Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

November/December 2016 / Gift Guide Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.

The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: Elemental Symbols


Elemental Symbols: Much of magic is done through the mediation of the four occult elements, Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. They determine both the type of energy that accomplishes the work and the avenue through which it acts. For this reason a clear understanding and proper use of the elements is vital in ritual. Each element is represented by its own material symbol, which is placed atop the altar beside the lamp in the appropriate elemental quarter. If a ritual concerns only one element, its symbol is placed on the altar alone; if all four elements are involved, all four symbols are present.

Fire is embodied in a short rod about nine inches long. This has a very specific design in the Golden Dawn magical system, but the details are not really necessary. It is the essential shape of the rod that is most important. The nature of elemental Fire is in accord with this strongly phallic symbol.

Air is embodied in a short dagger. Again, it is the associations of the blade—its flashing quickness, its piercing quality, its brightness——that are important, not details of the hilt and so on. The difference in tone between the rod and the dagger says much about the essential difference between elemental Fire and Air.

Water is embodied in a cup or chalice. It should be rounded and womblike, enclosing and protective. It is also more harmonious if the cup is made of a watery, or at least a natural, material. Blue hand blown glass is good, or earth-tone ceramic.

Earth is embodied in the disk or pentacle. This is a flat disk painted with Earth colors. Ideally it should be made of clay or stone. Usually it is of wood. It must not be too large to conveniently hold in the hand—four inches in diameter is a good size, because four is a material, earthy number.

So far as I know, the use of elemental symbols originated with the Victorian Order of the Golden Dawn in the last century, and received its inspiration from the symbols of the lesser arcana—the number cards—of the Tarot. Specific, formal symbols of the four elements were not used in medieval times, and are not strictly necessary. However, the employment of these symbols has become almost universal in modern magic, and they can be very useful. It is important that they be made to harmonize with the sensibilities of the one who will actually use them, not merely according to some arbitrary standard.
source: Truth about Ritual Magic, Donald Tyson

Also See: Elemental Symbol


Spiritual Nature of Numbers
Beyond the visible divinatory interpretations of numerology, pioneer Madame Blavatsky, in her Secret Doctrine, gives the mystery-language symbols for the first nine numbers. 1. A living, standing being, divine, celestial 2. Imperfect state, ...
Relevance:  2 % 2%

Tarot of the Dream Enchantress Review
Summary: The Tarot of the Dream Enchantress will sweep you away on flights of fancy where you will see many strange and marvelous things, and where you will find yourself along the way. For readings and experiences that are anything but ...
Relevance:  2 % 2%

Visuddha - The Throat Chakra
Element: Sound Color: Bright Blue Verb: I speak Attributes: Sound, vibration, communication, creativity Chakra 5 is located in the region of the neck and shoulders and is the center of communication and creativity. Its color is a bright turquoise ...
Relevance:  2 % 2%

What Is Rune Meditation?
Before the runes can be effective for works of magic or divination, they must be understood on the intuitive level and made to come alive in the unconscious. This will occur over time simply by using them, but the process can be encouraged through ...
Relevance:  2 % 2%

What Is A Horoscope?
Your astrological chart, or horoscope, is drawn from calculations based upon the date, time, and place of your birth. Every element of the horoscope (which, if it’s like most Western horoscopes, will be drawn on a circular wheel) is expressed ...
Relevance:  2 % 2%

Signs of the Zodiac
The signs of the zodiac are the most widely known part of the astrological system. As mentioned earlier, almost everyone knows your Sun sign. The daily horoscopes in the newspaper are based on the position of the Sun in the zodiac. The zodiac is ...
Relevance:  2 % 2%

Shamanic Healing
Shamanic healings have long been shrouded in mystery, misunderstanding, and superstition. Still, as we learn to better understand the shamanic philosophy of life, we can begin to have clarity about this special form of healing. Basically, the shaman ...
Relevance:  2 % 2%

OSTARA is the Scandinavian goddess of spring who symbolized the rebirth of Nature. During her festival it was the Pagan custom to exchange colored eggs as symbols of renewal. Her sacred animal was the hare. Many modern Wiccans point to the festival ...
Relevance:  2 % 2%

Group vs. Solitary Ritual and the Source of Magickal Power
Many if not most rituals in books were written for group performance, yet, most "seekers" today do not belong to a group and modern Americans more often prefer to be Solitaries. Before offering suggestions on how to convert a group ritual to the ...
Relevance:  2 % 2%

Review of the Wicca Oracle Cards
Summary: The Wicca Oracle Cards invite the user's intuition and imagination into each quiet image. Each card is a doorway leading to worlds waiting to be explored. By going through these charming and deceptively simple portals, seekers can find ...
Relevance:  2 % 2%

Review of The Llewellyn Tarot
Summary: Close enough to the RWS deck to be usable by beginners and yet filled with the beauty of the Welsh legends, something that will fascinate anyone intrigued by that myths of the Mabinogion or who spiritually lives with that pantheon. A must ...
Relevance:  2 % 2%

The mighty dead, divination, and portals to other worlds… there are so many places to celebrate Samhain in the northeastern United States… The cooler weather, the colorful leaves, and, as the memes say, "Pumpkin everything!" Like so many witches, autumn is my favorite season, and Samhain, my favorite Sabbat. As a child I loved... read this article
Four Mysterious Monsters of Which You've Never Heard
Four Powerful Ways to Live a Joyful Life Today
A Tarot Built for Magick: Modern Spellcaster's Tarot
Exercise: How to Feel Good
Investigating Haunted Bridges

Most recent posts:
This Samhain, Visit the Cemetery and Make a Gravestone Rubbing to Honor Your Ancestors
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Natalie Zaman, author of Magical Destinations of the Northeast. One of my favorite sections of...

The Biggest Challenge
Psychic Tarot by Nancy Antenucci and Melanie Howard In Psychic Tarot, Antenucci and Howard tell us that integrating the wisdom from a reading...

Author Michael Newton Has Passed
Today we sadly mark the passing of author Dr. Michael Newton, who authored several bestselling books, including Destiny of Souls, Journey of Souls,...

Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar
84th Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $18.99 CAN
Wheels of Life Wheels of Life
A User's Guide to the Chakra System

By: Anodea Judith
Price: $21.95 US,  $25.50 CAN
Easy Tarot Easy Tarot
Learn to Read the Cards Once and For All!

By: Josephine Ellershaw, Ciro Marchetti
Price: $19.95 US,  $21.95 CAN