Part of the Magick in Theory & Practice series.
In mysticism, mythology and alchemy, an elemental is a creature (usually a spirit) that is attuned with, or composed of, one of the classical elements: air, earth, fire and water. The elements balance each other out through opposites: water quenches fire, fire boils water, earth contains air, air erodes earth. The concept of elementals seems to have been conceived by Paracelsus in the 6th century. Paracelsus' elementals were:
|Air||Sylph||invented by Paracelsus, though supposedly part of Greek and Egyptian mythologies (not confirmed)|
|Earth||Gnome||invented by Paracelsus, but probably based on the traditional kobold|
|Fire||Salamander||invented by Paracelsus|
|Water||Undine||water goddesses from Homeric myth|
In modern occultism the word Elemental can also be used to mean any simple or only partly sentient spiritual entity. These entities can be entirely natural (ie the spirit of a group of trees) or can be created by magicians or sorcerers to perform a task for them. The latter type are called Servitors. This kind of "subservient" or "man-made" elemental can be found mentioned in the works of Austin Osman Spare or Aleister Crowley. They are a vital concept in modern Chaos Magic.
- Wikipedia (2005). Elementals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elementals). Retrieved Nov 18 2005