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Author Topic: The Glass Temple  (Read 3227 times)
Jenett
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Religion: Priestess in initiatory religious witchcraft tradition
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« Reply #10: January 10, 2009, 01:21:17 pm »

Both, but moreso the elementals themselves. I'd like to meet one (or a few...)!

Sorry it's taken a while for me to get back to this - amazingly busy week at work made it hard to have brain together to organise thoughts.

As far as elementals, much of the common information with them begins with a number of medieval and Renaissance works - Paraclesus is the one most often referenced. As you might know, some paths work with the elements, some with the elementals in classical form (that's the sylphs/djinn/undine/gnome), some with something more amorphous ("powers of air/fire/water/earth"), some with guardians of the directions or watchtowers. (And many groups work with some combination of these: for example, my tradition works with the guardians and the powers of the elements, but almost never with specific elementals directly.)

Part of the question of meeting them, though, is like most non-physical entities. What's the goal of them showing up? What's in it for them, and are you asking out of something other than pure curiousity? It's one thing to do a working to meet with an elemental for a deeper understanding of the element (especially if you offer something of value to them - your energy or time supporting a goal they'd benefit from, like cleaning up a local waterway for an undine.) and it's another to ask (or compel) something to show up just so you can say hi, y'know?

As far as the elemental tools: traditionally, in Wicca and various related paths, certain tools are associated with particular elements. In many traditions, there is the personal tool (something used by the individual), and a group tool version (something of particular use in larger workings or with groups).

Water: Chalice (cup) and cauldron
Earth: Pentacle and altar (by which I mean the physical thing all the tools go on: it's a tool in and of itself in some paths.)

The other two are a little trickier: different paths have different associations for air and fire. Some associate the athame and sword with air, and others with fire. The wand and staff are the others. In our group, we associate the athame and sword with fire, and the wand and staff with air (but we have spent a couple of hours going back and forth about it.)

These associations come both from the function and from the energetic uses. For example, chalice and cauldron hold liquids (water), and they both also echo the womb. The pentacle is the symbol of physical manifestation (earth), and is often made of metal or clay or wood (earth-related substances). One can view the athame as shaped by fire (the forge), or as having the discernment and differentiation (of air) - the sword is a larger form of the blade, with some distinct properties. Likewise, a wand can be seen as creative (air) or as the focused direction of energy (more about fire). As you can see, some of this depends on a bunch of other things about how you view the world, how you structure ritual, and so on - some decisions make more sense in some settings.

Deborah Lipp's _The Way of Four_ has a lot more about elemental work, including a number of exercises - if you can get your hands on it, it might be a good starting place for you.
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