The Four Elements and Why one Isn't

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firebirdflys
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Re: The Four Elements and Why one Isn't

Post by firebirdflys »

What if we changed the word to essentials rather than elementals.
Because if one ceased to exsist so would we?
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HopefulChild
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Re: The Four Elements and Why one Isn't

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I'm not attempting to create change in other peoples magical systems.

Just exploring the possibilities.

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Re: The Four Elements and Why one Isn't

Post by SpiritTalker »

Don't worry, your eyebrows will grow back in time. When I did my self-dedication at noon on a long-ago Summer Solstice, I stood wet and barefoot at the butt end of my steel athame in a thunder storm. I called Teranus, a thunder god just when thunder cracked and lightening struck 200 yards away. The hair on my arms stood up for a week. The fillings in my teeth hummed. I was not hurt in the least, probably by sheer dumb luck. Enjoy. I think lightening was the original Fire because it comes from the gods, and we are told fire came from the gods. Works for me.

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Re: The Four Elements and Why one Isn't

Post by HexesAndDecimals »

I like your post about the fourth element being electricity, rather than fire. Though I think in classical thinking the four elements do refer to the four states of matter; air=gas, water=liquid, earth=solid, and fire = plasma. It's just that plasma in general is very hard to create, outside of fire, so plasma and fire just became synonymous. Nowadays we have neon tubes, televisions, and multiple other high-tech sources. Before the advent of "modern technology" the only plasma sources were lightning and fire.

I'd argue that electricity exists in an entirely separate view of the fundamental elements; it's not a state of matter, like the above fundamental elements are. It's more of a measurement; like intent, or speed would be. A battery with more charge would have different magical properties than a dead battery. It would be more similar to heat than to the fundamental elements. Because both heat and electricity are measurements of the amount of energy an object contains.

The fundamental elements are just the most common representations of the four states of matter; water is the most common liquid, "air" the most common gas, "earth" the most common solid, and fire the most common plasma. If you wanted to change your fundamental elements to be more specific representations, you could. If you wanted to work within the paradigm of the body, your fundamental elements may be blood / bone / breath / nerve-pulses, rather than water / earth / air / plasma. A more specific to trees paradigm would be sap / bark / air / fire, if that makes sense. I'm not entirely sure if this makes sense, but it does seem like a neat idea.
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Re: The Four Elements and Why one Isn't

Post by HopefulChild »

I would point out that while fire is a simple plasma, plasma is just ionized gas. It's only different than air as a state of matter in that it can't maintain it's state without a supply of energy.

So again the root of fire is that in the plasmic state photons are released when the magnetic bonds are weakened and electrons escape as photons.

Ultimately the element represented by fire, is the electron. And the most direct way to work with electrons is electricity or photons as light.

Either way, it's still electrons. But there is a significant limit to safely working with electrons, though I concede that until right now, I hadn't considered using low intensity lasers as a way to directly involve electrons in ritual.

So thank you VERY much for bringing your point of view to this. Now I think I can see ways to use that cat laser in ritual at a much higher intensity than a candle.

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Re: The Four Elements and Why one Isn't

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I think about this and wonder if there is really any separation between Spirit and Fire. When you think about blood as being plasma as well. Earth our body water our blood air our breath and fire our spirit. I see our life blood as being the fuel perhaps to this internal combustion system. Air is essential. I've probably mentioned this before so if I am repeating myself I apologize... The spark of life...see there it is, "spark"; lightning, fire, energy and electricity. When a baby is created it take a cosmic and spiritual electrical "spark" to create that child, there is energy in creation and probably resides in the pineal gland. Is it electrical energy creation? OR is it maybe channeling that electrical current? As we are aware the intensity in the creation takes on an energy of it's own. Many people will report their was "chemistry" or some kind of pull or draw the they could not resist and felt very electrical in nature.
One thing that gives me comfort is that the divine spark, energy, electrical nature cannot end, it can only morph or change form. So when we die, spark lives on.
Now that I rambled, not sure how this pertains to the laser beams :roll:
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Re: The Four Elements and Why one Isn't

Post by HexesAndDecimals »

Arguably none of the states of matter, other than solid, can maintain their state without a supply of energy. Water becomes ice when it loses enough energy (heat = energy). It just happens that plasma needs a lot of energy to stay in state, which makes it seem more fleeting.

About the electrons though, that is true. As for working with plasma though, have you considered a plasma globe? It can seem a bit gimicky, cause they're generally sold as toys, but it would be an easy (and safe) way to work directly with plasma.
A standard plasma ball has a vacuum of about 0.01 atmospheres of helium, neon, or other noble gas. The gas is excited by a 2-5 Kilovolt 35 KHz electrical supply.
Reference https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/how-do-you-make-plasma.510741/

If you're set on working with electricity as a manifestation of plasma, I would agree that lasers are a good representation. If you do work with lasers be careful not to shine it at the sky and possibly hit aircraft. But I'd love to see what ideas you have for using lasers! They're wonderful devices, and I agree uniquely suited to applications of witchcraft.

And @firebirdflys
One thing that gives me comfort is that the divine spark, energy, electrical nature cannot end, it can only morph or change form. So when we die, spark lives on.
That's the first law of thermodynamics; energy can neither be created nor destroyed, just changed. Fire is the catalyst to that change, both emotionally and literally. Fire can turn paper into ash, but a spark of inspiration can turn a story into a book.

Bringing both together, the word "spark" is even ambiguous in itself;
1: a small particle of a burning substance thrown out by a body in combustion or remaining when combustion is nearly completed

2: a luminous disruptive electrical discharge of very short duration between two conductors separated by a gas (such as air)

3: something that sets off a sudden force

It refers both to fire and electricity. Whether or not fire is plasma, or fire is electrons, fire is sparks. Maybe using something that throws off sparks (maybe something like this)? Sparks are small enough as to be relatively safe for use, as long as you're either a) intending for something to catch on fire or b) not in an area with easily flammable materials.
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Re: The Four Elements and Why one Isn't

Post by birublackzoey »

Thunderbolt (Lightning) is a huge proponent in Hindu and Greek pantheon. Certainly over a few centuries, there is an overlap between the two cultures. You can look into Hellenistic styles of the Gandharan Era for evidence of this.

However, the way that Lightning is reinforced in Hinduism / Buddhism is with the Vajra. It is a meditative device, some use it for protectionbut also used for certain fighting styles, and symbolises the thunderbolt element, and deeper still, the big bang of creation itself.

The religions that predates Hinduism is deeply animistic, and seeing that Fire (Agni) is still seen as a cleansing medium/energy reinforces its importance.

Still, it is an interesting observation you have made. As animistic cultures are deeply empirical, maybe the fourth element was lightining/electricity all along, but fire as the byproduct of that was the only thing they could see and try to make sense of. Over time, it was probably truncated to Fire.

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Re: The Four Elements and Why one Isn't

Post by LC »

I’m trying to make sure I remember correctly. I think I read somewhere that sometimes other cultures use like metal as an element. The why for the earth, fire, water, and air is how it was seen long ago. Fire was considered a gift from the gods. It was seen essential to living.
I see earth as solid, not easily moved. Water is always moving and shifting shape. Fire is growth. It’s not the unmoving of earth but continues to grow as something is added to it. Air is still a mystery to me and how to see it.
Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.

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Re: The Four Elements and Why one Isn't

Post by SpiritTalker »

I don't think we can physically see Air, but we can see it's effects in things fluttering in the wind, smoke, clouds or mists that air supports.

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Re: The Four Elements and Why one Isn't

Post by Shekinah »

FIRE refers to (energy) not simply combustion therefore it is an Element of creation.
Truth and Reality are highly guarded secrets. Nothing is as it appears. "The ONENESS sleeps in the stone, breathes in the plant, dreams in the animal and awakens in man" (Indian proverb)

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Re: The Four Elements and Why one Isn't

Post by Corbin »

The thing about a coorespondance is that it is like a thing, not the thing in itself. It's like the difference between female and feminine / male and masculine as coorespondances; not literal but symbolic.

That said... Why not? The celts allegedly worked within triads (air, earth & water). The Chinese have wood and metal as elements?

The important thing about a magical system is that it needs to be whole - because it is a scale model of the universe and its processes. The elements are the elements of the thing; its processes.

No scale model can be perfect in the way that no poppet is a perfect representation of a person, it just needs to correspond and have coorespondances which are ingrained like symbols within a psyche - symbols to cast into the universe :as above, so below:.

Like dreams / the unconscious, there are universal symbols and personal symbols; universal symbols already have a pattern in the universe / collective unconscious... Personal symbols have to be 'solid' - ingrained / impassioned within the psyche to compensate.

The work of working it out IS the process of ingraining in the same way that no magical script is particularly magical in itself but becomes so with the concentration and additional effort.

The essencial unnamed element people often forget is the one crafting the universal model in the center of the circle - the practitioner.

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