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Greek

  Air  
Water Aether Fire
  Earth  

Hinduism (Tattva) and
Buddhism (Mahābhūta)

  Vayu/Pavan (Air/Wind)  
Ap/Jala (Water) Akasha (Aether/Space) Agni/Tejas (Fire)
  Prithvi/Bhumi (Earth)  

Chinese (Wuxing)

  Water (水) North  
Metal (金) West Earth (土) Middle Wood (木) East
  Fire (火) South  

Japanese (Godai)

  Air/Wind (風)  
Water (水) Void/Sky/Heaven (空) Fire (火)
  Earth (地)  

Tibetan (Bön)

  Air  
Water Space Fire
  Earth  

Medieval Alchemy

  Air  
Water Aether Fire
  Earth
Sulphur Mercury Salt

Water has been important to all peoples of the earth, and it is rich in spiritual tradition.

Contents

Greek and Roman tradition

Water is one of the four classical elements in ancient Greek philosophy and science. It was commonly associated with the qualities of emotion and intuition.

Water was one of many archai proposed by the Pre-socratics, most of whom tried to reduce all things to a single substance. However, Empedocles of Acragas (c. 495-c. 435 BC) selected four archai for his four roots: air, fire, water, and earth. Empedocles’ roots became the four classical elements of Greek philosophy. Plato (427-347 BC) took over the four elements of Empedocles. In the Timaeus, his major cosmological dialogue, the Platonic solid associated with water is the icosahedron which is formed from twenty equilateral triangles. This makes water the element with the greatest number of sides, which Plato regarded as appropriate because water flows out of one's hand when picked up, as if it is made of tiny little balls.[1]

Plato’s student Aristotle (384-322 BC) developed a different explanation for the elements based on pairs of qualities. The four elements were arranged concentrically around the center of the Universe to form the sublunary sphere. According to Aristotle, water is both cold and wet, and occupies a place between air and earth among the elemental spheres.[2]

In ancient Greek medicine, each of the four humours became associated with an element. Phlegm was the humor identified with water, since both were cold and wet. Other things associated with water and phlegm in ancient and medieval medicine included the season of Winter, since it increased the qualities of cold and moisture; the phlegmatic temperament (of a person dominated by the phlegm humour); the feminine; the brain; and the western point of the compass.

Symbol for water

In alchemy, the chemical element of mercury was often associated with water and its alchemical symbol was a downward-pointing triangle.

Indian Tradition

Ap (áp-) is the Vedic Sanskrit term for "water", in Classical Sanskrit occurring only in the pluralis not an element.v, āpas (sometimes re-analysed as a thematic singular, āpa-), whence Hindi āp. The term is from PIE hxap "water".

In Hindu philosophy, the term refers to water as an element, one of the Panchamahabhuta, or "five great elements". In Hinduism, it is also the name of the deva, a personification of water, (one of the Vasus in most later Puranic lists). The element Water is also associated with Chandra or the Moon, and Shukra or Venus, who represent feelings, intuition and imagination. Water is also linked to the north east direction.

In Modern Magic

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Ceremonial Magic

Water and the other Greek classical elements were incorporated into the Golden Dawn system despite being considered obsolete by modern science. Practicus (3=8) is the elemental grade attributed to water; this grade is also attributed to the Qabalistic sphere Hod and the planet Mercury.[3] The elemental weapon of water is the cup.[4] Each of the elements has several associated spiritual beings. The archangel of water is Gabriel, the angel is Taliahad, the ruler is Tharsis, the king is Nichsa, and the water elementals (following Paracelsus) are called Undines.[5] Water is considered to be passive; it is represented by the symbol of Scorpio, Cancer, Pisces, and it is referred to the upper right point of the pentagram in the Supreme Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram.[6] Many of these associations have since spread throughout the occult community.

Wicca

In Wiccan tradition, water is associated with the West, autumn, and the color blue on the physical plane. It is sometimes represented by a white crescent, a downward pointing triangle, the chalice, the bell, shells, sapphires, lapis lazuli, tears, and the cauldron. Water represents emotions, wisdom, the soul, and femininity. In rituals, it is represented in the forms of pouring water over objects, brew making, healing spells, ritual bathing, and tossing objects into bodies of water.

The manifestations of the element of water are rivers, oceans, lakes, wells, fog, all drinks, and the rain. Animals, especially the dolphin, seal, turtle, frog, and all types of fish, are also thought to personify the element of water. The astral creatures of water, known as elementals, are the Ondine/Mermaid, Oreade/Naiad, and Sea Serpent/Dragon. Water’s place on the pentagram is the upper right point.

Astrological Personalities

People born under the astrological signs of Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces being one of the two drawn elements meaning it is part of two of the classical elements are thought to have dominant water personalities. Water personalities tend to be emotional, deep, nurturing, sympathetic, empathetic, imaginative and intuitive; however, they can also be sentimental, over-sensitive, escapistic and irrational.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Plato, Timaeus, chap. 22-23; Gregory Vlastos, Plato’s Universe, pp. 66-82.
  2. ^ G. E. R. Lloyd, Aristotle, chapters 7-8.
  3. ^ Israel Regardie, The Golden Dawn, pp. 154-65.
  4. ^ Regardie, Golden Dawn, p.322; Kraig, Modern Magick, pp. 149-53.
  5. ^ Regardie, Golden Dawn, p. 80.
  6. ^ Regardie, Golden Dawn, pp. 280-286; Kraig, Modern Magick, pp. 206-209.

External links


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