The Elementals


Who doesn’t love a garden gnome?  Subject of fun commercials, nursery rhymes, and online images by way too many people with way too much time on their hands, gnomes are one of the Elementals, spirit beings related to earth, air, water, and fire.

Gnomes, of course, are the earth spirits.  They concern themselves with the processes by which matter, especially minerals, assumes different forms.  Because of this governance, alchemists would seek gnome assistance when trying to turn lead into gold.

Sylphs embody the element of air.  Sometimes tempestuous like the weather they create, sylphs are also spirits of inspiration. The element of air represents the mind, clarity of vision, and music.

Undines are the water spirits.  They inhabit the oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers.  Water represents the emotions and intuition, and so undines are the most empathetic of the Elementals.

And finally, salamanders represent the element of fire.  Born from the first volcano, salamanders explore all aspects of fire, including lightning and magma.  Salamanders personify (amphibify?) the qualities of unrestrained will and fearlessness.

Get out and about in nature today; you might just run across an Elemental willing to chat with you.  If you see a gnome with a suitcase, however, it’s probably not a real Elemental.

Information for this post taken from “The Book of Faeries” by Francis Melville.



Spirit Beings

In my own spiritual philosophy, I view the Great Spirit (or whatever you would like to call the Divine, God, the Universe) as impersonal and without judgment.  It just IS.  I also believe that this spiritual force is balanced by the physical force of the Earth.  Gotta have yin AND yang, after all.

Now, it makes sense to me that out of the Great Spirit came the Earth and Nature, and THOSE are the forces that are personal.  Through Nature, we can learn and understand, even if in some limited way, about the Great Spirit.

Animism–the belief that natural objects such as trees and animals have spirits–has always made sense to me.  After all, why should we humans be the only spiritual beings having a physical experience?

Perhaps it’s my willingness to believe that all beings have spirit, but I also believe that there are many forms that spirit can take.  Faeries, the Elementals, the devas….. well, why not??

Nearly every culture in the world shares a belief in the existence of spirit beings like faeries and such.  There are many theories about their origin:  fallen angels, former deities, spirits of the dead.  As Francis Melville says in The Book of Faeries, ” Faeries are part of the great mystery of life, and to believe in them is more enchanting and satisfying than to dismiss them for lack of hard evidence.”

What do you think?  Are there elves and sylphs and gnomes running about?  Do all things have spirit?  More on this topic later. . . .