Apr 2, 2010

Elementally Friday

Elementals are said to be various types of energies or spirits which inhabit nature but are a lower form of these nature spirits. The belief in their existence was almost universal in the ancient era of religions which practiced animism (a spiritual belief that souls or spirits exist not only in humans but also in other animals, plants, rocks and natural phenomena.) 

This belief still exists among people who believe that all natural things possess life. These spirits are often thought to possess supernatural powers. Nature spirits usually abide in trees, rivers, plants, bogs, mountains and minerals. Many cultures believe that these spirits attach themselves to practically every living natural thing such as in China, for example, they watch over the rice, silk, roads, gateways and other things. In the Shinto religion of Japan there is worship of nature, natural forces and nature spirits. 

Nature spirit worship was also practiced by the Greeks and Romans who believed spirits inhabited every glen, pool and even the air. As can be seen there are many examples of the universality of nature spirit worship. 

They are believed to exist as the life force in all living things such as the four elements of earth, air, fire and water and most see elementals as nice, friendly little creatures of nature but others share a different viewpoint. Although the elementals are classed as nature spirits, they are thought by some to be entities of the astral plane.

In ancient folklore, elementals were thought to be fickle, malicious and unpredictable spirits sent by a wicked witch in the form of familiars to trick people into accidents and traps and sometimes killing them. Still today, in contemporary Witchcraft, witches stress and emphasize that given to working with good and friendly elementals aids in producing positive magic. A colorful character from contemporary times that used a familiar was Sybil Leek (1917-1982). Her trademark was a cape, loose gown, and a pet jackdaw ( a member of the crow family) named “Mr. Hotfoot Jackson”.

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