Elementals are spirits that personify the four elements — earth, air, fire and water. The term elementals also is applied to nature spirits, which exist in all things in nature and look after animals, insects, birds, rocks and plants. Elementals are summoned to assist in Magic related to nature.

Earth elementals are known as gnomes; fire as salamanders; water as undines; and air as sylphs. They can be seen clairvoyantly if a person has good attunement to the nature realm. Numerous elemental sightings have been reported at the Circle Sanctuary at Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin. The pioneers of the Findhorn community in northern Scotland achieved remarkable gardening results reputedly by communicating with elementals.

Some elementals are said to be malicious and unpredictable, tricking human beings into accidents, setting traps for them and killing them. Wicca emphasizes working with friendly elementals in the creation of positive magic.

Artificial elemental is a term occasionally used for thought-form, a being of energy ritually created through intense will, which is programmed to carry out assignments and disintegrate once the work is done.


The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – Copyright © 1989, 1999, 2008 by Visionary Living, Inc.

Beings created from the four Elements of nature. Elemental spirits are evoked in magical rites. The classes of elemental spirits and their elements are: Earth: Gnomes or pigmies Water: Undines or nymphs Fire: Salamanders Air: Sylphs Paracelsus INCLUDED GIANTS AND DWARFS AMONG ELEMENTALS.

Characteristics of Elementals

According to Paracelsus, all elementals have human form and can mix with humans; yet they have no relationship to humans and are not descended from Adam and Eve. They are not spirits per se but are made in the image of man, with flesh, bones, and Blood. However, they are higher than man, for they are both of the physical and spirit worlds. They are mortal but have no soul as do humans, and thus they lack a moral character. They do not worship God and live according to instinct and reason. Because they are soulless, they have no afterlife. Humans and elemental spirits can mate and produce hybrid offspring (see fairies) that would belong more to the human race than to the elementals. Elementals can enter the human world, but humans cannot enter the realms of the elementals because the physical body is too coarse. Some elementals are generous to humans, helping them in tasks and chores and bestowing gifts such as treasures upon them.

Organization of Elementals

Each class of elemental stays strictly within its element. They do not mingle with other elementals, though they all mingle with humans. They wear clothing suitable to their forms and element. They are organized into societies with leaders and laws, as are humans. They live according to the keeping of time. The different classes vary in their ability to interact with humans. The undines or nymphs have the most interaction, followed by the sylphs. Gnomes and salamanders, both of whom are gifted in prophecy, rarely interact with people. This is especially true of the elusive salamanders, said Paracelsus.

Evoking Elementals

Grimoires, books of magical instruction, provide information on the powers of elemental spirits and how to command them. The Key of Solomon gives this description of the elemental spirits: Some are created from Water. Others from the Wind, unto which they are like. Some from Earth. Some from Clouds. Others from Solar Vapors. Others from the keenness and strength of Fire; and when they are invoked or summoned, they come always with great noise, and with the terrible nature of fire. When the Spirits which are created of Water are invoked, they come with great rains, thunder, hail, lightning, thunderbolts, and the like. When the spirits which are created of Clouds are invoked, they come with great deformity, in a horrible form, to strike fear into the Invocator, and with an exceeding great noise. Others which are formed from the wind appear like thereunto and with exceeding swift motion, and whensoever those which are created from Beauty appear, they will show themselves in a fair and agreeable form; moreover, whensoever thou shalt call the Spirits created from Air, they will come with a kind of gentle breeze. When the spirits which are created from the Vapors of the Sun are invoked, they come under a very beautiful and excellent form, but filled with pride, vanity and conceit. They are clever. . . . They show great ostentation and vainglory in their dress, and they rejoice in many ornamentations and decorations. Thou shalt only invoke them in serene, mild, and pleasant weather. Commanding the elemental spirits requires that the magician be free of common weaknesses and vices and be “fortified by the grace and favour of the superior world,” said Arthur Edward Waite. According to Eliphas Levi in The Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic: To overcome and subjugate the elementary spirits, we must never yield to their characteristic defects. . . . In a word, we must overcome them in their strength without ever being overcome by their weaknesses.

Creating Elementals

A magician can create an elemental from a substance on the MENTAL PLANE for the purpose of fulfilling a certain task. Such an elemental has no astral form and remains on the mental plane. It can perform only a single task and cannot do anything that its magician creator cannot do. The magician creates it from the elements and gives it attributes that are appropriate to the task. The magician imparts some of his own consciousness into the elemental, gives it a name by which it can be summoned and controlled, and determines a finite life span for it. He assigns the task to the elemental and then detaches himself from it. The elemental sustains itself from the mental essence of the magician. If the elemental is assigned to work for other humans, it can draw sustenance from the universe. Jack Parsons, A FOLLOWER OF Aleister Crowley, USED MAGIC TO MAKE AN ELEMENTAL SUMMONING, WHO CAME IN THE FORM OF A WOMAN.


  • BARDON, FRANZ. Questions and Answers. Salt Lake City: Merkur Publishing, 1998.
  • Butler, E. M. Ritual Magic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1949.
  • Hall, Manly P. Paracelsus: His Mystical and Medical Philosophy. Los Angeles: The Philosophic Research Society, 1964.
  • Waite, Arthur Edward. The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts. 1899. Reprint, York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1972.


The Encyclopedia of Magic and Alchemy Written byRosemary Ellen Guiley Copyright © 2006 by Visionary Living, Inc.

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