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
Advanced Search
LLEWELLYN JOURNAL
Article Topics
List of Articles
RSS Data Feeds
Mission Statement
Use of Our Articles
Writers' Guidelines

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

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

September/October 2015 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 Journal
Print this Article Print this Article

Walking the Way of Four

This article was written by Deborah Lipp
posted under Pagan

When I wrote my first book, The Elements of Ritual, it was like a brain dump. I had been teaching classes and working in Wiccan groups for almost twenty years at that point, and writing was like downloading all those years into a word processor.

My second book is a different matter. The Way of Four was a labor of love. I wasn’t sure, at first, what I was going to write, but I knew it would be magical for me, and I hoped for you.

Ever since I started as a wee little Witch back in 1981, the four elements of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth have been the touchstones of my occult understanding. The Wiccan circle is structured around them, the Tarot is built on them, astrology grows out of them—to me, the elements are what you go back to when you’ve forgotten everything else. In fact, in my many years of teaching, there would emerge from time to time an evening when I was ill-prepared for a class, and just too tired to throw something together. On those occasions, we’d always work on the four elements, exploring different permutations of them, and they were always worthwhile classes.

Certain points kept coming back around—the need for balance, the need to add elements in when imbalance occurred (rather than subtract them out), and the need for exercises that would bring forth weaker elements. “I need Earth (or Air, or Fire, or Water), what do I do?” was a question I heard many times. Even more often, I would see the need myself; I would see someone who didn’t know what the problem was, and I’d say, “You need Earth, let’s figure out what to do.”

The Way of Four grew out of my passionate belief that those kinds of conversations were incredibly valuable, and were central to what being a Pagan, a Witch, a magician—whatever—was all about.

When I began to write, I started contemplating different topics to address, and came up with a rough outline. I knew that I wanted the book to be fun. Although there are some very serious parts, I think the entertainment value shines through—what’s more fun than magical beauty treatments or redecorating? But the most fun of all, I suspect, is in the quizzes.

Everyone loves quizzes. A friend once remarked that people like to answer quizzes about themselves because people love being the expert, and on that topic, they are. I wanted The Way of Four to have quite a lot of quizzes, and it does. There are quizzes about your personality, your good parts, your flaws, your work, and your personal style; enough to dull even the sharpest pencil!

It turns out that quizzes are tricky to construct. When you give someone multiple choices, you have to give those choices equal “weight” for the answer to be meaningful. For example, if I asked you “Would you rather have your own private Lear jet or a small sailboat?” and you chose the jet, it wouldn’t indicate that you favored Air over Water, because a Lear jet is so much more expensive and fabulous than a sailboat. I’d have to come up with an Air thing and a Water thing of equal value and then see what you chose.

One of my favorite parts of The Way of Four is the chapter on the elements in daily life. This is the part that includes home décor, food, clothing, beauty, and perfume/cologne. The perfume research was especially interesting for me. It’s a small part of the book—a subsection of a single chapter—but for a couple of months, I was completely obsessed.

You see, no one (to my knowledge) has ever taken the occult knowledge often applied to essential oils and simple blends, and used it to analyze modern perfumery. That’s because modern perfumery is veiled in mystery—ingredients are secret and many are derived in the laboratory. In fact, Coco Chanel was the first to decide that modern perfumes should smell like themselves, not their component scents. To that end, her perfumers developed aldehydes, artificial scents used to blend natural scents.

With diligence and a lot of time for research, most of the ingredients of popular perfumes can be discovered. The next part of the problem is figuring out what some of the more mysterious ingredients actually are. I was frustrated by “muguet” for several weeks before finally learning it was a kind of lily-of-the-valley.

The coolest part for me, though, was enlisting a friend in my obsession. He actually designed a database for me, so that I could dump a perfume’s ingredients in and derive its elemental attributes. I had to spend many hours entering things like “Rose: Water; Jasmine: Water; Cinnamon: Fire,” and then spend many more hours entering the perfumes themselves. In the end, I sat back and looked at my results and smiled.

So that’s The Way of Four—a labor of love, a lot of fun, cool quizzes, decorating tips, recipes, spells, things to do and things to think about. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Deborah LippDeborah Lipp
Deborah Lipp was initiated into a traditional Gardnerian coven of Witches in 1981, became a High Priestess in 1986, and has been teaching Wicca and running Pagan circles ever since. She has appeared in various media discussing Wicca, including the A&E...  Read more

RELATED PRODUCTS

The Elements of Ritual
The Elements of Ritual
Air, Fire, Water & Earth in the Wiccan Circle
Deborah Lipp
$21.95 US | Add to Cart
The Way of Four Spellbook
The Way of Four Spellbook
Working Magic with the Elements
Deborah Lipp
$16.95 US,  $22.95 CAN | Add to Cart
The Way of Four
The Way of Four
Create Elemental Balance in Your Life
Deborah Lipp
$23.95 US | Add to Cart

Please note that the use of Llewellyn Journal articles
is subject to certain Terms and Conditions

When I was doing research for my new book, Ghosts of Lincoln, I found a particularly delightful tale in several collections. The story goes that when Winston Churchill was staying at the White House, it was said that Churchill was staying in one of Lincoln's old rooms and emerged from the bathtub, dripping wet and completely naked, to find the... read this article
Mind Reading Quick & Easy
Two Energy Exercises to Empower Yourself
Theurgic Meditation
Ghost Hunting vs. Paranormal Investigation
Turn Your Dreams Into Reality Every Day

Most recent posts:
Ritual Use of Blood, Yesterday and Today
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Aaron Leitch, author of several books, including Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, The Angelical...

Tarot: Art or Science?
My friend Fordrena Griffith recently asked my opinion: Is tarot reading an art or a science? If science why are not all equal? If an art, what...

Energy Healing for Women
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Keith Sherwood and Sabine Wittmann, authors of the new Energy Healing for Women. Since 2001 there...





Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
The Firebug of Balrog County The Firebug of Balrog County
By: David Oppegaard
Price: $11.99 US,  $13.95 CAN
The Child Garden The Child Garden
A Novel

By: Catriona McPherson
Price: $24.99 US,  $28.95 CAN
Anodea Judith's Chakra Yoga Anodea Judith's Chakra Yoga
By: Anodea Judith
Price: $24.99 US,  $28.95 CAN