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 The Four Elements And Four Directions, seems a little off to me
scoobs
post Mar 9 2010, 12:23 PM
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I am hoping someone can shed some light on this for me.

In Wicca, they have the four elements combined with the four directions. You have North and Earth, West and Water, South and Fire, and East and Air. The four directions makes perfect sense, but the four elements doesn't.
The way it would make more sense to me is if Fire was opposite Air, and Water opposite Earth.

In our world, the fire is at the bottom and the air is on top, the water and earth are both in the middle and are opposite to each other.

Does anybody know a Wiccan tradition that had it this way?

Thanks


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bym
post Mar 9 2010, 01:10 PM
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Some of the older Wiccan groups in the UK (and thereabouts) have Air-North and Earth-East.. There is still alot of hho-haw over it...It makes sense for it to be this way (referencing the cold NORTH WIND, etc.)
I'm inclined to have them switch around according to your workings! How 'bout the Southern Hemisphere people? Fire would be North and Air, South... The important thing is to adapt...something that Ritual Magicians tend NOT to do! In Goetics, the quarter where a demon should manifest DOES change depending on a variety of factors. Traditionalists will all come and dump on that last remark...but, who cares? I've used an adaptive stance for DECADES and had a very good track record! Go with your gut instincts, you had better learn to trust them anyhow! LOL! Good luck!


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scoobs
post Mar 9 2010, 05:16 PM
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Greetings Bym,

The reasoning for the elemental arrangement is from the earth (our planet). Not where on the Earth but the Earth itself. if you cut a cross-section through the Earth you have Fire and Air as opposites and Water and Earth as the other opposites. This way seems the correct way, more balanced.

Are there any books with information on these older Wiccan traditions?



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bym
post Mar 9 2010, 07:50 PM
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LOL! Yes...I understand why you stated that and where it comes from. I, too, find the balancing of the elements, as a practicing Hermeticist to be more 'in-balance' with Air/Fire (male) alternate with Water/Earth (female).
And, no, I've read blurbs here and there where people, like ourselves, discuss the old way (East/Air, South/Fire, etc) with the alternate idea. From what rings a bell in the soggy recesses of my brain is that the 'old way' of doing this was 'cemented' into 'tradition' within the advents of the late nineteenth century/early twentieth century magical lodges and the now infamous Gerald Gardner and Aleister Crowley connection (though I hate giving either one of them credit as too much is given already...)! You may find it written somewhere but, ...to what end? It really would validate nothing. The longer that I dwell on this the more I'm certain that it was an Alexandrian styled coven that made the remark....but I still plead soggy brains! Not everything is neatly packaged and in balance. That is why I now determine the elemental stations through a form of dowsing/divination first before commencing with the ritual setup. I've seen this argued on a number of different occult-based forums...each adding to the arguments for or agin' it! Personally, I favor East/Earth, South/Fire, West/water and North/ Air...which also aligns the elements in balanced pairs. (Actually, geographically, from where I live it should run this way...East/Water, South/Fire, West/Earth, North/Air! (I live in SE Ct., USA) This also gives you balanced pairs!
I understood your question from the onset...I just can't give you written, authoritative proof....and, again, nor should you need it! You are the mage! Determine the telluric currents of your surroundings! You'll be happier than off chasing nebulous mutterings or listening to someone elses soggy brains! *grin* (I do apologize if I've wasted your time...) (IMG:style_emoticons/default/i_triangle.gif)


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SororZSD23
post Mar 9 2010, 09:58 PM
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Wiccan quarter calling and concepts about the directions were adapted from Thelema, which was adapted from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which was adapted from Freemasonry and bits of medieval Hermetic mysticism. Real, traditional "witches" do not and did not circle cast or worry about the directions. Neopagan witches (Wiccans and some other modern pagans because of Wiccan influence do). Raven Grimassi also claims that Italian witches cast circles in accordance with the placement of giant stars, but the giant stars he refers to were actually considered guardians of the seasonal quarters by the ancient Persons millennia ago and the stars are not anywhere near where they were in 3000 years ago in the sky and Grimassi is just Gerald Gardner Italian style. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/groan.gif)

Medieval magicians and Hermetic mystics were very interested in the philosophical elements and their correpondences, this goes back, in part, to Pythagorean mysticism (5th century BC) and Kabala (9 th century in writing at least). The body and all things were thought to be composed of 5 elements (earth, water, fire, air, spirit). We find the same idea in ancient Eastern sprituality.

In medieval mysticism, the East corresponded to the element of fire and the South with the element of Air (West with water and north with earth). This changed when the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn showed up and created a standard for late modern-era (late 19th/early 20th century_) ceremonial magic.

In the order of "emanation" in the both the medieval Hermetic scheme (according to the medieval mystic Robert Fludd and others) and the Eastern scheme in Tantric yoga systems, air is most ethereal of the elements emerging from spirit and thus is associated with mind and space. Fire and light, associated with action and movement in space--putting thought into action--is the next element to come into existence and is denser than the previous element. Mystically it is the holy fire that links heaven and earth. Water is the next element to evolve and is associated with feeling and experience. So actually air and water are opposite in the modern schema as complementary pairs of thought and feeling. The last element to manifest is earth, which is associated with will, specifically the will to be and also the potential to be. It is associated with the logos. The complement of will is action (fire, the Southern quarter). The earth element and the fire element also relate to transformation in different ways.

The circle in which quarter calling is enacted also represents the wheel of the year, the clock, the moon phases, day phases, cycles of life, etc. One comes from spirit and emanates into form, moving from elemental air to fire to water to earth (spirit, thought, action, experience/feeling, form and formlessness. The path of return is from earth to water to fire to air to spirit--the same as if you were doing a meditation on the chakras.



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Leaving aside those principles of magic that play on the superstitious and that, whatever they be, are unworthy of the general public, we will direct our thoughts only to those things that contribute to wisdom and that can satisfy better minds . . . -from De Magia by Giordano Bruno (born 1548; burned at the stake February 16, 1600).
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esoterica
post Mar 11 2010, 12:17 PM
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hey, soror beat me to it! - yeah, what she said lol

no circles, no quarters, no friggin watchtowers, not even rhyming poetry - spelling was, and in some odd trads still is, spelling out a magical word or few that meant more to the witch that to the universe or goddess or whatever - spelled out of course cause the word would shatter everything if said aloud, or that was the tetragrammatory belief, which is another borrowed philosoply - in a time when most couldn't write, spelling was important and arcane and getting it right was even more important

things are always evolving and if i choose to add a fifth element of spirit pouring from the top and down the sides of a pyramid into the four elements, and presenting that as my witch's pentacle, or adjusting the associations of those elements to the points of my pyramid-pentacle to be more aligned to what i feel rather that what i read or others are saying, then i am making my system more powerful, at least for my use

opposites are opposites after all cause they're opposite, but all that exists due to duality, and im trying my very best to rid myself from duality as much as possible, so my pyramid-pentacle is more in keeping with my practice than with witchcraft, and for many, especially beginners, it would probably not make sense at all when viewed from a particular tradition, but i truly don't care if its in alignment with some theory of witchcraft or sorcery or is simply chaos, for the test is in whether it works, and not for others, but for you, as it is your creation and your methodology, not a tradition's

a wise chef uses a recipe as a basis,not a law or requirement, but the wise chef also knows that many chefs before have experimented and learned that things didn't work well, and we, as wise chefs, need to learn of and remember those failures of the past so as not to repeat them in our own recipes, not because they violate some tradition or other, but simply because they don't work well - then there are a few idiots like me who actually try out the things that have been abandoned to see if they still don't work, or not



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bym
post Mar 11 2010, 12:22 PM
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Hence the word, Grammarye........... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/laugh.gif)


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SororZSD23
post Mar 11 2010, 01:09 PM
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The sentence about the giant stars should read:

in accordance with the placement of giant stars, but the giant stars he refers to were actually considered guardians of the seasonal quarters by the ancient Persians[u] millennia ago and the stars are not anywhere near where they were in 3000 years ago in the sky . . .

Yes. In the end, it is about being familiar with what is more or less done or is tradition in some parts (and perhaps knowing what is disinformation regarding claims about tradition.) and then adapting a ritual or system that makes personal sense to you.


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Leaving aside those principles of magic that play on the superstitious and that, whatever they be, are unworthy of the general public, we will direct our thoughts only to those things that contribute to wisdom and that can satisfy better minds . . . -from De Magia by Giordano Bruno (born 1548; burned at the stake February 16, 1600).
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Dubal-ti
post Mar 13 2010, 02:17 PM
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As one who serves the Witches rooting design it is Air(top), Fire(left), Water(right), Earth, Spirit my oath keeps me from showing more. The four directions is suppose to be protection from the four angelic messenger. This is not true as I understand it, the winds do not protect, they do whisper though. Oh and you have to know the symbolism and the places to but the markings of the elements. In the rooting witches design we use them in ritual charging and awakening.

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scoobs
post Mar 26 2010, 03:27 PM
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Thanks for the responses, it took a little bit too digest it all.

I have come to a conclusion based on observations and especially based on the ancient symbols.

Fire and Air are opposite, they mix well when balanced to create something new, something sustained.
Earth and water are opposite, they mix well when balanced to create something new, something sustained.
Spirit and body are opposite, they mix well when balanced to create something new, something sustained.

The pentagram is incomplete unless you look at it as our bodies make up the last point, the point opposite the spirit.

So what do we have here?

Plasma (fire) and gas (air) can combine to form something explosive, transformative.
Liquid (water) and solid (earth) can combine to form something in between, a moving solid, mud.
Aether (spirit) and physical (body) can combine to form something in between, energy in structure, life.

If you mix the other elements it doesn't work, fire and water don't mix, earth and fire don't mix, earth and air don't mix, you can have the elements interact with each other, like water and air can make fog, but it isn't really transformative, they don't make something new so much, more like there is some water in the air. earth in air, is like a dust storm, it doesn't transform the air or the earth. But water and earth, the water transforms the earth into a mud, water breaks earth down to it's components, it washes it and absorbs some of it. Both are transformed afterwards.

The directions are similar:
North and South,
East and west,
Up and down.

They are polarities of the same plane. Horizontal, Vertical and Diagonal.

But this is only half the picture.










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Vagrant Dreamer
post Mar 27 2010, 08:10 AM
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Mm. Perhaps the elements cycle through their opposition in the four worlds - astral, psychic, etheric, physical - such that in one air is opposite fire, in the next air is opposite water, in the next air is opposite earth. Depending in the interpretation of the activity of the elements, which is different in each world, they will combine differently.

Think of the act of creation spiraling down through the worlds, things shifting relative to one another and to the end point of manifestation along the way.

Then consider during ritual, on what level the magic is to operate, and what elemental mode is appropriate...

peace

This post has been edited by Vagrant Dreamer: Mar 27 2010, 08:12 AM


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SororZSD23
post Mar 27 2010, 09:31 AM
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If that works for you, Scoobs, that OK, but I think the elements and directions are supposed to be thought of as compliments, not opposites. In fact, water and fire do "mix", becoming vapor/moisture (air/water), fire and earth become smoke (fire/air). Look up the Greek philosopher Empedocles to read about the origins of the philosophical idea of the elements. He wrote an document called the Tetrasomia "The Four Elements" back in 450 BC. Also look into the alchemical idea about the "humors."

Air and Fire are considered masculine outgoing or upward moving elements; Water and Earth are considered feminine, inward, downward moving elements. Air and Water are considered opposites or complements and Earth and Fire are considered opposites/complements. Air is related to thought and Water to feeling. Fire is related to action and Earth to will to action.

Also, as Vagrant Dreamer noted, the elements are thought of as a hierarchy or evolutionary process in the emanation of the Cosmos. We find the doctrine of emanation with the inclusion of the elements in Hermeticism, Kabala and Eastern Tantric traditions. In Hermeticism and Eastern Tantra, space or quintessence is the first of the 5 elements. Air (thought) evolves from space, Fire (action) evolves from air, water(feeling) evolves from fire, and earth (form and intention) evolves from fire. One element builds on the preceding until the world of name and form comes into full manifestation.


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Leaving aside those principles of magic that play on the superstitious and that, whatever they be, are unworthy of the general public, we will direct our thoughts only to those things that contribute to wisdom and that can satisfy better minds . . . -from De Magia by Giordano Bruno (born 1548; burned at the stake February 16, 1600).
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Ethereal Sight
post May 12 2010, 06:44 PM
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QUOTE(scoobs @ Mar 9 2010, 02:23 PM) *

The way it would make more sense to me is if Fire was opposite Air, and Water opposite Earth.

In our world, the fire is at the bottom and the air is on top, the water and earth are both in the middle and are opposite to each other.


Air is the opposite of earth and water is the opposite of fire... although air, water and fire sometimes combine with each other against earth. Either way, you're leaving out spirit from your pentagram and that's an extremely important element.


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kaboom13
post May 12 2010, 08:21 PM
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Heyhey

I am no way Wiccan at all. I'm a lot closer to this twisted deriviative of energy work that fall best into obscure taoism.

Direction is pretty subjective; and frankly the elementals I've worked with don't actually give a damn about our rituals. But if its evocation, use what you see fit.

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mag-x
post Aug 23 2010, 04:46 PM
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No matter what i read in books i just dont feel comfortable wit associating air to north or fire to west.... I think that it is most important how we feel about it ( me for example earth-north, fire-south,air-east and water-west).


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Ethereal Sight
post Aug 23 2010, 05:01 PM
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QUOTE(scoobs @ Mar 9 2010, 02:23 PM) *

I am hoping someone can shed some light on this for me.

In Wicca, they have the four elements combined with the four directions. You have North and Earth, West and Water, South and Fire, and East and Air. The four directions makes perfect sense, but the four elements doesn't.
The way it would make more sense to me is if Fire was opposite Air, and Water opposite Earth.

In our world, the fire is at the bottom and the air is on top, the water and earth are both in the middle and are opposite to each other.

Does anybody know a Wiccan tradition that had it this way?

Thanks

Because it's hotter in the south, wherever the guy who made it was the wind came primarily out of the east and water and earth are both everywhere so he just picked one for those two???

This is just my guess. I have no idea.


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"Take root in the ground, live in harmony with the wind, plant your seeds in the Winter, and rejoice with the birds in the coming of Spring." - Hayao Miyazaki (Sheeta from the film - Laputa: Castle In The Sky)
All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets. - Voltaire
Behind every successful man stands a surprised mother-in-law. - Voltaire
I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it. - Voltaire
Illusion is the first of all pleasures. - Voltaire

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VitalWinds
post Aug 23 2010, 10:45 PM
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