The 4 elements are a beautiful symbol that can deepen our connection with who we are and the world we inhabit, but it’s more than that. Our Founder, Fiongal, takes us through why the four elements are such an essential part of his spiritual journey.

Getting down to basics: What the 4 elements mean

Most simply, The 4 Elements are the basis of all of life. We are, as is everything, made of them – air, fire, water and Earth. We can look at almost everything this way, from our physicality, personalities and communication style to our food likes and dislikes.

So, when it comes to spiritual practice, I see Element practice as a foundation for anyone looking to deepen awareness of themselves and their connection to spirit. We can use the elements to:

  • Understand and bring awareness to our temperaments
  • Access our psychic gifts through the element that feels most ‘me.’
  • Balance out our personal mandala of elements 

Here are some ways to think of the elements, their energy and what they offer when in balance:

Earth is about foundations and solidity. In spiritual practice, grounding is crucial, and that’s because without Earth, none of the other elements can exist. We all know someone who has their feet on the ground. When Earth is overpowering, you can feel rigid or stuck.

Water is about change and flow. Water doesn’t stay the same; it moves easily and will fill any container. On the positive, water energy can keep you flexible and flowing. When out of balance, you might feel like you’re being rushed along the river.

Air is breath, movement, potentiality and freedom. Like water, it moves in every direction and relies on having space to fill. We all need a breath of fresh air, but out-of-balance air can leave you without borders or boundaries, floaty, lightheaded or even feeling invisible. Breathwork is our greatest gift for working with this element.

Fire is your drive, passion, light and energy. We all know a ‘fiery’ person. Working with your fire element is essential for all spiritual souls. Fire is a heat generator and an energy zapper. Too much, and you can reach burnout or even harm others. Too little spark can mean low motivation. 

Are there 4 elements are 5?

There is a fifth element, which is space, otherwise known as ether or Spirit. This element represents mystery. Space is essential to spiritual practice as it allows our connection to spirit and intuition. Space is our power of growth and freedom. When we feel the boundlessness of our gifts, we are touching this element. Spiritual insight comes from here. Out of balance, space can feel overwhelming and can even lead to a spiritual crisis.

How to Work with the 5 Elements:

The body

Yoga and bodywork. This is about how we relate to the elements within us. When we use these symbols to access the body, we start to understand how they work together and how we can attend to each. Food, water, breathwork, bodywork, psychic gifts and fireside rituals are all elemental practices.

Harmony and balance – more flow or more fire?

We all have elements of our personality. Too much fire and we can burn out; maybe you need more flow. Too much air and we’re floaty and could do with finding the ground. A water overload can make you feel rushed, drowning or out of your depth, and either needing the stillness of ground, the freedom of air or the force of fire. Spend some time reflecting on what element you feel best represents you and what element you might need more on.


Need some help? Take our 5-question quiz to find out which of the 5 elements are the dominant within you:

What Element Am I?

Take our quiz to discover the many ways the 4 elements and their meaning for you. Each has a power, a colour, words and practices.

We’ll be journeying through the 5 Elements on our retreat. Join here.