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For Wiccans who work more with the elements, it’s always
good to have representatives of the actual elements on the
altar: Sand, soil, a bowl of salt or even a potted plant to
represent Earth; A feather or incense for Air; A Candle or
lamp for Fire; A bowl of water for Water. However, it’s not
totally necessary as the five primary altar tools represent
the elements also.
North - Earth
Color: Brown, Dark Green
Elemental King: Ghob or Gheb
Zodiac signs: Virgo, Capricorn & Taurus
Tarot Suite: Pentacles
Holy Creature(s): Winged Bull & Stag
Apocalyptic Symbol: Famine on a Black Horse
Key words: Wealth, Abundance, Fertility, Mystery.
East - Air
Color: Pale Yellow
Elemental King: Paralda
Zodiac Signs: Aquarius, Gemini, Libra
Tarot Suite: Swords
Holy Creature(s): Eagle
Apocalyptic Symbol: Victory with a Crown and holding a Bow, riding a White Horse.
Key words: Mind, Knowledge, Intellect, Communication, Dawn, Spring, Beginnings, Decision.
South - Fire
Color: Red, Gold or Orange
Elemental King: Djinn
Zodiac signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Tarot Suite: Wands
Holy Creature(s): Lion
Apocalyptic Symbol: War holding a Sword and Riding on a Red Horse
Key words: Energy, Courage, Willpower.
West - Water
Color: Blue & Silver
Plant: All Water Plants
Elemental King: Niksa or Necksa
Zodiac signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Tarot Suite: Cups
Holy Creature(s): Humankind
Apocalyptic Symbol: Death on a Cream Colored Horse
Key words: Emotion, Inner Self, Pleasure, Sunset, Dsk, Autumn, Initiation, Astral Plane.
Spirit - The Center - Everywhere
Color: Pure Brilliant White
Elemental King: None
Zodiac signs: The Complete Zodiac
Tarot Suite: Major Acarna
Holy Creature(s): Spinx
Apocalyptic Symbol: None
Key words: Transformation.
Here’s my take on how I have been placing the elements and why...
Recently, I changed my altar setup for a few rituals to see how it feels. I put Air in the North direction and Earth in the East direction. It can be a bit confusing at first. I’m still working on some aspects such as the placement of other correspondences.
So, if Air is in the North direction, where do I place the Angels, the planets, the Zodiac signs, the Tarot suites and so on? Same goes for the Earth in the East Direction. Any comments would be welcome. Below I listed a couple of reasons why I am experimenting with this new setup...
10. MASCULINE/FEMININE AXIS:
When you look at a typical map, north (the cardinal direction) is at the top. Any north–south
road is a vertical line, and any east–west road is a horizontal line. Likewise, a “map” of a magic Circle makes the vertical north–south axis masculine (with air and fire), while the horizontal east–west axis is feminine (earth and water). This makes logical sense. When we look at the horizon of the Earth, we see a horizontal line. Water also seeks a horizontal plane. Feminine elements, considered “passive”, have a natural tendency to “lay down”. Fire, on the other hand, always assumes an erect or vertical position. Air, too, can rise upward, as earth and water cannot. Masculine elements, being “active”, have a natural tendency to “stand up”.
11. ALTAR TOOLS:
In modern Witchcraft, there are four principal altar tools, the same four tools shown on the
tarot card, the Magician. They also correspond to the four tarot suits, the four ancient treasures
of Ireland, and the Four Hallows of Arthurian legend. And, like the four elements, two of them
are feminine and two of them are masculine. The pentacle is a shallow dish inscribed with a
pentagram, representing earth, and is here placed in the east. The womb-shaped chalice, sym-bolizing water, is placed in the west. They form the horizontal feminine axis. The phallic-
shaped wand, representing fire, is placed in the south. And the equally phallic-shaped athame
is placed in the north. They form the vertical masculine axis. (The gender associations of cup
and blade are especially emphasized in the ritual blessing of wine.)
Updated: 7 Sep., 2016