(This article is part one of a four-part series exploring the four elements–earth, water, fire, and air–and their common associations with plants and herbs, gemstones, colors, emotions, and the cardinal directions.)
In many Western, nature-based spiritual paths, there are four elements–earth, water, fire, and air–with the fifth (the top point of the pentacle) being spirit. Regardless of our personal spiritual path, many of us can use some additional earth energy in our lives.
The element of earth is associated with soil, plantlife, growth, fertility, and stability. Think of phrases like “down to earth.” People who are earth signs are practical, stable, and grounded in reality.They may also fall victims to inertia, having a tendency to like routines, an extension of the stability of this element. Earth also represents a sense of resolve; while earth signs can be stubborn, the upside is that they are often steadfast and stand their ground.
Just as the rich soil can nourish a beautiful forest, an ample amount of earth energy in our lives can provide the fertile, nourishing ground we all need to flourish. Earth energy is healing energy, helping us stay strong in our physical selves.
Too much earth energy can lead to a sense of stagnation and dullness, like a dusty room closed off too long from the fresh air. Earth needs the wind to rattle the oak tree’s branches; it needs the cleansing energy of a storm or the warm radiance of the sun.
Call on this element if you want to cultivate a sense of stability in your life or if you want to tap into the healing potential of the earth or to “nourish” a part of your life or an aspect of yourself. Earth energy can be useful in helping us to establish routines, nurture a project, or give our creative lives a sense of structure and focus. If we’re having trouble sticking to our routines or bringing a “seed” of an idea into fruition, a little earth energy can be helpful. Strongly rooted in physicality, earth energy is also useful in spells associated with health, protection, and prosperity.
Below is a list of common associations with this element. Even if you’re not doing spells or meditations, you can use this symbolism in your stories. If you’d like to bring more earth energy into your life, you can surround yourself with colors or scents associated with the element of earth.
Associations with the earth element:
Cardinal direction: North
Zodiac signs: Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo
Colors: black, brown, green, sometimes yellow
Gemstones: emerald, aventurine, pyrite, onyx
Herbs and spices: vervain, mugwort
Plants: ferns, barley, ivy, oak, oats, wheat, tulips, honeysuckle
Fantasy creatures: gnomes, dwarves, and trolls
Objects: pentacle, rocks and gemstones, salt
For more information about the four elements, check out these wonderful sources:
- D.J. Conway, “Celtic Magic.” Llewellyn, 1999.
- Ellen Dugan, “Herb Magic for Beginners.” Llewellyn, 2006.
- Gill Hale, Stella Martin, and Josephine De Winter, “Feng Shui Home.” Barnes & Noble Books, 2004.