Saturday, April 7, 2012

Elements in Different Systems

DYT Seasons Astrology Tarot Feng Shui Humors
Air 1 round Spring Triangular mental Swords Winter - Sanguine balanced
Water 2 tearshape Summer Round emotional Cups Summer Round Phelgmatic Round
Fire 3 triangle Fall Square physical Wands Spring Triangle Choleric Triangle
Earth 4 oval Winter Oblong practical Pentacles Autumn Square Melancholic Square
Wood - - - - - Long - -
Metal - - - - - Oval - -

Wood might equal Air and Metal might equal Aether.

The Golden Dawn's Elemental/Directional Correspondences

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn codified some of these correspondences in the 19th century. Most notable here are the cardinal directions. The Golden Dawn originated in England, and the directional/elemental correspondences reflect a European perspective. To the south are the warmer climates, and thus is associated with fire. The Atlantic ocean lies to the west. The north is cold and formidable, a land of earth but sometimes not a lot else. Occultists practicing in America or elsewhere sometimes do not find these correspondences to work.


seasonelementhumourbody fluidlocation
Summerfirecholeric"yellow bile"liver
Autumnearthmelancholic"black bile"spleen

Earth is YINpentaclesnorthTaurus, Virgo, and CapricornGnomes, Leprechauns, Elves, Brownies
Water is YINcupswestCancer, Scorpio, and PiscesNymphs, Tritons, Mermaids,Undine, Sirens
Fire is YANGwandssouthAries, Leo and SagittariusSalamander, jin (genies)
Air is YANGswordseastGemini, Libra, and AquariusSylph, Faeries, Storm Angels

Four Elements vs. Five

In classical thought, the four elements EarthWaterAir, and Fire frequently occur; sometimes including a fifth element or quintessence (after "quint" meaning "fifth") called Aether in ancient Greece and India. The concept of the five elements formed a basis of analysis in both Hinduismand Buddhism. In Hinduism, particularly in an esoteric context, the four states-of-matter describe matter, and a fifth element describes that which was beyond the material world. Similar lists existed in ancient China and Japan 

According to Aristotle in his On Generation and Corruption:
  • Air is primarily wet and secondarily hot.
  • Fire is primarily hot and secondarily dry.
  • Earth is primarily dry and secondarily cold.
  • Water is primarily cold and secondarily wet.
According to Galen, these elements were used by Hippocrates in describing the human body with an association with the four humours: yellow bile (fire), black bile (earth), blood (air), and phlegm (water). 

The Chinese had a somewhat different series of elements, namely Fire, Earth, Water, Metal and Wood, which were understood as different types of energy in a state of constant interaction and flux with one another, rather than the Western notion of different kinds of material.
In Taoism there is a similar system of elements, which includes metal and wood, but excludes air, which is replaced with qi, which is a force or energy rather than an element. In Chinese philosophy the universe consists of heaven and earth, heaven being made of qi and earth being made of the five elements (in the Chinese view, the attributes and properties of the Western and Indian Air element are equivalent to that of Wood[citation needed], where the element of Ether is often seen as a correspondent to Metal[citation needed]).

The five major planetsare associated with and named after the elements: Venus 金星 is Metal (), Jupiter 木星 is Wood (), Mercury 水星 is Water (), Mars 火星 is Fire (), and Saturn 土星 is Earth (). Additionally, the Moon represents Yin (), and the Sun 太陽 represents Yang (). Yin, Yang, and the five elements are recurring themes in the I Ching, the oldest of Chinese classical texts which describes an ancient system of cosmology and philosophy. The five elements also play an important part in Chinese astrology and the Chinese form of geomancy known asFeng shui

Japanese elements

Japanese traditions use a set of elements called the 五大 (go dai, literally "five great"). These five are earthwaterfirewind/air, and void. These came from Buddhist beliefs; the classical Chinese elements (五行go gyô) are also prominent in Japanese culture, especially to the influential Neo-Confucianists during the Edo period.
  • Earth represented things that were solid.
  • Water represented things that were liquid.
  • Fire represented things that destroy.
  • Air represented things that moved.
  • Spirit represented things not of our everyday life. 

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