Originally published in Llewellyn's New Times, issue number 921.
When I was fifteen years old, I was handed a visa of sorts. This "visa" consisted of an open invitation to explore the byways of human thought and practice that have become known as magic.
I eagerly took up this work, for nothing in my life until that time had sparked all three levels (mental, emotional and spiritual) of my being. Magic seemed to offer everything to me.
Dorothy, the girl who handed me this mystic key, was my first guide. We chanted on moon-silvered beaches; performed gathering rites while picking herbs on the surrounding mountains; lit perfumed candles; divined the future; watched the stars at night and listened to the wind.
Soon, eager for knowledge, I expanded my knowledge with old books and other teachers. Though I was simultaneously studying Wicca, I was equally interested in folk magic—that misunderstood practice that was accepted, for many centuries, as a natural, positive tool of transformation.
I soon learned of the Elements. Earth, Air, Fire and Water were potent sources of energy upon which magicians have always called. I began keeping lists of Elemental correspondences in my bound spellbooks, carefully recording this information by candlelight with a dip pen and a bottle of black ink.
I also explored the Elements to determine their magical qualities. Swimming in the sea or pools brought a greater understanding of Water's loving and psychic energy. Building and lighting bonfires got me in touch with Fire's transformative properties (which I later applied during candle magic). Raising herbs and hiking in the mountains connected me with the Earth's fertility (soon utilized in money magic), and I learned to call the winds by the garden gate (which was later useful for spells involving travel).
In my studies, I traveled throughout time and space to uncover the secrets of folk magic. By comparing and compiling those mysteries with those I had been taught and had experienced, I formed a system of natural magic built along ancient lines.
Each day brought new discoveries, and I spent many nights putting this knowledge into practice. My father, who is a writer, urged me to record some of this lore in book form. I wrote Magical Herbalism between 1976-79, then sent it to Llewellyn with the hope that it would be published.
By the time it was released in the spring of 1982, I was busy writing on other forms of folk magic: the Elements, knots, mirrors, the sea, stones, images, and trees. This was the magic that I had learned and had practiced for so many years. In 1983, Llewellyn published this information in Earth Power. I was 27.
This book's great popularity surprised me, though perhaps it shouldn't have, for most other texts of the day had been filled with hate spells, garbled (and unworkable) rituals and noisome ingredients. Earth Power, with its gentle message of magic as a tool of love, seemed to speak to a new generation eager to rediscover the old ways.
After the publication of Earth Power I wrote many other books on a variety of magical topics and even created a video tape. Earth Power continued to sell, and I received letters from around the world regarding this book. Many of their writers asked me to produce another work concerning this way of magic.
I began collecting notes toward this end in the late 1980s. Then, in April of 1990, I decided that it was finally time to work on a continuation of Earth Power.
I threw myself into this task. Several times while writing it I thought of a fabulous ritual to include—only to remember that it had appeared in Earth Power.
So I struck out into rarely explored territory. Much of this book details the uses of unusual tools of magic (such as stars, sand, magnets, clay, snow, wells, and ice) as well as new looks at stones, candles, mirrors, and the sea. I also included evocative preparatory chants, a basic introduction to magic, and two ecological rituals.
But this didn't seem to be enough, so I wrote an additional chapter (the first of its kind) outlining, in explicit detail, a simple method of creating spells for a variety of purposes. I completed the book on November 1, 1991. It is now available.
Earth, Air, Fire & Water continues the magic begun in Earth Power. Though it's a simple guide to this art, I wrote it with the hope that this book's words would provide inspiration and useful tools to those who seek to improve their lives.
True natural magic is a process of inner transformation, one in which we join our energies with those of the Elements to create positive change. In this age of great uncertainty and doubt, magic can be a powerfully effective ally.
Earth, Air, Fire & Water awaits those who feel the call of the green earth; who hear the wind's whispers; feel the flickering flames and drink from rippling waters. It's based on the premise that all things contain energy, and that this energy can be used to create powerful, positive change.
Magic comes to life only in the hands of its practitioners. May your magic live with Earth, Air, Fire & Water.
Scott Cunningham practiced magic actively for over twenty years. He was the author of more than fifty books covering both fiction and non-fiction subject matter; sixteen of his titles are published by Llewellyn Publications. ...