What is an Elemental?

Elemental's are other wise known as nature spirits or guardians.

Fairies, Pixies, Water Sprites, Imps and Mermaids, Unicorns are a few examples of beings that belong to the Elemental realm.

Just as angels are messengers from God (or a source higher than ourselves, the Divine if you prefer), the Elemental's are Divine’s nature guardians, residing here just in a different realm to the physical one we live in.

They are sent to safeguard planet earth. However at this time on earth they are struggling to do their job as humans continue to pollute and destroy environments through their actions.

An elemental is a mythic being that is described in occult and alchemical works from around the time of the European Renaissance, and particularly elaborated in the 16th century works of Paracelsus. According to Paracelsus and his subsequent followers, there are four categories of elemental's, which are gnomes, undines, sylphs, and salamanders These correspond to the four Empedoclean elements of antiquity: earth, water, air, and fire, respectively. Terms employed for beings associated with alchemical elements vary by source and gloss.

Elementals reside all over the world.

They are, I believe, what gives many of the great wildernesses of the world that magical feeling that is hard to describe until one has felt it for themselves.

They are the reason one feels more peaceful and relaxed if sitting under a tree, by a river, on a beach or in a grass meadow. Scotland for example is often described as a magical country by locals and visitors alike. Vast numbers of Elemental's of different groups reside here and through writing my book I have had the privilege of meeting and talking to them.

You do not need to go far to find Elemental's no matter where you are in the world. A plant in your garden will have fairies living on it, a tree will have a tree spirit within. The Elemental's surround us every day..


The Paracelsian concept of elemental's draws from several much older traditions in mythology and religion. Common threads can be found in folklore, animism, and anthropomorphism. Examples of creatures such as the Pygmy were taken from Greek mythology.

The elements of earth, water, air, and fire, were classed as the fundamental building blocks of nature. This system prevailed in the Classical world and was highly influential in medieval natural philosophy. Although Paracelsus uses these foundations and the popular preexisting names of elemental creatures, he is doing so to present new ideas which expand on his own philosophical system. The homunculus is another example of a Paracelsian idea with roots in earlier alchemical, scientific, and folklore traditions.

In his 16th-century alchemical work Liber de Nymphis, sylphis, pygmaeis et salamandris et de caeteris spiritibus, Paracelsus identified mythological beings as belonging to one of the four elements. Part of the Philosophia Magna, this book was first printed in 1566 after Paracelsus' death He wrote the book to "describe the creatures that are outside the cognizance of the light of nature, how they are to be understood, what marvellous works God has created". He states that there is more bliss in describing these "divine objects" than in describing fencing, court etiquette, cavalry, and other worldly pursuits. The following is his archetypal being for each of the four elements:

Earth Elemental's

They have power over rocks flowers, trees and minerals.  They are traditionally guardians of hidden treasure.  They prefer caves and deep forests.  Some of the more familiar beings in the gnome classification include tree and forest sprites, satyrs, pans, dryads, elves, brownies and “little men of the woods” (Hall/2003).   They can be helpful or harmful to humans.

Water Elemental's

They have power over water, including streams rivers marshes, ponds, waterfalls, oceans and fountains.  They also associated with rain, mist and fog.  Other beings classified as undines include water sprites and mermaids (Hall/2003).  They can appear as human beings, as wells as small creatures.  They are emotional, love beauty, and are fond of humans.  In the Tibetan and Indian cultures there are Nagas, who are half human, half serpent.  They are associated with prosperity, hidden treasure and are dharma protectors.  A female Naga was said to be the first being on Earth to receive the esoteric teachings of the Buddha.  It is said that angering them can cause illness.

[It is interesting to note here that many historical accounts of goddess appearances are associated with water, including the Virgin Mary in Europe and the U.S., Kwan Yin in Japan, Saraswati in India, Brigit in Ireland as well as ma

Air Elemental's 

They have power over clouds, snow, gases, and winds.  They prefer mountaintops.  They also reside in the air around us.  It is the sylphs that are the origin of the story of gossamer winged fairies.  The elemental's of air are also associated with muses, genius and inspiration.  The inspired artists, poets and musicians are said to be blessed (or cursed, as the case may be) by the sylphs.  Sylphs are mirthful, changeable, and eccentric (Hall/2003).

Angels have occasionally been suggested to be elemental's in some paranormal literature.  The lore of angels clearly has them lording over elemental's.  An angel’s nature is one of “pure spirit“ and not of combined material elements.  They often appear as an energy created with a specific intent.  Once the purpose or intent is fulfilled, the angel disappears.  In occult, magical, and religious lore, there are specific angels who command specific elemental's, and they are called upon to do so.

Fire Elemental's

They have power over flame and smoke.  They do not directly communicate with humans.  They can be placated with incense.  According to Paracelsus, they appear as little balls of light, fireballs, or tongues of fire.  In medieval literature they have been described as little lizard-like beings.  One class of salamander, the Acthnici, appears as St.  Elmo’s Fire on the rigging of ships.  They can sometimes be seen as a glowing orb over a body of water.

Nymph Undina (undine) Water Sylph Sylvestris (wild man) Air Pygmy Gnomus (gnome) Earth Salamander Vulcanus Fire

The concept of elemental's seems to have been conceived by Paracelsus in the 16th century, though he did not in fact use the term "elemental" or a German equivalent. He regarded them not so much as spirits but as beings between creatures and spirits, generally being invisible to mankind but having physical and commonly humanoid bodies, as well as eating, sleeping, and wearing clothes like humans. Paracelsus gave common names for the elemental types, as well as correct names, which he seems to have considered somewhat more proper, "recht namen". He also referred to them by purely German terms which are roughly equivalent to "water people," "mountain people," and so on, using all the different forms interchangeably. His fundamental classification scheme on the first page of Tractatus II of the Liber de Nymphis is based on where the elemental's live, and he gives the following names:

Nymph Undina (undine) Water

Sylph Sylvestris (wild man) Air

Pygmy Gnomus (gnome) Earth

Salamander Vulcanus Fire

are all thought to have appeared first in Paracelsus' works, though undina is a fairly obvious Latin derivative from the word unda meaning "wave."

In De Meteoris he referred to the elemental's collectively as Sagani.

He noted that undines are similar to humans in size, while sylphs are rougher, coarser, longer, and stronger. Gnomes are short, while salamanders are long, narrow, and lean. The elementals are said to be able to move through their own elements as human beings move through air. Gnomes, for example, can move through rocks, walls, and soil. Sylphs are the closest to humans in his conception because they move through air like we do, while in fire they burn, in water they drown, and in earth, they get stuck. Paracelsus states that each one stays healthy in its particular "chaos," as he terms it, but dies in the others.

Paracelsus conceived human beings to be composed of three parts, an elemental body, a sidereal spirit, and an immortal divine soul. Elemental's lacked this last part, the immortal soul. However, by marriage with a human being, the elemental and its offspring could gain a soul..

Signs of Elemental Haunting

The literature on elemental haunting is predominately from anthropological sources, occult lodge literature and folklore.  Occult lodge literature is interesting because it contains (anecdotal) experiences of magicians interaction with elemental.

Most elemental haunting's take place in isolated, mountainous, desert, or forest settings.  It is rare for elemental's to haunt within a city setting.  The exception to this is if a person or group performs magical/magical rituals, which directly invoke the elemental's.  Buildings used for religious purposes could possibly be elementally haunted.

All types of elemental's can cause mental unbalance in sensitive people.

In most indigenous cultures the nature spirits are given ritual offerings to maintain the balance of the community and the environment.

Earth Elemental's:

Eyewitnesses claim reports of little men 2-3 feet tall, usually bearded, dressed in caps.  Reports of females are rare.  They alleged g-reports show gnomes to be mischievous—even threatening—to humans.  When they are heard to speak, their voices are reported as “gruff.”  They do not like man-made metals.  They may hide metal objects or make metal objects appear.  They may be attached to mines and caves.  They may be attached to crystals and rocks.  They may cause animals to behave strangely, often scaring them (Lenihan & Green/2004).  They can cause a person to be suddenly overcome with a fear of being buried alive.  Occultist Dion Fortune also noted that agoraphobia (fear of leaving the home) may be a symptom of an earth elemental haunting  (Fortune/1971).

Water Elemental's:

Humans who interact with water elemental's can become obsessed with water.  In occult literature, it is claimed that water elemental's can cause a human to commit suicide by drowning themselves (Fortune/1971). Unexplained and repeated plumbing problems have allegedly been associated with water elemental's.  Unexplained pools of water appearing are also reported.  Note:  water has been shown to be a conductor of electromagnetic fields (Kling Brothers Ghostlab/2010, and Wilson/2008).

Fire Elemental's:

Unexplained eruption of fires have been reported (Fortune /1971).  A human developing a sudden obsession with fire is also a symptom of fire elemental haunting.  Fireballs, self-reflecting orbs of light, and tongues of flame have also been reported.  Objects (i.e., furniture) spontaneously catching fire have been reported. [Side note:  spontaneous human combustion has NOT been linked to elemental behaviour.  Tests have indicated chemical imbalances, and alcoholism as possible sources of spontaneous human combustion (Wikipedia/2010).]

Air Elemental:

Most elemental haunting's that have been documented in literature appear to be due to the influence of air elemental's.  Air elemental's throw and break objects.  According to occult literature, it is this elemental that is associated with sexual assault.(Fortune/1971) Air elemental's cause agitation and fighting among humans in the locale where they are active.  Air elemental haunting have been associated with the suicidal impulse to jump from high places (Fortune/1971).  Air elemental's have been connected abduction experiences and episodes of missing time.  They are also associated with joyful music, bell tones, and the sounds of happy parties.  Animals associated with their presence includes black dogs, horses, badgers, hares and pigs (Lenihan & Green/2004).  They have been known to leave “fairy rings” in the fields that they frequent.  The fairies are also associated with “fairy forts”, cairns, henges (stone circles) and hills (Evans-Wentz/1911).

[Side Note:  Recent studies have shown that old henges in Europe, America, India and South America have elevated electromagnetic fields, and are built using specific stones with elevated electromagnetic fields (Burke & Halberg/2005).]

Artificial Elemental or Tulpa:

According to Tibetan, Theosophical, and Kabalistic occult literature, there is one more classification of elemental haunting:  the artificial elemental.  Alexandria David-Neel (David-Neel/1929) first used the word tulpa to describe an artificial elemental she created using an ancient Tibetan meditation technique.  The same being in Kabalistic literature is called a golem.  This is a thought-form created by a human, and has taken on a life of its own.

Unconscious thought-form creation occurs when a human mentally obsesses on an idea, object or person.  Conscious thought-form creation is a deliberate act of magic/magick.  A magician creates an entity for a specific purpose, infusing it through mental visualization with energy from his or her own vitality.  The entity becomes a problem when it comes back to be revitalized by the creator’s energy (Fortune /1971, Bearden/1980).

Some apparent poltergeist and/or “self-haunting” phenomenon may be an artificial elemental or tulpa haunting.

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