What are the elements?

elemental alchemical symbols

An element is defined as a part or aspect of something abstract, especially one that is essential or characteristic or each of more than one hundred substances that cannot be chemically interconverted or broken down into simpler substances and are primary constituents of matter.

In simpler terms the elements make up everything are essential to our world. Each one acts as a bucket or container that we can more easily define, understand, and therefore harness.

There are five elements, four main elements and a fifth element that both transcends and weaves the other four together.

air element


Air represents our thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. It is new inspiration. It is always moving, making it difficult to grasp. It is the intangible.

The element of air is associated with the season of spring. It is the seed waiting to be planted.

In astrology it is associated with the signs of Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. The planets that rule those signs are mercury, Venus, Uranus, and Saturn.

In tarot, air is the suit of swords, representing mental energy and the ability to change directions swiftly.

Air can be cutting, just like the wind but it also provides clarity and discernment.

fire element


Fire represents our passions, ambition, and drive. It is primal energy. Fire is warm and energetic. It is expansive.

The element of fire is associated with the season of summer. It is the shoot breaking free of the seed pod.

In astrology it is associated with the signs of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. The planets that rule those signs are Mars, the Sun, and Jupiter.

In tarot, fire is the suit of wands, representing magic, inspiration, and willpower. Fire can be explosive and burn, but it also provides determination, creativity, and transformation.

water alchemical symbol


Water represents our intuition, feelings, and emotions. It is fluid but fierce. Water is purifying, cleansing, and healing.

The element of water is associated with the season of autumn. It is the blossoming and harvest of our fruits.

In astrology it is associated with the signs of Cancer, Scorpio, and Aquarius. The planets that rule those signs are the Moon, Mars, Pluto, Uranus, and Saturn.

In tarot, water is the suit of cups, representing receptivity, adaptability, and mysticism. Water can be demanding and suppressive, but it also provides healing and the trust to embrace ebb and flow.

earth alchemical symbol


Earth represents our physical, tangible world and material possessions. It is solid and present. Earth is stable and grounded.

The element of earth is associated with the season of winter. It is the releasing of that which is no longer needed that makes rich compost for the ground, just like the trees drop their leaves after harvest.

In astrology it is associated with the signs of Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. The planets that rule those signs are Venus, Mercury, and Saturn.

In tarot, earth is the suit of pentacles, representing health, money, work, and possessions. Earth can be stubborn and greedy, but it also provides stability and the dedication to tend to manifesting our dreams into reality.

ether alchemical symbol


Ether is the amalgamation of all the elements. It weaves them all together and transcends. The alchemical symbol depicted above shows the fire and air elements melded together above, and the water and earth elements melded below.

Ether represents our connection to ourselves and others as a way to convene with something greater than. It is the anchoring of heaven on earth. It is is our ability and willingness to find commonality despite our differences. It is having trust and faith; putting aside our judgements, ego, and biases; having the courage to be vulnerable and share authentically.

Ether is the acknowledgement that our humanness is what makes this existence so beautiful, holy, and divine.

And while we are made up of all the elements, it can be helpful to harness them one at a time. I invite you to learn more about your unique nature by taking my discover your primary element quiz below.

Pin For Later:

what are the elements