The concept of Elementals was originated by a physician in the 15th Century who coincidently founded the science of toxicology, Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus. Paracelsus believed that each of the four primary elements consisted of a subtle principle as well as a gross corporeal substance.
Just as visible Nature is populated by an infinite number of living creatures, so, according to Paracelsus, the invisible, spiritual counterpart of visible Nature is inhabited by a host of peculiar beings, to whom he gave the name Elementals. Paracelsus divided these beings into four distinct groups: gnomes, undines, sylphs, and salamanders. He taught that they were living entities inhabiting worlds of their own, unknown to man because man’s undeveloped senses were incapable seeing beyond our own gross boundaries. He also said that the Elementals were not spirits, rather they are something in between mankind and spirits.
Elementals cannot be destroyed by the foundational elements of fire, earth, air, or water, because they function in a higher rate of vibration than earthly substances. Being composed of only one element, at the end of their existence they merely disintegrate back into the element from which they were originated. [i]
Earth is a female energy. It is associated with the north, midnight and Winter. She rules over the body, growth, nature, prosperity, fertility, birth, death, health, healing and silence. Her materials are stones, crystals, fields, groves, caves, chasms, mountains, forests, plants and metal. The colors of the earth are brown, green, and black.
Animals associated with Earth are the wolf, snake and deer. Gems are smoky quartz, topaz and tiger eye. The tarot suit is the pentacles or coins. Herbs that accentuate the Earth are vertiver, galbanum, geranium, bergamot, sandalwood, rosemary, peppermint and basil. Its tree is the oak.
When I feel the Earth I feel growth, abundance, grounding, and quiet. Living in the Pacific Northwest I am constantly amazed by the abundance and proliferation of life. If mankind were to evaporate it would only take a few years for the Earth to take back all we have built over the past thousand years.
Working with earth in magic is the grounding before centering. We use Earth energy in spells having to do with prosperity, stability, work, food, health, healing and growth. In the Witch’s work Earth represents “To be silent.”
Gnomes are the Earth Elementals. They maintain the structure of our planet. They create the forests, the trees, the plants and the flowers. They design all the crystals and rocks, they are very skilled craftsmen. The term gnome perhaps comes from the Greek word "gnoma" meaning "knowledge". So the gnomes are the knowing ones.
The female gnomes bring out the nurturing side of our nature, the males the hard work ethic. Females are abundant and ripe, males are solid and sturdy. I think of the Emperor and Empress when I think of the Earth Elementals. I specifically think of the Gaia deck and the beautiful ripe woman surrounded by fields of bounty. I know gnomes are visualized as small dark people that tend to live in dark forests and caves, but the mother earth visual seems abundant and rich to me. The masculine side occurs to me as solid and quiet. Steady and slow. His depth balances her wild growth.
Earth Elementals can help us to attune to nature; they help us feel grounded and connected. We can connect to a feeling of determination, steadfastness, endurance and appreciation for what we have. Though too much work with just the Earth Elemental can lead to feeling bogged down and not able to move.
We talk about someone being down to earth when we are talking about a person who is solid, who you can count on. Someone who is grounded in power, deep, steady and persevering.
There is an amazing huge Western Red Cedar outside my front door with a bit of a stumpery growing around it. Out the big window I see a forest of cedar and hemlock. Last night we brought the dogs out the to a mountain forest for a walk. As I walked the path with the yellowing leaves fluttering down, and the softness of the earth beneath my feet I looked around at the moss covered trees and rocks and forest flooring and I thought to myself, if ever there were gnomes, this is where they would live. I could sense the life and the magic there. I am looking forward to waking those trails during each of the seasons and seeing the changes of the Earth.
Ghob - Earth Elemental King
I spent a lot of time looking for information on the Elemental Kings and there just isn’t that much out there. This is an excerpt I found from the Practice of Magical Evocation.
Ghob's body appears to have an underlying stone quality, though he appears human in quality not as a creature of stone and his skin is olive-brown toned. His large frame is carried by bulky, firm muscles. The creases and crevasses of his body are all lined with dark soil. His hair and beard seem to be made of minerals soil and vegetation. His brown eyes are set deep into his stern, scowling face. His features move slowly as he moves and expresses himself and he speaks in a metered deep voice, often drawing out the vowels of his words or pausing between thoughts. We have encountered Ghob both in royal armour and a traveling tunic. His armour is made out of dirt-covered metal, and adorned with stones and minerals. From his shoulders hang a rich-looking, deep green cape. Around his neck he wears a large black stone necklace encircled with metal, which has a deep hypnotic quality and on his hands are large and heavy rings. His crown is set with jewels that obscure the bronze metal beneath them. When seen in a tunic, it is simple green with a golden hem, cinched at the waist with a green and gold twisted cord. In both vestments, he wears boots that appear to be for hunting. The thongs of his right boot secure a knife there. When encountering him on the astral he may be seen sitting on a large throne of carved stone, again covered in gems and various stones. When Ghob sits upon his throne his body seems to become one with it. He has a feeling of great potential energy, much like the energy stored within objects about to fall, though the feeling of it is far more intense.
Terra appears as a mature, but not elderly, woman who is in her third trimester of pregnancy. She has dark brown skin and hair that is like the fertile topsoil of spring but crystal green eyes. She has a warm and perpetual smile. Terra wears a flowery crown made of many different types of growing flowers.
Archangel of Earth Auriel
Archangel Auriel is also sometimes referred to as Uriel. It is challenging to find information on the Archangels that is not embroiled in either Catholocism, Enochian magic or the Golden Dawn.
Uriel is Great Archangel of the Earth. Auriel is known as “the keeper of the mysteries which are deep within the planet, underground and in the hidden depths of the living world." I have seen Auriel as referenced as female and Uriel as the male version of the Archangel. I think for us magic workers it would depend on what type of energy you are wanting to bring forth; if you want power and strength, then Uriel; if you want abundance and growth, Auriel.
The feast day of the Archangel Uriel is celebrated July 28. While this seems contrary to Earth’s time being Winter, it is completely consistent with the growth and abundance of nature. She is at her fullest in the summer. According to Corinne Heline: "The beautiful Uriel stands guardian over the activities of the summer. The ripening of grain and the floodtide of blossom are under his guidance. The highest initiatory teachings belonging to the New Age... are under the direction of Uriel."[ii]
Water, Air and Fire will follow later this week!