As witches, we work with the elements every day -- that’s nothing new. But have you ever stopped to think about the fae who guard those elements? These elemental beings have always existed, and although we may not always see them, they are constantly working behind the scenes to protect nature and all of its beings.
To break it down simply, elementals are personifications of the four elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. They each have a “representative” fae or spirit that is tied to whose purpose is to bring balance to the world as we know it and protect the elements, but these spirits can also be summoned to assist in spellwork. Elementals are found in everything; trees, rocks, crystals, blades of grass, flames from a candle...even the wind has its own guardian fae!
Are you ready to start building your relationship with the Elementals? Here’s a quick guide on the four main spirits you should know about:
As guardians of the Earth element, Gnomes are powerful healers and messengers of Mother Nature. Brownies, dwarves, kobolds, and goblins are all considered Earth elementals but they each have vastly different looks and qualities -- showing just how varied this group truly is. While these Elementals do tend to live in gardens and around homesteads, the vast majority of them live deep in the forests or underground where they can safely protect our natural resources and wildlife, as well as cleanse negative energies that pass through the Earth. Every time you’ve ever buried something to cleanse it, you have a Gnome spirit to thank for that!
Gnomes are great to work with if you need stability or deep spiritual cleansing, and I always seek the Gnomes when I need to ground. They might look like a relaxed and stern bunch, but when Gnomes appear to us it often feels like you’re being watched by a very playful, small shadow that likes to dart and hide behind things. They don’t want to directly interact with us but they do love to people-watch. That’s a whole mood if you ask me.
A lot of Gnome and Earth spirits like to go unseen and are quite reserved, but they do enjoy gifts! To further your relationship with the Earth elementals, decorate with greens or browns and offer them gifts such as crystals, seeds, new plants to care for, and vegetable snacks of all kinds. You can also dance if you don’t have physical gifts for them; the Gnomes are surprisingly agile when it comes to cutting a rug and love it when we honor their spirit through movement.
Fire Elementals were originally classified as salamanders, which comes from the Greek word “salambe”, meaning fireplace. As the faery guardians of Fire, these spirits embody transformation and purification. Dragons, djinn, and will-o’-the-wisps are all considered Fire Elementals, with the ability to help us ignite the spiritual fire within. Like fire itself, they are passionate and wild but not inherently destructive. Contrary to the “volatile” nature of fire, Salamander spirits actually work behind the scenes to keep our realm peaceful. Their main purpose as an Elemental is to promote self-healing and the control of our emotions.
Fire Elementals exist within every flame and are the personification of the Sun. They represent Divine will and nurture the creative fire we all have inside. If you’re stuck with writer’s block or suffering from procrastination, the Fire fae can help spur you back into action. They can also be called upon to burn away and purify what is no longer serving us so that we can rebuild on more fertile ground, or if you’re in need of a confidence boost.
A great way to honor the Salamander spirit and invite them into your magickal workings is through...well, fire, of course. It doesn’t have to be a bonfire -- any type of ritual burning, such as a tealight candle, will resonate with the fire spirits. You can also decorate your altar or sacred space with colors such as yellow, orange, and red to create a warm, inviting vibe.
These fluid Elementals are responsible for guarding the element of Air and are some of the most receptive fae when it comes to human contact. They live in every breeze, spreading seeds and causing leaves to fall, dancing as they go. They’re incredibly helpful Elementals, known to raise the vibrations in the air and help us connect with divine energies. They’re mostly invisible but they have a very calming presence, enhancing mental clarity, giving us inspiration, and lending their magick to communication spells. Sylphs also love to interact with your spiritual animal guides, so they are excellent spirits to work with if you are still searching for your power animal. On occasion, they may manifest as rapidly moving tiny sparks of light or wisps.
These Air Elementals work on the etheric plane to keep us on our spiritual paths, gently guiding us towards our true selves. Their purpose is to cleanse the negative energies that may be clouding your mind and blocking your path. They blow away clouds of doubt and fear to help us see our magickal abilities more clearly and feel more mentally balanced overall.
Sylphs love offerings of incense, feathers, and anything yellow or white. They also enjoy windchimes, as it is a great way for them to communicate their presence to us. I love to honor the Sylphs with breathwork meditations and yoga, which also gives me the time to focus on just how vital their spirits are to our wellbeing.
Undines are Elemental protectors of the Water, helping us tap into our subconscious and let go of the past. Their name comes from the Latin root word unda, which means "wave." Although Undines are their own beings, fae such as mermaids and selkies are also included in this category due to their deep similarities. They mostly like to avoid humans and live in all bodies of water. Yes, every body of water -- oceans, rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams. They work hard to combat the pollution that we put into the water, which is a big reason why they are so wary of the human race these days.
Undines can be summoned when we need to get in touch with our emotions and release everything that is holding us back. These spirits are incredibly healing in this way, because when emotions are allowed to flow freely we are able to consciously shift our attachments and move on. We all need this kind of flexibility to grow, and since we are made mostly of water, Undines are particularly adept at connecting with us so that we can learn this lesson.
Undines are highly connected with the Moon, so they make excellent companions when performing rituals associated with the full or new moon. As a water Elemental, Undines speak most loudly to those with water-related placements in their chart, however, they will show themselves to anyone who needs them. Once you’ve built a relationship with them, they are very giving and ready to help. They love gifts of seashells, saltwater, and crystals such as moonstone, but you can also honor the guardian Water spirits by taking a ritual bath or pausing to enjoy the rain. They also love all shades of blue, so incorporating those colors into your wardrobe is a wonderful way to take their energy everywhere you go.
Elementals are usually more than happy to help us in our spells and rituals...as long as they’re approached with honest intentions. Elementals are ancient beings, after all. They deserve our respect, especially in regards to their boundaries and customs. As with any deity or spirit, always do your research before petitioning them and never push them to work with you. Just be open to their messages and willing to build trust; your time to meet them will come! 💫