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Sage Rainsong
March 13th, 2009, 10:30 AM
So this is a question for all of the people out there that use the four/five element system. I was reading The Way of Four and the author was talking about the elements. She says that she does not like the idea of spirit being invoked. This is because spirit isn't a separate element, it is that subtle something which is greater than the sum of it's parts. It happens when all four elements are working together. I tend to like this point of view. So when you do a ritual, do you invoke spirit as a separate element? If so how do you see it in relation to the other elements?

Lunacie
March 13th, 2009, 11:05 AM
When my group does ritual we begin by casting a circle, then inviting the four elements, and when they are all present we invite Spirit as a culmination of it all, then go on to invite the Lord and Lady.

So, pretty much the same as you I'm thinking.

Astara Seague
March 13th, 2009, 11:27 AM
I agree with Lunacie here
the spirit is the all encompassing element

StarSpiral
March 13th, 2009, 01:52 PM
I practice the Reclaiming Tradition and after calling the four classical elements from each of the four directions I call to Spirit or the Void from the Center. At this time I may call other elements (Time is a popular one). To me "spirit" is that which connects all the elements together. Air, water etc are the physical, visable elements of life and spirit is the unseen one.


Declaration of the Four Sacred Things

The Earth is a living, conscious being. In company with cultures of many different times and places, we name these things as sacred: air, fire, water, and earth.

Whether we see them as the breath, energy, blood, and body of the Mother, or as the blessed gifts of a Creator, or as symbols of interconnected systems that sustain life, we know that nothing can live without them.

To call these things sacred is to say that they have a value beyond their usefulness for human ends, that they themselves become the standard by which our acts, our economics, our laws, and our purposes must be judged. No one has the right to appropriate them or profit from them at the expense of others. Any government that fails to protect them forfeits its legitimacy.

All people, all living things, are part of the earth life, and so are sacred. No one of us stands higher or lower than any other. Only justice can assure balance; only ecological balance can sustain freedom. Only in freedom can that fifth sacred thing we call spirit flourish in its full diversity.

To honor the sacred is to create conditions in which nourishment, sustenance, habitat, knowledge, freedom, and beauty can thrive. To honor the sacred is to make love possible.

To this we dedicate our curiosity, our will, our courage, our silences, and our voices. To this we dedicate our lives.

--Starhawk from The Fifth Sacred Thing

Nox_Mortus
March 13th, 2009, 02:02 PM
I don't believe that Spirit is an element per se, but simmilar to what others have said it's more of an all encompassing force.

Against The Tide
March 13th, 2009, 02:17 PM
Echoing what everyone else has said - spirit comes last, the four elements combined and of course... you!

Childof_theMorrigan
March 13th, 2009, 03:53 PM
on my own i really don't cast a circle usually

with my group we do cast circle, starting in the east. after the 4 directions/elements are invited we DO invoke spirit. The group spirit.

one of my covenmates and i wrote a moon ritual that centered around the inscribing of a specific candle that we could use in future rituals as the "spirit" candle (since we have tiki torches for the 4 directions/elements and stuff for god and goddess and ancestors... but nothing for spirit even though we always called spirit.

well the chant that I wrote that helped to build the cone of power stuck as well as the candle. the chant is used at every group ritual and we all hold hands around the altar as we bring our group spirit to the rite.

of course, you could say that the group spirit is always there because WE are there but i believe (not speaking for other mates) that the spirit has in a way, grown into its own entity, enfused with all members past and present and each time we do a ritual, we add more energy to that spirit presence.

afterall, we would not be the group we are today if not for those members past.

i think at least for me, it also helps for those times when i might be feeling a little disconnected or negative in regards to another mate. the spirit helps bring me back to us.

Teresa
March 13th, 2009, 04:14 PM
the spirit is the all encompassing element

This is my opinion as well and very eloquently stated !

Altheea
March 14th, 2009, 10:29 AM
There are several traditions that treat spirit or ether as a separate element rather than the sum of the other four. I just heard an interesting podcast on this discussing spirit or ether as a fifth element in the tantric tradition. http://www.thorncoyle.com/podcasts.html

Childof_theMorrigan
March 14th, 2009, 01:21 PM
There are several traditions that treat spirit or ether as a separate element rather than the sum of the other four. I just heard an interesting podcast on this discussing spirit or ether as a fifth element in the tantric tradition. http://www.thorncoyle.com/podcasts.html

oooo I bookmarked this. thank you for that link!

I am actually researching Feri so that name lit up for me. I will be interested to listen to these.

Cassie
March 14th, 2009, 01:39 PM
I agree with Lunacie here
the spirit is the all encompassing element
That's how I see it too.

~Audra~
March 14th, 2009, 01:45 PM
So when you do a ritual, do you invoke spirit as a separate element? If so how do you see it in relation to the other elements?

IMB, i don't invoke or evoke spirit...spirit is personal...it is YOU amongst the elements...it is deity but since deity resides within, it is essentially a personal element...you define spirit the way you choose....spirit is different for everybody...how can you invoke/evoke anything if it is ever-present...you can become more aware of it and its relations to the other elements but it is always THERE...

again, in my beliefs

Lunacie
March 14th, 2009, 03:57 PM
IMB, i don't invoke or evoke spirit...spirit is personal...it is YOU amongst the elements...it is deity but since deity resides within, it is essentially a personal element...you define spirit the way you choose....spirit is different for everybody...how can you invoke/evoke anything if it is ever-present...you can become more aware of it and its relations to the other elements but it is always THERE...

again, in my beliefs

When you go through the steps of a ritual, aren't you invoking a certain frame of mind? Certain emotions? Certain energies?

Why not invoke the spirit of the divine? Certainly it's always present, but by invoking it we are focusing on that aspect (of ourselves or however we see the gods).

~Audra~
March 14th, 2009, 04:32 PM
When you go through the steps of a ritual, aren't you invoking a certain frame of mind? Certain emotions? Certain energies?

Why not invoke the spirit of the divine? Certainly it's always present, but by invoking it we are focusing on that aspect (of ourselves or however we see the gods).


but those emotions and energies are YOURS especially if you believe that deity isn't "without"...invoking reminds me of possession...i don't want to work with any foreign energies...not saying that you can't...

everything in life is seen through your eyes...so ritual is how YOU perceive it, right?

David19
March 14th, 2009, 04:53 PM
There are several traditions that treat spirit or ether as a separate element rather than the sum of the other four. I just heard an interesting podcast on this discussing spirit or ether as a fifth element in the tantric tradition. http://www.thorncoyle.com/podcasts.html

Thanks for the link, they look quite cool podcasts, as for the original question, I don't cast a circle or call the elements (yet anyway).

Lunacie
March 14th, 2009, 06:24 PM
but those emotions and energies are YOURS especially if you believe that deity isn't "without"...invoking reminds me of possession...i don't want to work with any foreign energies...not saying that you can't...

everything in life is seen through your eyes...so ritual is how YOU perceive it, right?

Yes, I was trying to say that when you are doing different things you are focusing on different parts of YOU - in essence "invoking" that part of you that you need for that particular project.

Some witches do indeed invoke a diety to possess them for a time, but those who believe that the divine is part of everything including us, we can "invoke" that part of ourselves to be more prominent for a space of time.

Zephii
March 15th, 2009, 02:20 AM
I see spirit as "the All" or the Lord and Lady combined as one great uber deity, and don't specifically invoke it as an element in circle.

Glowingsun
March 15th, 2009, 05:38 AM
Isn't the spirit the life force?

monsnoleedra
March 15th, 2009, 11:53 AM
Isn't the spirit the life force?


That's sort of the way I view the notion of Spirit when I use it. I call it forth as the center and backbone of all things.

SparkleWytch
March 16th, 2009, 05:07 PM
I am another one that believes that Spirit is everything coming together. It's you yourself
I've always lit a candle on my altar right after calling the elements. It is a way of bringing me in tune with the elements and within the circle.

stormhawk
March 16th, 2009, 06:11 PM
I've always considered spirit to be a separate element, though whether or not I call it in the circle (rather than just treating it as an extension of myself) depends on the ritual I'm performing.

The way I've always seen it is that the elements represent the building blocks of the world. The traditional four elements represent the physical building blocks, everything material is always in one of those four states (ignoring the weird solid-liquid combinations that we played with in elementary school)

Spirit gives a nod to the fact that we, and the world around us, *aren't* just physical beings, but that there is some other essential building block, something that we can't touch, or measure, but that gives us life and consciousness, and divinity.

Spirit is as essential, as elementary, to our being as the physical elements, it's just that its easier to put ourselves in as the spirit because using our body for the physical elements may not go so well, and our body is far more limited in terms of space than spirit is. If we're dealing in terms of elemental spirits/patrons/dieties, then you could consider humans being essentially creatures of spirit, with our physical bodies being more of an afterthought most of the time, when there are far better beings to represent the raw elements.

Xentor
March 18th, 2009, 06:03 PM
Isn't the spirit the life force?

In one of its definitions, yes. In elemental systems though, it can have other definitions. Such is the tragedy of translations, when translators don't understand the meaning of words.

I was taught an elemental system during my martial arts training. It had nothing to do with magic; instead it focussed on movement and mindsets. It too used 5 elements, the 5th of which encompassed the other 4, and was a mindset that could only be reached if one was in full control of the other 4 elements.

Our training was set up in cycles. We'd learn a bit in each of the 4 elements before learning how to combine it in the 5th. Then we'd get promoted, and restarted the cycle, with the training becoming harder with each promotion. A cycle would generally take 7 years to complete.

*oonagh*
March 20th, 2009, 04:13 PM
i believe that spirit is at the center of all things, including the elements.

Kaneithren
March 27th, 2009, 08:05 PM
I don't look at it as invoking a separate element, but as invoking an aspect of yourself. Your spirit, your hand, the elemental essence that is you is what ties all of the magick that you work together... so while I acknowledge and invoke it, I don't really see it as separate in the way that the other elements are both separate and a part of you.

HetHert
March 28th, 2009, 12:53 PM
I don't call on spirit as a seperate element but acknowledge it as an integral part of the elemental round. When I stand in circle and invoke...I am the 5th element of spirit. It's the personal element each and every person carries beyond the mundane 4 elements that comprise life. We braid those elements around the spirit we carry. That essence of life that is undefinable and unique to each person yet shared by all living things. To me, invoking spirit is nothing more than invoking your own spark or your own light.

Sionnach le Fey
March 29th, 2009, 06:05 PM
the spirit is the all encompassing element

That's how I view it, also.

~Belladonna~
April 28th, 2009, 12:45 PM
I agree with Lunacie here
the spirit is the all encompassing element

Yes, I agree with this also :uhhuhuh:

Taliesyn
May 14th, 2009, 09:33 PM
I call spirit, but not as the center. I call to the spirits all around. the standing ones (trees) the stone people, the star people, the spirits of the animals, the good people, and all those named and unnamed.

Lunacie
May 15th, 2009, 10:54 AM
I call spirit, but not as the center. I call to the spirits all around. the standing ones (trees) the stone people, the star people, the spirits of the animals, the good people, and all those named and unnamed.

For me, those are all included when I call Spirit. Everything has a spirit, that's why I call it as "center", the thing that connects everything in the universe.

Ben Gruagach
May 15th, 2009, 11:09 AM
As with most of the other people who've replied, I see Spirit as everything combined while the four classical elements are the four main divisions that come from Spirit.

When my last Wiccan group (in Minnesota) cast the circle, we always started by lighting the central Spirit candle. Then we lit everything else that needs to be lit, like the quarter candles and the candles for the Lord and Lady, from that central Spirit candle. We saw Spirit as the single source since it's symbolic of the whole of everything in existence, seen and unseen, without any differentiation. The different Gods and Goddesses we saw (in our soft-polytheist way) as different aspects or manifestations of that overall Spirit.

It's still how I cast the circle when I do rituals now that I'm living in Canada.

gypsywoman
May 19th, 2009, 09:32 PM
I tend to think of "spirit" as "source." Thusly, it may not be a physical element, but it is elemental to all of life and it the last thing I call before invoking the deities.

tobi
May 19th, 2009, 10:08 PM
I ascribe to this idea. I won't acknowledge Spirit as a fifth element since it's just not an element, it's an inherent part of the other four elements - it is the light of awareness of those elements, the elements themselves, and even their absence.

In place of Spirit I have Wood. If Earth is stability, the fundament, the strength of the divine, then Wood is the living, vital, sensual essence of the divine. Wood lives, wood grows and dies. It is my fifth element.

Shawn Blackwolf
May 19th, 2009, 11:35 PM
Interesting question...

So...from my Tradition...and gematria...

994 , is one of our sacred numbers...

Our two Pillars of Mother and Father , God and Goddess , etc...

Equal 994 , by value of symbols composing them...

We have four pairs of symbols , also , for the four elements...

Those four pairs of symbols , equal 344...

Now , it so happens :

344 = Wood ( by gematria )...

And , by gematria , the names of our rulers for the four elements :

Neksa = 130

Paralda = 326

Djinn = 114

Gob = 75

+

Spiret ( our spelling ) = 347

+

Come = 3

= 995 ( + 1 , - 1 , allowance in gematria )

So , yes , we do , as we say , "envocare" , Spiret...

As the Mother and Father of Dragons...certain names...

We use Atheme , and Salt , for Spiret , as correspondences...

( our spelling is Atheme...for many reasons )


And , just to note...

Neksa , Paralda , Djinn , Gob = 645

Elohim = 646

So :

Elohim + Spirit = 993

...:thumbsup:...

PhoenixRevival
May 20th, 2009, 08:41 PM
I definitely think spirit is an element to be on its own. It's the cosmic glue that holds the others together. Yes the other four primary elements would exist without it... but without spirit would there be a being around to enjoy them and acknowledge their presence? =D

KC Destroyer of Worlds
May 23rd, 2009, 09:40 AM
Just as we are more than the sum of our parts, (what is a pile of bones, or a pile of muscle or organs?) the spirit animates the meat sack. I see the elemental casting as an allegory for us understanding ourselves. Earth- Bones/meat, Water- Blood/fluid, Air- Gasses, Fire- Emotion/ chemical response.

These four things alone are the human animal, spirit is the observer. It is what makes us autonomous. I see it fulfilling the same role in ritual. Each person holding an element stands alone, bound together in common spirit or common purpose they are exponentially more.