Eclectic Elementals: The Magic & Spirituality of the Elements

This is not a specifically named, established path like Asatru, Kabbalah, Hermeticism, Kemeticism, Wicca or Santeria. Yet the Elemental Path can be adapted to any practice, traditional or modern, and the Elements are indeed present and utilized in all practices and systems. It can also be, as it is for me, its own completely original, self-contained and self-defined path. It is the path of peeking behind all the named and well-presented curtains; of getting to the heart of All and of connecting to and honoring the mystical, essential building blocks of everything in existence, from the planet to our souls. No matter where your belief ultimately leads you or how you define it, the Elements are a part of it and, if nothing else, a great place to start.

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Everyday Elements Part 1: Cooking and Cleaning

Even in the busiest, most crowded, modern, neon-lit metropolitan areas, we come into close contact with the elements countless times a day. Even – or, especially – with all our technology we truly cannot live without them!

I’m often reminded of a line from one of my favorite songs by Lady Isadora, a witch, priestess and talented singer/songwriter who pioneered the Pagan musical genre in the early 1980s. It is from her song “Witch” – “I call myself a witch because I’m not afraid to tell that the magic is in life itself, not just in some ancient book or secret spell”.

Indeed it is! Magic is everywhere at all times and it is manifested through the elements in more ways than we sometimes realize. Even the most devoted Pagan or witch can struggle to maintain their ideal practice in this demanding, fast-paced age. However, much comes down to perspective and a slight shift in our approach to “mundane” tasks can go a long way toward helping us maintain a wonderful connection to nature and to enhance our magic.

There are four things that, for the most part, we all do on a regular basis, and they each correspond nicely to the four elements: cooking, cleaning, healing and learning – fire, water, earth and air, respectively. Simple awareness and gratitude for the elements and all they allow us to accomplish in our daily lives can help create all manner of easy yet effective rituals, grounding states of mind and to raise our vibrations.


Cooking – Fire

Even if you don’t manage anything more complex than microwaving a Stouffer’s entrée or brewing a pot of coffee, not much cooking can be accomplished without fire in some form or another. A pot of boiling water on a ceramic cooktop can easily conjure images and the energy of an old bubbling cauldron suspended over an open flame in a hearth, and be just as magical.

Obviously real cooking – that is, from scratch or close to it, and going through steps to peel, chop, sauté, flambé, marinate and macerate different fresh ingredients – is not only always more likely to be much more healthy, but it is a wonderful way to connect to ancestors and can be very meditative and easily ritualized.

There are so many wonderful books about kitchen witchery that teach about spells that can be incorporated into cooking, include magical and unique recipes specifically designed for sabbats, and give ideas for turning your whole kitchen into a shrine/altar to nourishment, magic and, of course, fire!

One of my favorite such books, at least that I actually own, is “The Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook” by Patricia Telesco. While I am not Wiccan, I find Scott Cunningham’s “Wicca in the Kitchen” to be a wonderful reference for the general energies and associations of most herbs, fruits, vegetables and several other ingredients. I feel it could have easily (and perhaps more accurately) been entitled simply “Witchcraft in the Kitchen”, but that’s just my opinion based on the content of the book which doesn’t seem to reflect the specificity of just Wicca.

Another favorite is “A Sorcerer’s Cookbook”, by Brigitte Bulard-Cordeau. It is not exactly geared toward the kind of magic and ritual that specifically pagan kitchen witchery books are, but it is visually stunning, filled with very unique and interesting recipes and still has lots of fun and enlightening information about folklore, history and magical uses associated with the ingredients and recipes.

Fire is the great transformer of the elements, and its use in cooking and preparing the food that we ingest can also transform us, our health and energy. No matter what we make or how, it all begins with fire.

If you haven’t already, consider creating a small altar in a corner of your kitchen which includes warm, fiery colors, a candle, maybe antique utensils that either belonged to grandmothers or that you found in a thrift store, and images of salamanders and/or any fire spirits or hearth deities you may work with or wish to invite into your cooking space. Or have even just one of these things in a special place in your kitchen. Any time before you cook, clean the kitchen, cleanse the space, light the candle at the altar and say a short evocation of thanks and invitation to the spirits of Fire.

Also try cooking over an open fire if you’ve never done that before, or just try to do it more! Getting outside in the fresh air and grilling is always lots of fun and usually produces extra delicious food. “Hobo dinners” are camp staples, but they can be great fare for any weekend you want to fire up the grill and throw on a foil packet filled with meat and/or veggies, or if you have a fire pit that you can safely cook over.

The best, freshest and most natural chicken meal I’ve ever had was on a “pioneer trek” reenactment I did as a teenager – I saw those guinea hens alive not an hour before I ate a piece of one that I cooked on the end of a stick over an open fire and, especially after a roughly 15-mile hike in 30° weather, it was delicious. Cooking outside is an especially great way to connect to ancestors and their ways of life before the convenience of electric appliance-filled kitchens. 


Cleaning – Water

Whether it is dishes, the floor, a car or our hands, very little cleaning or washing can ever occur without water. Most of us start or end our days with a cleansing and energizing or calming shower. It is very important to keep our homes and everything we use clean, and indeed we ourselves get pretty uncomfortable and unpleasant, on multiple levels, when we don’t keep our bodies clean!

As they say, “cleanliness is next to godliness”. Our bodies are our temples and our homes are an extension of that. In my lifetime I have been in at least a couple incomprehensibly filthy homes – dirt and trash on top of general clutter and disarray – and the energy in such homes is rather awful and eventually takes its toll on the cheeriest dispositions and the best intentions.

Any magic practitioner knows the benefits and basic components of a ritual bath, but we can ritualize our daily shower with, again, simple awareness and gratitude, and still many of the same steps and tools of a ritual bath.

It takes no time at all before showering to cleanse the space with sage or any such method you prefer, to light a candle and to pay the briefest attention to any image of a water spirit you might choose to keep in your bathroom, like a picture or figurine of a mermaid. I personally sing a song I wrote myself to the water as it washes over me, every time I shower. I also try to remember to say or think a quick “thank you” to water any time I drink a glass or use it to wash my hands or dishes.

When it comes to cleaning the home, it is highly advisable to use the purest and healthiest cleaners possible rather than synthetic cleaners riddled with unpronounceable chemicals. I prefer to make my own natural cleaner which consists of one 16 oz. bottle of hydrogen peroxide and about 5 drops each of lavender, lemon, and peppermint essential oils. Simply combine all of these into a spray bottle and you have a very safe, natural and effective all-purpose cleaner. Use organic essential oils if you can manage it.

Water pulls double duty as both an obvious physical cleaner and also an effective energetic cleanser. You need not always smudge a room or any new objects you acquire. Rinsing dishes, utensils, tools, jewelry, statues etc. bought in a thrift store, or any store for that matter, will both clean and cleanse them. This may depend on the material but is usually safe enough for many items.

Rose water is one of my very favorite products and I use it in many different ways. It is wonderful for the skin as a toner, as an addition to tea both for flavor and for physical and spiritual health benefits, and I love to mist a room or myself with rose water for energy cleansing. I use Alteya organic rose water, which is steam distilled from the roses of the beautiful and famous Valley of Roses in Bulgaria.

If you ever use rose water for any purpose at all, use organic if possible and definitely be sure it is not just water with artificial rose fragrance added, as is very common. It is easy to tell the difference by the smell, apart from the label and the price – rose scented water will smell rather “too” rosy, very perfumey and heady, and will be very cheap. Genuine rose water distilled from rose petals will smell more mild but still very delicious, lightly floral, juicy and almost fruity, in other words much more like a real rose. It will be somewhat costly but well worth every penny.


Keep an eye out for the daily Earth and Air influences in our lives in Everyday Elements Part 2: Healing and Learning!


© 2019 Meredith Everwhite - All Rights Reserved

Featured image: "Oceanic Kitchen" by Jacek Yerka

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Meredith is an amateur writer, Tarot/oracle reader, and a semi-agnostic, pan/metatheistic, Pagan mage & mystic. Her elemental affinity has led her to become a devoted water priestess and the creator of the website/blog The Oracle of Water where she shares and writes about all things aqueous in the worlds of metaphysics, spirituality, mythology and occultism. Currently pursuing her certification in Michelle Hanson’s seashell-based “Ocean Oracle”, she is also working to develop an original elemental-themed divination system. She currently lives in North Carolina with her spritely feline familiar, Naia.  

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