Elements in Alchemy


Air, or Flatus, is associated with the North and by extension is considered to be the first element. Invisible, unpredictable, unreliable, playful, soothing, destructive, inspiring and life giving: the Element of Air is all these things and so much more. It is the representation of the things we cannot see: our souls, our spirits, our minds - "of what lies beneath the surface," as the Alchemists of the past might say. Purity of the spirit and the heart, clarity of thought within and out of the mind, focus of intent, and unhindered sight are all under the control of the clear, soaring, unfettered Air. Yet, Air is not always calm. Unpredictable, and perpetually changing, the Air can easily be a roaring hurricane as it is a playful breeze.

"Who can tell the mind of the Wind? Who can catch it and hold it in their hand? Who can tell where the wind has been blowing? And who among the wise can foretell where it will go?"

---Nicolas Flamel


Earth, or Terra, is associated with the South, therefore, labeling it the last element. Most living beings are dependent on Earth for a place to live and for a chance to grow food. Earth is, ironically, the first thing you need for almost everything to ensure consistency as it provides a ground, stability, and endurance. Earth is a reliable element, peaceful and tranquil. It is an element busy with the day-to-day life and problems, and an element often seen as the great player in the eternal game of the world, counterpart to the lucidity and creativity of Air. It is seen as the force within us where we build ourselves upon, the invulnerable force within us we can turn to in great misery.


Fire, or Ignus, is associated with the East, placing it in the middle section of the element ring, along with Water. Fire in its physical appearance can do for you what the sun itself does for the whole world - it provides you with light and warmth and can serve you as heat source to cook upon. Fire is also an impulsive and a dangerous element, that can smoulder and suddenly burst. Fire can give wings of courage, compassion and devotion. Fire is obstinate and heady and absolutely not subtle. It is seen as the force burning inside us, giving us an iron willpower to go for our goals, bestowing upon us the passion to do it with all of ourself, resulting in the honour and freedom to do it without backstabbing and with an open face.


Water, or Aqua, is associated with the West, placing it in the middle of the element ring, alongside Fire. Water in its physical form is needed to live as one must drink or absorb in a way some form of it, as life - be it plant, animal or sentient life - seems to depend to a large degree on this element in order to survive. Water is often associated with emotions, art, time and especially healing and philosophy. It has the depth of a philosopher's soul and is the inspiration of the artist, but that makes them just depending on its unpredictable nature. Water gives much, but takes as easy everything back. And more. An old proverb proverb says that he who gets everything from the Water Goddess will lose everything to her again.


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