An Elemental is a spirit embodying one of the five elements of antiquity: Earth (solid), Water (liquid), Wind (gas), Fire (heat), Aether (quintessence). Elementals are referred to by various names. In the English European tradition these include Fairies, Elves, Devas, Brownies, Leprechauns, Gnomes, Sprites, Pixies, Banshees, Goblins, Dryads, Mermaids, Trolls, Dragons, Griffins, and numerous others. These nature spirits are governed by the Archangels. Like Angels, Elementals have a recognisable appearance consistently depicted by the archetypal language of art and literature. For example, it is easy to determine if a drawing is an angel or a winged elemental. Angels have feathered bird-like wings and the winged Elementals have wings that look like a butterfly.

Elemental spirits possess supernatural powers and are usually invisible to humans, living among the trees, rivers, plants, bogs, mountains, and minerals. They attach themselves to practically every natural thing. Earthly Elementals are the metaphysical (beyond the physics) cause of earthquakes, floods, gales, thunderstorms, and wild-fires. In Shakespeare's The Tempest, Prospero, marooned and exiled, frees an Elemental named Ariel from a tree. Then, in order to be free from Prospero, Ariel agrees to perform a series of supernatural acts including a storm that allow Prospero to right the injustice of his exile and to forgive those responsible. More importantly, Earthly Elementals are responsible for creating, sustaining, and renewing life on Earth.

Animism, which is oldest known human spiritual practice, is the belief Elementals inhabit all things. The belief in Elementals predates all the major religions. This is evident in anthropological records of indigenous beliefs and practices throughout the world, including Australian Aboriginies who have the oldest continuous culture.

An early modern reference of elementals appears in the 16th century alchemical works of Paracelsus. His works grouped the Elementals into four of the five elements:

  • Gnome, Earth Elemental.
  • Undines (also known as Nymph), Water Elemental.
  • Sylph, Air Elemental (also known as Wind Elemental).
  • Salamander, Fire Elemental.

The earliest known references to the terms Gnome, Undine and Sylph are from the works of Paracelsus.

The basic concept of an Elemental refers to the ancient idea of the elements Earth, Water, Wind, Fire, and Aether as the fundamental building blocks of nature. This system prevailed in the Classical world. This paradigm was highly influential in Medieval natural philosophy, and Paracelsus drew a range of mythological beings into this paradigm by identifying them as belonging to one of the four elemental types.

In contemporary times there are those who study and practice rituals to invoke Elementals. These include Wiccans, esoteric Freemasons, and followers of nature based religions.

Other articles related to "elemental, elementals":

Creature Type (Dungeons & Dragons) - 3rd and 3.5 Editions - Elemental
... An elemental is composed of one or more of the four classical elementals of air, earth, fire, or water ... Elementals almost always have the extraplanar subtype ... Most natives of the elemental planes are elementals, however there are some exceptions, for example most types of genies are native to the elemental planes ...
Elemental: War Of Magic
... Elemental War of Magic is a fantasy 4X turn-based strategy game developed and published by Stardock, released August 24, 2010 ... Stardock calls Elemental "a strategy game in an RPG world." The game revolves around exploration, city-building, resource management and conquest, but also ... Stardock has released two further turn-based strategy games set in the world of Elemental Elemental Fallen Enchantress, in October, 2012, and Fallen Enchantress Legendary Heroes ...
Bivouac (band) - Discography - Singles and EPs
... ABC EP (1992), Elemental "Slack" 12" (1992), Elemental "Good Day Song" (1993), Elemental "The Bell Foundry" (1993), Elemental Marked and Tagged EP (1994), Elemental "Thinking" (1995), Geffen "Monkey ...
Legendary Salamander In Popular Culture - Fire Elementals
... In Poul Anderson's short story "Operation Salamander" (1956), fire elementals appear as lizard-shapes hidden in flame ... In the Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series (1995–2005), salamanders are portrayed as lesser fire elementals ... In Dungeons Dragons, salamanders are serpentine beings who dwell in metal cities in the Elemental Plane of Fire ...

Famous quotes containing the word elemental:

    Our bodies are shaped to bear children, and our lives are a working out of the processes of creation. All our ambitions and intelligence are beside that great elemental point.
    Phyllis McGinley (1905–1978)

    The hawk is aerial brother of the wave which he sails over and surveys, those his perfect air-inflated wings answering to the elemental unfledged pinions of the sea.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    When this immediate evil power has been defeated, we shall not yet have won the long battle with the elemental barbarities. Another Hitler, it may be an invisible adversary, will attempt, again, and yet again, to destroy our frail civilization. Is it true, I wonder, that the only way to escape a war is to be in it? When one is a part of an actuality does the imagination find a release?
    Ellen Glasgow (1873–1945)