On the astral plane of our planet, there are a vast variety of spiritual creatures one may encounter. Traditionally, some of these beings have a very special connection to nature and are called elementals. The four kinds of elemental beings are each composed of one element such that mermaids are water spirits, sylphs are air spirits, gnomes are earth spirits, and salamanders are fire spirits.

Human beings, by contrast, are considered in many traditions to be composed of five elements — water, air, earth, fire, and a fifth element called akasha or spirit. Within the human psyche, the soul, or astral body, the water element increases our ability to feel and to love. The air element enhances our artistic sensitivity and appreciation of harmony and balance. The earth element embodies the desire to work with physical matter, reshaping the world we are in so as to leave things of enduring value. And the fire element relates to will and power. Fire is intense, expansive, and constantly seeking to overcome anything that limits its self-expression.

We might look at a volcano and imagine a being who seeks to understand everything that it is possible to learn about fire as well as how to master every aspect of willpower. In a similar way, we might look at the sea and imagine beings who are like water — it is their very nature to love, to being forth life, to renew, to purify, to heal, and to make whole.

If we look at the sky, we might imagine spirits of the wind that are masters of every kind of atmospheric condition. But having the sky in which to roam, they tend to remain very detached and they love freedom. Or we might look at mountains, trees, rocks, and minerals and imagine beings who dwell in the earth. They are very silent inside and once they begin a task they no longer count time, for the only thing on their minds is pursuing what they have begun until they are done.

The psychological qualities I have just used to describe these elemental beings describe human beings as well. The difference is that the elemental beings have been striving to understand nature for millions of years. The kings and queens of the elements we might consider, then, to have mastered various secrets of nature as well as aspects of will, love, harmony, and inner silence that we as a race have only begun to explore. In this sense, the elementals are our teachers. They stand ready in any moment to speak with us and to share their secrets, if only we still our minds and sharpen our senses so that we can perceive their presence.

William Mistele.