Earth, Air, Fire & Water
By Ivo Dominguez Jr.
The Four Ancient Powers
Earth, Air, Water & Fire are the four fundamental forces of Nature, with Spirit or Ether being the fifth. They are a cornerstone of western esoteric tradition, and early scientific thought. These four distinct energies are what set the Universe into motion. They were used to explain physics, astronomy, medicine and mathematics in the ancient world. The four elements are one of the first things that we learn about when we begin studying magic. They are such an integral and fundamental part of what we do that we can often take them for granted. This book takes an intermediate look at the elements. Refining them beyond beginner-level material, Dominguez delivers a nuanced and thoughtful analysis of these four cornerstones of western magic. I have personally come to understand the elements as being on one hand very fundamental, and on the other hand extremely complex. It is through the elements and all of their different combinations that we get all of the other archetypes and energies that we know. Through the system of the four elements we can come to a much deeper understanding of the world around us and our own magic.
Ivo Dominguez, Jr. is one of my favorite authors. The thought and detail that comes through in his writing speaks of his multi-disciplinary approach to magical practice. Ivo connects many different systems and schools of thought seamlessly in a way that is easy to understand. With his experience and insight he is able to point out the deeper meaning and subtle aspects of an already esoteric concept. This kind of cross connection between occult systems gives the reader a much deeper understanding of the symbolism, tradition and energy behind what they are doing. I have always believed that magical study is about using and building one’s symbolic vocabulary to access the associated powers, having this interconnected understanding is key to interpreting new ideas and practices as well.
This book, published by Red Wheel Weiser, is an evolving and ongoing workbook that can be revisited at any stage in one’s magical practice. This book is invaluable to beginners who will be equipped with an advanced understanding of elemental energies, and the commonality of the four elements in other occult systems. For the advanced practitioner it is a re-affirmation, putting into words, eloquently as Ivo does many of the discoveries one makes after many years of self-study. Ivo’s unique perspective and background have equipped him for his mission of providing the reader with a new way of conceptualizing these powers.
“The canon for the elements is not a statement of their objective reality. ” – Ivo Dominguez, Jr.
Understanding the Four Elements
Oftentimes when we are first introduced to the elements, we are given a list of human characteristics and traits that describe the elements in their physical manifestation. There aren’t many great books out there that bridge the gap between using the elements as a means of choosing correspondence in spell work, and exploring the larger consciousness of the elements. The elements are the four corners that hold up reality and anchor spirit to matter. They are infinitely vast and powerful, and manifest in a never dance with one another.
This book begins like many others in laying out the basic structure and function of the elements and their characteristics. Ivo explains the significance of this four-fold nature, the elemental triangles and the anatomy of an elemental. This book brings fresh insight to old concepts, and we come out with a totally new understanding of these eldritch forces. The theme of “threes and fours” is prevalent throughout the book as we look at the elements through astrological modalities, the Hermetic Qabala and alchemy.
I really appreciate that Ivo writes for witches and pagans, but incorporates all of these other ideas from alchemy, Qabala and western occultism because they are all such important tools. By the end of the book the reader has been equipped with the tools to access the elements for use in ritual, spellwork, contemplation and personal growth. The reader will have an understanding of elemental combinations and sub-elements, as it pertains to tarot and astrology. This shows us that the elements don’t always manifest one at a time, but in infinite combinations.
Without spoiling too much, Ivo introduces some really interesting concepts on using the witches pyramid as a ritual tool. As well as using the Platonic Solids, with their elemental associations for magic and manifestation. The book closes with a section on “The Special Role of Plants,” which I totally appreciate!
Earth, Air, Fire & Water
We all have the elements within us, and we can all access them for healing, personal growth and magic! This book is a great read, and I highly recommend it. Ivo’s writing style is not ostentatious. The information is thoughtfully presented without a bunch of extra filler! Whether a folk witch, hermetic magician, or pagan there is something in this book for you!
Ivo Dominguez, Jr. is a multi-disciplinary practitioner. He has been active in the magical community since the late 1970s. He is also an upstanding member of the LGBT community. A leader and teacher, Ivo is a founder of Keepers of the Holy Chalice, where he held the title of Priest. he is currently an elder for the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, which is a syncretic Wiccan tradition. Like Ivo, the tradition draws from astrology, Qabala, western esoteric traditions and European folk practice. Ivo has been working as a professional astrologer since the 1980s. I highly recommend his other book Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans: Using the Planets and Stars for Effective Spellwork, Rituals and Magical Work.