The Greeks proposed the existence of five basic elements. Of these, four were the physical elements—fire, air, water, and earth—of which the entire world is composed. Alchemists eventually associated four triangular symbols to represent these elements.
The fifth element, which goes by a variety of names, is more rarefied than the four physical elements. Some call it Spirit. Others call it Aether or Quintessence (literally “the fifthelement” in Latin).
In traditionalWestern occulttheory, the elements are hierarchical: Spirit, fire, air, water, and earth—with the first elements being more spiritual and perfect and the last elements being more material and base. Some modern systems, such asWicca, view the elements as equal.
Before we examine the elements themselves, it is important to understand the qualities, orientations, and correspondences that are associated with the elements. Each element is connected with aspects in…
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