded nor changed, nor admit of mixtion, but are incorruptible, and not of which, but through which the virtues of all natural things are brought forth into act. No man is able to declare their virtues, because they can do all things upon all things. He which is ignorant of these, shall never be able to bring to pass any wonderful matter. Of the second Order are Elements that are compounded, changeable, and impure, yet such as may by art be reduced to their pure simplicity, whose virtue, when they are thus reduced to their simplicity, doth above all things perfect all occult, and common operations of nature: and these are the foundation of the whole natural Magic. Of the third Order are those Elements, which originally and of themselves are not Elements, but are twice compounded, various, and changeable one into the other. They are the infallible Medium, and therefore are called the middle nature, or Soul of the middle nature.”
This is arguably the most cryptic statement of Agrippa's entire first book, and so I can understand the question none the less. The first order is the celestial existence of the elements in their pure form, of which we have spoken at length in previous places of this essay. The second order is the interplay which occurs in the mental sphere, where physical represented attributes are given to the pure celestial elements hand-in-hand with the abstract associations man has given them(such as passion, insight, etc). When we accumulate the celestial essence of an element by focusing on its mental associations, such as raising our body temperature by accumulating the fire element within ourselves we are employing the second nature to take in the first nature of the element. Then, having used the second nature to gather the celestial element in ourselves, we release the element purely as energy for our cause. In this way the second nature is refined into the first nature; that energy which is the basis of all magical operations. They are once compounded because while they have the superimposed attributes of the mental sphere, they do not yet have the image of a physical existence.
This brings us to the third nature of the elements, which is the physical sphere. We can call it double-compounded because it contains both the impressions of the mental sphere and the restrictive qualities of the physical sphere. One may see the three natures as a series of three transparent slides, each one containing a certain image on it. The celestial of first nature is the backdrop; the first slide which has the main image to be built upon. The second slide is the mental sphere, which is the second transparent slide added on top of the original to create a slightly different picture. The physical nature is thusly the third slide added, which adds yet another component of the picture to the other two sheets. Naturally, we do not work magic with the actual physical elements, but by the virtues they represent. In this way their refinement is the application of all magic. Conversely, the most impressive of magical phenomenon are created via the medium of the physical elements, and so their understanding and proper manipulation allows for the miraculous doings of the mage. This explains why Agrippa stated that the perfect knowledge of the operation of refinement is the only means by which magic can be operated.The Union and Transmutation of Forces
It is rightly said in the previously mentioned text of natural magic that the most miraculous things can be accomplished by a perfect knowledge of the union and transmutation of forces. What this entails, exactly, we shall here consider.
There are twelve principle combinations with which the magician may aptly concern himself with after having mastered to some degree the manipulation of the individual elements. These double compounds, in conjunction with an example, are here given with a short explanation as to the nature of the compound and its applications. They are as follows:Prime Fire Compounds
The following compounds consist of those which derive from the fire element, and are therefore more predisposed or reliant on the qualities of the pure fire element to exist. It should be noted that nothing exists in our physical world which is of itself a pure element, but that everything can be seen as at least once compounded in so far as qualities are concerned. To view these combinations under scientific understandings would be to miss the point of everything which has been mentioned thus far concerning the categorization of these forces.Air of Fire
The quality most expressed by Air of Fire is what we would call convection, the communication of heat from one position across an area, instilling a grade of heat to nearby objects. In occult practices this is best applied when using the projection of the vital force’s rays over long distances, or during the transfer of vital energy from one person to another. Consequently, the phenomenon of “laying on hands” practiced by some denominations of Christianity can also be classified as an Air of Fire operation.
The particular aspect of the spiritual convection which this compound exercises is empathy, wherein emotions are conveyed from one object to another and thus sympathized with. Experience has shown that interplay with the qualities of fire and air on the mental sphere will naturally provide for the creation of empathetic faculties within the magician. However, until the “understanding” of air and “expression” of fire are reconciled, be it under elemental labels and associations or non-elemental occult practices, empathy can not itself be truly developed. Those who possess the faculty of empathy on its deeper levels knows there is a great different between feeling someone’s emotions and understanding that from which it arose on an internal level.
The difference between “Air of Fire” and “Fire of Air” is as such: in the former, the warmth of fire is being conveyed by the substance of air. That is to say, a quality is being spread from a specific source. In the latter, qualities have already been transmitted
to the air, and are then conveyed by the light principle into other substances.Water of Fire
Some may wander by what means two otherwise “opposing” elements can be put together in a compound, and the answer is simply explained by the fact that in the mental sphere characteristics are added to the pure energies which allow for such intermingling. While the celestial energies themselves do not interact on the celestial sphere, they but necessarily operate together on the mental sphere to allow the projection of qualities which we call material manifestations.
The “water of fire” quality was, in so far as an analogy can be drawn between this world and the mental sphere, noticed by Plato when he noticed that burning wood created moisture to emerge. We may put this into an agreeably mechanism by seeing it as the ability to create something as the bi-product of another thing’s destruction. This fluid cycle is understood by one who has carefully reflected the statements concerning the nature of water already made. “Water” here represents that something which was drawn out of the wood by the fire; it is the ability to draw something which can yet create new possibilities from something which is slowly being destroyed. When the magician, upon reflection, learns the mechanism of this quality he will learn how to create something good for himself out of every apparently bad situation.Earth of Fire
The “Earth of Fire” key quality is that of fuel, in so far as anything which consumes must have a source of fuel in order to exist. This holds true in all living organisms, as does it for fire. In our physical world its correspondence would be molten
lava, though by the activation of different principles.
This quality of nourishment, or fuel, can once more be seen by viewing the necessity of the sun’s rays in the maintenance of the earth. In this the earth is reliant on the rays of the sun in order to operate the life principles properly.Prime Air CompoundsFire of Air
Our next set of compounds are those derived from the base element of air, and are all therefore in relation to those qualities as mentioned in the proper section of the present treatise. I am only briefly discussing the characteristics of the compounds in this chapter, and it will therefore require that the reader reflect upon the notes provided in the chapter detailing the four elements in order to ascertain any real understanding of these things.
“Fire of Air” would incarnate in the physical sphere as environmental temperatures. To the occultist it would therein assume the ability to propagate a certain desire across a distance in operation of the light principle made note of when fire was previously discussed. Likewise, the air principle, in so far as being a mediumistic element is concerned, is combined with this light principle so as to operate jointly an effective vehicle of transportation. Air is the communicating principle, as has been previously considered, and light is the transmitting or impressive principle. In union, these two complimentary forces allow for the impregnation of our world with the characteristics designed within the mental sphere. “Fire of Air” may then rightly be considered a key component of manifestation in the process of conveying qualities.Water of Air
One may be compelled to initially believe the physical parallel of “Water of Air” in so far as we understand it to be the natural phenomenon known as rain. This, however, is ultimately untrue. The process of rain is a double compound involving the base element of air, compounded by the union of the negative fire pole and positive water pole. These poles, while not a subject of discussion in this paper due to a necessary advanced degree of understanding on the part of the reader, should reveal their components to those who meditate fervently upon the subject. I have effectually already given the observant and promising aspirant the tools by which their natures may be deciphered, but I shall digress back to the subject at hand.
As is known to even children in this age of information, our atmosphere is composed in large by water-based substances. “Water of Air” refers to the air’s nature to magnetize to it certain qualities, so that it may in turn provide itself as a conduit not only from the above to the below, but from the below to the above. If this is reflected upon the studious and attentive aspirant may learn for himself how to operate a number of communicative abilities to his advantage, such as the power to have your words draw the attention of those you desire. All such powers as that come with great time and patience, of course.Earth of Air
The representation of “Earth of Air” in a manner we can understand it would be the phenomenon of gravity: that invisible force which, in spite of its inability to be seen, weighs us all to the earth. It also represents that which can be seen upon close observation, similar to how in our atmosphere there are large quantities of dust circulating which we are typically unaware of.
I shall allow your own creative inspiration and studies to bring into being the conception of the remaining double compounds. By familiarizing yourself with the Law of Analogy and various Hermetic Principles, and further evaluating the mechanical qualities of the elements beyond the depth to which they have already been summarized, you will find for yourself the properties and applications of the remaining six double compounds. This process of observation, study and practice will benefit you much more than if I were to simply instruct you in all of it. If you use the template that I’ve already begun to serve as an example, you should do just fine. When your ambitions grow further, you may step into the world of Triple Compounds, which I will not discuss here at all.Prime Water CompoundsFire of Water
Air of Water
Earth of WaterPrime Earth CompoundsFire of Earth
Air of Earth
Water of EarthA Fire of Air Exercise: Increasing the Flame
This is the logical extension of the previous exercise dealing with a candle flame, wherein the magician focused intently on merging his own tejas(fire elemental energy) with the motion of the fire to take control of the small flame. In this exercise we use the metaphorical and literal properties of fire and air to extend this flame.
By the time you consider practicing this you should be become proficient in gathering the four respective elemental energies outside of your own body and condensing them. Likewise, when they are in your body, you should feel their qualitative presence. Put your mind into a point in space amidst the flame of the candle so that, mentally, you are in fact the flame. From that point in space as opposed to from your own, begin to accumulate the fire essence into the flame so that it becomes further condensed and brighter. Simultaneously you must begin to accumulate the air essence in proportional amounts to the fire essence; not as much air is needed as fire in order to increase the fuel of the fire. When the two condensations come together at the core of the flame it will begin to expand in short bursts. Practice this until you are capable of making the flame too large for the wick of the candle to any longer maintain.
When you have mastered this, and can within moments create a flame on a candle too large for the candle itself too hold and which thusly extinguishes itself, you may move on to practicing creative fire where there is not already one present. This is achieved by condensing large quantities of elemental energy outside the body to such an extent that they can easily be felt by anyone near. Condense these energies to the size of a small spark so that they become brilliant and condense. Using your mind as the master director, bring the swiftly into contact over come kind of fuel, such as paper or leaves, etc. If they connect then, presuming you have made two suitable sparks of the air and fire energies respectively, a fire shall grow at the point of their union. Note that the amount of fire energy required for this is such that it can not be channeled through your physical body, as it would cause sudden internal harm and interior burns to the skin and organs. This exercise must be done by gathering the elements outside of the physical vessel.
Elemental entities are a subject of much theoretical dispute but which ultimately remain seated in darkness. In spite of the fact that elemental beings are accepted as existent in almost all magical practices dating back to the composition of the Clavicles of Solomon the King, and regardless that some of them(such as the djinni) have appeared in folklore predating the latter, they continue to be a gaping void in both theoretical and practical magic. I have, to date, not seen one well written book concerning their nature, nor even an agreeable short essay concerning the same. The ability to work openly with them seems almost restricted today to the High Magicians who happen to understand the initiatory rites to pass from Malkuth to Netzach, and even in many of those circles very little attention is paid to them.
Why might this be? I speculate that the initial misapprehension was that somehow elementals were not as practical as the use of angels and demons. The antecedent of this fallacy plausibly came from two things: first, that between angels, demons and gods there were already enough celestial intelligences for the magician to busy himself with(which, in all fairness, is true). Second, because of the latter course of action, very few elemental adepts emerged, and as a result any practical knowledge concerning the elementals and their operations was greatly restricted. When these two probabilities came together, the result was an inevitable lack of useful material concerning firstly the four elements, and consequently the elementals.
When we consider that the incipient training of the neophyte in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was largely in concern to mastery over the elements, it seems indeed a strange thing that amidst the publishing of such books as Regardie’s “The Golden Dawn” and “The Pomegranates,” or Crowley’s volumes of “The Equinox of the Gods” the information concerning either the elements or the elementals is hardly present. However, there are enough hints amidst such books as these, and from prior alchemical writings centuries old, to put together a viable system of understanding these beings. Once this is done they can be directly worked with, at which point the real knowledge of their existence becomes feasible.
The notion that the elementals are somehow less practical than the celestial or infernal legions is an entirely counterfactual assertion. If the goal of the aspirant is to ascend from the sphere of malkuth into netzach then it would seem of paramount importance that he learn proper observation of the elemental beings. Furthermore, this elemental world is the world in which we “live and move and have our being.” If the elemental kings and their subordinates are the rulers of the elemental kingdom, then learning to interact with them can only be beneficial in the aspirant’s path to increase his authority over the four elements and the knowledge thereof. Working with the elementals is far from being a somehow less noble practice than dealing with angels and demons; given the options, elements are the beings I personally prefer interaction with. In time they can become invaluable accomplices in the magical work.Their general nature
While the majority of this paper I have succeeded in avoiding too much discussion of the ethers, which is of itself a confusing set of problems for those who have not done a deal of reading over the matter, I will here have to make some reference to it. I shall not go into detail concerning the ethers, nor explain by any means their functions further than necessary; I leave this to the reader. If the reader is already learned in Rosicrucian philosophies and practices then he will likely comprehend such references easily enough.
The elementals can be seen as existing within the physical sphere, but likewise do they exist in the astral sphere. This dual existence is found amongst all regular entities(angels, elemental beings and demons) though is typically not present in the composition of higher kings, dukes, princes, archangels, etc. So how is it, precisely, that a being can have such a dual existence? Multiple emanations. Elemental beings have their simplest existence within the chemical ether and their highest manifestation in an appropriate degree of the astral light, just as angels have their lowest in the light ether and highest in the Celestial Sphere.
As the astral sphere is the synthesis of the celestial and mental spheres, wherein the energy of the celestial is given definite form by the thoughts of the mental sphere, we can see also that elementals are neither entirely mental or energetic. They are forms of instructions for operations and intelligence bound together into matrixes by corresponding energies. In this way if the celestial fire energy comes into the astral sphere then it will axiomatically attract coterminous virtues from the mental sphere to create a form which has the energetic composition of fire interwoven with the mental qualities and virtues of the same.
Their function in the chemical ether is in coherence to the nature of the chemical ether. They work within it in their lowest forms to operate both the small and large details of the universal machinery. Through their actions the elementals maintain the functions of nature; plant growth, fires, income of sunlight, weather, balance of atmospheric gases, natural events and disasters, etc. Expediently they fly by the masses to go where needed, and consequently are to be found in the complimentary environments. Therefore we may look for earth elementals most easily in thick woods, air elementals in the sky, fire elementals in deserts and near fires, and water elementals in bodies of water. Each one plays its own role in entire mechanism of nature.
Be that as it may, with each elemental having a job to perform, we are not to think that they are entirely too busy to interact with the magician. If archangels can spare a few moments from time to time, then lower elementals will not have a problem with such communication either. A most accurate depiction of the basic elemental beings and creatures would be that they are all analogous to individual workers in an incredibly large business containing enormous worksites throughout the world. It does not explicitly matter if one of the lower workers is pulled away from his duties for a time. Thousands of Coca-Cola workers all over the globe are absent from work each day, but the company continues undisturbed. Even when the CEO takes a day off, work does not halt but continues oblivious of such actions. Therefore let the magician not worry about pulling an elemental, or any spiritual being for that matter, shortly away from its duties.
It is important to know that within elemental world there are two divisions of entities: the elemental beings and the elemental creatures. The elemental beings are considered the more powerful of the two, having the more important obligation(sylphs are elemental beings partly responsible for the manner and movement of winds). The elemental creatures are somewhat the “common populace,” rarely having jobs of individual importance. As a result, having not partaken of such responsibility during formation in the astral sphere, the elemental creatures are typically the less intelligent of the two. While most of them are capable of interaction and communication, a few seem to be little more than mindless forms of energy running to and fro in relation to strings of energy. On the other hand, some of them are innately intelligent and can bestow to the fervent student of magic much wisdom in the matters of their respective element. Even the intelligent ones, though, are not altogether too important in the function of the universal machinery of nature. Does this mean that are entirely unimportant? No. Their presence both suggests and allows a prosperous environment for the corresponding element. A place where a large number of dwarves are present, for example, will be a place of much fertility for plant growth and soil. Because they are largely units of energy, their presence emanates the appropriate qualities into the surrounding environment. For passive communication they are excellent subjects, though for practical magic the elemental beings are more efficient. What follows is a list of the beings and creatures according to element:
*The underlined creatures are the particularly intelligent onesAir
Elemental Beings: Sylphs
Elemental Creatures: Fays, muses, drus, pixies, hamadryadsEarth
Elemental Beings: Gnomes
Elemental Creatures: Brownies, elves, sylvetres, satyrs, pans, dryads, hamadryads,
durdalis, goblins, dwarfs, leprechauns, and giants.Water
Elemental Beings: Undines
Elemental Creatures: Mermaids, ocenaid, oreades, nereides, limoniades, sprites, nixen,
Elemental Beings: Salamanders
Elemental Creatures: Acthnici, drakes, basilisk, phoenix, sphinx, ifrit
This list is by no means concrete, but they are in the least the various entities I and others have witnessed, and to them have been given the names of folklore creatures bearing similar characteristics(according to their stories).The Elemental Kings and Rulers
The elemental kings are of an entirely separate nature than the elementals themselves, possessing both independent free will and the choice of alignment(infernal or celestial). Therein, while a spirit such as a Sylph or Salamander will always quintessentially be neutral(and therefore available for any command, benign or malicious), the elemental Kings and Rulers may choose for themselves what they wish to do and towards which end it is to be accomplished. For this reason a magician who practices solely beneficiary magic may find communication with Djinn slightly more difficult than one who practices magic for destructive reasons. Conversely, the latter would find it much more difficult to communicate with Ghob. Now it should be understood that no alignment in so far as the elemental hierarchies are concerned can be considered concrete due to free will and the ability to “walk to fence.”
I will here endeavor to explain in as simple and few words as possible the general nature of the four elemental kings. Remember that the kings are the commanders of the elementals, and not the supreme rulers of the element itself. Therein, while near the top of the order of command, they do not have complete control. Each king, for example, must acknowledge the order of the corresponding ruling archangel when given: Paralda must obey Raphael, Djinn must obey Michael, Nichsa must obey Gabriel and Ghob must obey Uriel.Paralda(Air)
: Neutral, which fits well into the nature of his mediumistic element. He may be addressed for matters of both harmonious and disruptive natures, and execute them with little or no bother as to whether or not it was the “right thing to do.” In this manner I have found him efficient in any grade of magic.
The wisdom that comes with being the elemental commander of air is only rivaled by the steadfast endurance of earth, and so Paralda has proven many times over to be a most excellent adviser on any affair, especially those concerning intellect and the process of learning. The magician who takes up his counsel with Paralda shall find that in time he too shall acquire a most efficient aptitude for the creation of adept strategies, and his cunning shall overcome many obstacles.
Paralda is best consulted, I have found, when the hardships of certain affairs stack up against you and you can no longer decide which action is the proper one to take. Upon that, he could almost be considered a patron of the scholar and can, upon being asked by one whom has received his respect, increase the focus of the student many fold. As with any king, he may be asked for elemental teachers. If the magician chooses to do this then he may expect to be tested in one manner or another before his request is accepted. However, the annoyance of such tests is overcome by its benefit, and in little time your dreams shall be riddled with knowledge of your element, insight concerning the nature of air shall come at entirely random but fulfilling times, and if your psychic sight and hearing are cultivated you may even have lecture sessions with the new teacher. These teachers are usually drawn out of one of the elemental creatures highlighted above as being particularly intelligent.Djinn(Fire)
: I would not wish to deceive you, and so I shall admit from the beginning that my knowledge concerning the king Djinn is fairly limited when compared to the other kings. The reason? My magic is essentially benign in nature, though Djinn is typically predisposed to commit harmful acts in the wake of the magician’s initial wishes. As such I have little reason to interact with him any more than necessary for my own progress. For such a reason were the “djini” and ifrits, some of the servants of Djinn, hailed as evil spirits in the Quran. Djinn himself has often been associated with a devil of sorts.
Should Djinn accept your invitation, which often requires a deal of time petitioning on the part of the magician, he shall bring with him a most powerful foreboding of harm. In his presence the neophyte will often feel an intense pressure on his chest, coupled with knots in his stomach the source of which is some sort of emanated fear. To the best of my knowledge, and from what I have gathered via word of mouth through other ceremonial magicians, Djinn always comes in such a manner to those who first call him. This, it seems, is his personal test of the magician’s strong will. If you intend to work with Djinn and can manage to bring him into your presence, stand steadfast no matter what happens, as he will not harm you. Know that no matter how strange, scary or apparently threatening the atmosphere gets, none of it will harm you.
I would not want to make Djinn appear as an entirely malicious entity, lest I encounter some problems of my own upon the publication of this treatise. Though particularly frightful upon the initial meeting, he does eventually reveal himself to be a most handsome figure with penetrating yet understanding eyes. The more he respects you, the less intimidating his presence becomes and the easier he is to behold. While he is perhaps most efficient at granting wishes involving some manner of destruction, if he takes a liking to the magician the benefits are many. The strength of the will can be empowered many times over at the whim of Djinn, and the juggernauts known as the ifrits can provide protection for the magician in the same manner that a bouncer watches over a bar. In times of despair he can send a powerful spark of motive to the magician and fuel a fire that shall push him further in his affairs, even if he were previously considering giving up.
My inclusive opinion of Djinn is thus: He is a most powerful ally for the respectable magician, but the neophyte should remember that he who plays with fire gets burned. Of all the elemental kings, I would suggest considering interaction with Djinn last.Ghob(Earth):
Ghob is a particularly benign entity. His status as the commander of the earth elementals makes his nature one of harmony, and therefore he does not naturally agree to operations which would conflict with the natural orders of things. If the magician attempts to evoke Ghob with the preconception that he will learn how to create trees, control animals, etc, he is gravely mistaken: these are not the natural ways of the planet, and Ghob will not have anything to do with them. Only when a magician he truly respects appears will he consider teaching the magician precisely how to use those natural laws in order to achieve the latter. However, if such things are the magician’s eventual goals, then he will have to learn them via his own study and experimentation.
Ghob, as his common appearance suggests, is a wise and understanding being which, while demanding respect as any of the other kings do, would not naturally desire to impose his status upon the magician in seeking for some form of contribution. This singular trait makes him the easiest to work with for the magician, as Ghob’s understanding has brought to him a kind of compassion for those who seek the higher truths, especially if they do so in order to be keepers of the balance, not destroyers.
In contrast to Ghob’s personality is the behavior of the gnomes in general. They are rambunctious, invading, mischievous little beings which will go as far as to directly annoy the magician during his practices. However, as the requirement for the evocation of all the kings, the earth elemental beings must be evoked before the elemental king appears. You must simply stay steadfast, as with the others, and wait for their ruler to put them in order when he arrives. One vice of Ghob, unfortunately, appears to be that he is rather slow in appearing, answering, and acting: therein, you may find yourself surrounded by these little beings for an hour or two before Ghob comes (presuming he is coming at all).Nichsa(Water):
Nichsa is the king of water, and he is essentially the being which the Greeks identified as Poseidon. In a similar manner to Paralda he is somewhat a neutral character with a slight tendency to operate harmonious things as opposed to disruptive forces. Nichsa seems to demand respect most strongly than do the other three kings, and being as he is the commander of those forces which provide for life it would be wise to give it to him.
Though a most proud king, I have found Nichsa to be very compassionate and understanding when his requirements are met. He will scold you if he believes that you are an incompetent magician, but this is simply to enlighten you as to your present downfalls in hope that you may amend such problems yourself. In my experience he is more generous with presenting gifts than any of the other kings, as he has demonstrated many times to me by literally having what I asked for wash up on shore to be placed in front of my feet as I stood on the beach communicating with him. On other occasions I have been presented with a most dazzling array of sea items the likes of which you may walk up and down an entire coast and not find, all without even asking. As you may gather I have a most interesting display of things from the ocean in my household, as do most of my family members now.
Though relatively quick to give gifts to those who have earned his respect, he is particularly slow in giving teachers. Should you ask him why this is, his response will be a relatively short but simple one, explaining that the secrets of the ocean, the tide, and of all bodies of water are simultaneously the secrets of the moon, the atmospheric stability, weather patterns and the cradle of life. Such information can not be idly handed over to any magician he deems worthy enough to be summoned by.Passive Communication with the Elementals
The best way to interact with an elemental safely is to seek it in its own kingdom. To speak with, lets say, an elf, one would find easy accommodation in the heights of a tall tree, resting on a limb. With the Sylphs, speak your questions into the wind, and the wind shall whistle back your answers. For a Basilisk one could find its presence as you meditate in a desert, and for the sprites, there is no better time to communicate with them than the sunset on the shore of an ocean. These are their unique kingdoms, each feeling safe and in its respective “comfort zone.” An elf is often very much willing to speak with a magician he finds sitting on the same limb, assuming the magician starts the conversation, and a sylph shall often shout a word to you as it flies by overhead. This type of casual interaction, with no definitive summoning involved, is arguably one of the easiest in so far as the interaction is kept simple. For short, peaceful conversation, this method can be employed. However, for working magical operations with the spirits, summoning is often a necessity(unless the magician in question has attained a significant level of harmony with the element that can work the desired operation).
It is desirable for the magician who seeks such simplistic interaction to first attune himself to the necessary element. So, if he wishes to communicate with the nearby gnomes in a patch of woods, he should first spend about ten minutes meditating on the nature of the element earth and the function of the gnomes within it. This done, and his mind apparently saturated with earthy thoughts, the magician should then accumulate prithivi in his body to such an extent that he feels weighted down and even a little damp. When this is accomplished the magician may find such passive communication with the elementals far easier, as the elemental shall not immediately identify you as something too different from itself. Your mindset and overall feeling should be a receptive, magnetic one, so as to invite such communication without imposing any emanations upon the nearby elementals. For those of you interested, within this method exists the possibility of approaching living animals and interacting with them without causing them to flee or feel frightened. All that is required is a little insight of you own upon these same homeopathic principles.
As mentioned briefly in the first paragraph of this section, this modus operandi is not necessarily the best choice when the desire is to work with the elementals in immediate magic. However, if the magician achieves passive communication on a regular basis then he simultaneously acquires an auric emanation which invites such conversation on the part of the elementals as well, and therein he gradually becomes identified as a “friend” of sorts. In this manner the magician progressively obtains a kind of synergy with the elements that he has been conversing with, and he gradually becomes identified as an existence harmonious with that of the elementals. In time one may learn to actually call forth various numbers of the desired elementals simply by asking aloud or telepathically for their presence, and they may then be persuaded to help in a magical operation. This, however, is a luxury only those who understand harmony can have.
The art of elemental study, practice and application has long been obscured by a wide array of texts, and this treatise is by no means a text which embraces all the teachings out there. While I certainly do hope that, given how much I have labored to reconcile this information in a profitable form, it is enough to get you started in the beautiful path of elemental magic, of itself it can not provide all the information necessary for true initiation. For such things as that, and the true advancement of the magician therein, he must cultivate his own insight and become receptive to whatever revelations are given him both from within and without.
I stress that this approach to elemental magic is far from being the only one. There are more practical models which rely entirely on energy, neglecting the possibility of entities or simply viewing them as archetypal energies. Another approach is that of the psychological model, which presupposes that everything comes down to how the physical brain encodes information, and then relies on such things as Jung’s “Collective Subconscious” to explain the existence of what appears to be multiple spheres of action. When examined together they are likely the most efficient, though apart neither of them seem utterly complete. Avail yourself of a skeptical yet open mind, and you should be fine.Future Aspirations
Now that you’ve learned the essential basics of elemental hermetics you should apply them fervently in practice, supplemented by whatever practices of your own paradigm are necessary. If you create for yourself a flexible but comprehensive practice and study schedule to which you are loyal then great progress should be apparent within a matter of months. When you reach a stage, perhaps a few years from now, where you feel more inclined to discover some new applications you may enjoy considering the
following advanced operations:
-Converting elements between one another
-Working with the astrological triplicities
-Refining the elements
-Element specific healing
-Combining elements to create specific atmospheric and weather effects
-Affecting the sway of the tide
-Opening and closing the gates of the four winds
-Influencing animal movement and behavior
-Levitating objects with the air element
-The qaballistic applications of the elements
-Creation of mudras using the elements
Sit down and contemplate such possibilities as these once you begin to advance. Insight and ingenuity will progress you further than study.Suggested Reading List
-Manipulation through Astral Correspondences, by Frater AHYHHGYG
-Studies in Occultism, by H.P Blavatsky
-The Etheric Vision and what it Reveals, by Max Heindel
-Occult Principles of Health and Healing, by Max Heindel
-Higher Worlds, by Rudolph Steiner
-The Tree of Life, by Israel Regardie
-Liber 777, by Aleister Crowley
-Corpus Hermetica, by Hermes Trismestigustus
-Initiation into Hermetics, by Franz Bardon
-Nature Spirits and Nature Forces, by Max Heindel
-Transcendental Magic, by Eliphas Levi
-First Book of Occult Philosophy: Natural Magic, by Heinrich Cornellius Agrippa
-The Key of the Mysteries, by Eliphas Levi
-The Six Keys of Euxodus, by unknown(perhaps Paracelsus)
-The Twelve Keys, by Basil Valentine
-The Aurora of the Philosophers, by Theophrastus Paracelsus
-The Great Art, by dom Antoine-Joseph Pernety
-The Emerald Tablet, by Hermes Trismegistus
-Friar Bacon’s Discovery of Miracles, by Friar Bacon
I do pray that this treatise on elemental hermetics has broadened your view of magic as a whole, and that it may help you in your progression as a magician. Namaste.