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Working with the Elements

Witchcraft is all about relationships. Act accordingly.

Should I call on the universe & the 5 elements to act as a middleman to get their elemental spirits to do the job or should I just call on the universe & the 5 elements when practicing white magick? Thank you so much!

This question intrigues me. As a witch who works with the elementals frequently, I like to encourage others to do the same. They are ancient and powerful allies, and all of us already have relationships with them, even if we don’t realize it. How you engage in these relationships is personal and unique to each practitioner, but I’ll share how I do it.

When I call on the elements, I respectfully invite them to join me in my circle, asking for protection and guidance. I speak reverently and lovingly, and make offerings to show my appreciation. When I petition them to help me with spells etc, it is always an ask, never an order. I am genuinely thankful to have these powerful forces as allies, and I do my best not to take that for granted. I don’t think of them as middlemen. I think of them as universal energies that are willing to be in relationships.

Relationships require mutual trust and benefit. If you are always calling on a friend to help you with things, ordering them into service, but never returning the favor, that relationship will quickly sour. We have to give as well as we get, and we must understand that our needs aren’t always relevant to others.

If our allies come when we call, we must be willing to do the same. How we are being called isn’t always obvious, so we must learn to listen well. Hint, usually the calls are for actions that will contribute to making the world a better place. Writing this advice column as a free service is one example. You have to choice to answer the call or not, but remember, if your friend never answered your requests you’d probably lose interest in the relationship.

Recognize that the elements are a grand part of our universal ecosystem. Try to align your actions and values environmentally, emotionally, financially, socially, etc. Do your best.

I can’t miss this opportunity to speak about the ideas of “white” and “black” magic. Personally, I detest these terms. I find them outdated and reductive, not to mention racist. Using white to mean good and black to mean evil is inherently white supremacist, and there is nothing less magical and witchy than racism and oppression.

I know most people don’t mean to invoke racist ideals when using these terms, but that doesn’t change its impact. Magic, like the vast universe, is complex, dynamic, and holistic. Everything falls on a spectrum, from helpful to harmful. Each witch chooses the path they walk and the intent of their magic. I align myself with the “others” of the world, and as such I endeavor to assist the world in becoming a healthier and more balanced place to live, for all beings. Other witches may use their power to hex, curse, or otherwise cause harm. I don’t know their stories or their reasons and wish them the best in their actions. We all do what we must. That doesn’t make me good and them bad. It makes us unique. Let’s let go of the binary and the limited view of magic as being inherently good vs evil. It generally isn’t, it’s somewhere in between. And it certainly isn’t black and white.

So, to sum up. Form respectful and reciprocal relationships with your allies. Call on them when you need them, and do your best to answer the calls they extend to you. Expand your view of magic beyond the binary, and leave racist descriptors and outdated terminology behind. See yourself as part of the larger whole, and consider the impact of your actions. Recognize that each force you call upon has life and value and treat them accordingly. Respect and intention will take you far.

~Follow up question:

Also you have mentioned that returning favours is important, I'm wondering how would one return a favour to the universe / and elemental spirits.

As far as returning favors, I think this can be widely interpreted. Offerings can include: words of gratitude (thank you, I honor you), acts of service (clean up your favorite beach or forest, donate to causes that move you), gifts (flowers, food, drink, feathers, incense, etc) which can be placed on an altar or left somewhere in nature (as long as they aren't litter). When I make an offering to the fire, I take a moment with a dried flower or herb, say some words of gratitude, then place it in the fire. When I leave gifts for the fae, I put a glass of brandy on my altar and a piece of chocolate. I pour moonwater on my plants, or offer a little of my blood to the earth.

I think if your offering is in good faith and isn't harmful, just about anything would suffice. And, like I said above, challenge yourself to be brave. When you get called to do something out of your comfort zone, consider it. Would it improve your life, or the lives of others? What is holding you back? If it's fear of the unknown, try to push past it. Your allies have called you in, and they'll have your back.


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