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Elemental Magic

Traditional Practices for Working with the Energies of the Natural World

Published by Destiny Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



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About The Book

Learn how to use the principles and practices of natural magic for personal development and spiritual empowerment

• Offers detailed descriptions of the magical properties of minerals, animals, plants, and the earth’s cycles and how to use them in your own practice

• Explores the magical laws of nature and how to guide your inner energy to work in concert with cosmic energies

• Details how to design your own ceremonies, practice elemental meditations, and craft your own magical talismans, wands, and divining rods

An expert on European rural folk magic traditions, author Nigel Pennick presents a comprehensive introduction to the principles, rituals, practices, and magical tools required to draw on the magic inherent in the natural world. He explains how people throughout the centuries have built a relationship with the elemental energies around them using simple, everyday practices in order to attune themselves to nature, the seasons, and the cosmos for magical purposes.

The author explores earth, mineral, and plant magic as well as the magical properties of the earth’s cycles and concentrated places of power within the landscape. He examines magical workings with animals, drawing on authentic traditions such as the Toadsmen or Toadswomen, whose power is given by toads, and the Berserker qualities conferred by magical bondings with wild animals like bears and wolves. He explains how to craft your own magical talismans, wands, and divining rods; design your own ceremonies; practice elemental meditations; fortify your health with herbs and crystals; and set an altar with the right food and drink for your intention.

Pennick also describes how the practical techniques of natural elemental magic work through interactions between the inner world of the mind and spirit, the outer world, and the otherworldly. He shows that having a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of all things and the inner power of these magical elements strengthens the practitioner’s harmony with nature, and thus their power. By harnessing the elemental energies around us, we can work with nature for personal development, spiritual empowerment, and the successful achievement of our desires


From Chapter 5. The Power Within

As part of traditional spirituality, natural magic respects the creative life force in all things. According to the natural magical worldview, being human does not give us the right to dominate and destroy nature. Rather, it teaches us to be mindful that all things are interconnected, that polar opposites are actually two sides of the same unity. Meditation on this leads us to a new understanding of our human existence, for without this worldview, we cannot work natural magic.

Might and Main

Traditionally, the powers of the body are seen as embodied in two separate but linked qualities: might and main. Might is the physical strength of the body: the energy within it that enables it to live, powering its movements and actions. Main is the inner strength that empowers the personality. Without main, might is useless, for main includes the will to live. It is main that enables a person to exert his or her will in all realms of life. It empowers the magical arts of the human being. We must have both might and main in order to live effectively. Without one or the other, we are close to death.


Natural magic enables us to fully utilize our might and main in a creative way through spiritual empowerment. Spiritual empowerment is the harmonization of the body and mind with the all-encompassing power of the cosmos. It can be achieved by means of spiritual exercises that bring the functions of body and mind into alignment with each other, and then into alignment with eternal forces. There are five stages in the spiritual exercises of natural magic, as follows.

First, sit in an alert, yet relaxed position, either with legs crossed, or with the legs beneath the body. Next, regulate the breath. Once the breath is under control, regular and slow, banish all unwanted thoughts. This is not easy for the beginner. Firstly, by closing your eyes, withdraw your attention from all external objects and distractions. Suppress inner mental images, too. Then, let your bodily sensations gradually fade and become unimportant.

It is possible to banish unwanted thoughts by concentrating on a specific thought, perhaps the visualization of a symbol. This can be something spiritual that has personal meaning. Use it regularly, and it will become part of your consciousness.

Once you are in a meditative state, then the next step is sound, in the form of chant or song. The sacramental energy present in words is recognized throughout the world. An appropriate chant, spell, or song that comes from within will raise that energy and empower the singer. Once the activity is finished, there must be a re-awakening, a re-entry to the everyday world. This is accomplished in the reverse order, consciously bringing each part of the body and mind back to “normality.” The body, as well as the mind, will feel revitalized at the end of the process, giving us a greater awareness of our surroundings, and our creative possibilities.

Elemental Alignment

A good way of gaining bodily and mental familiarity with the four material elements, and the fifth non-material one, is to use them in meditation. Like other magical activities, you should perform these meditations inside a protective boundary. Each time you work with an element, use the same technique. Begin with the densest element, Earth, then proceed to the lightest, Fire, in the sequence Earth, Water, Air, Fire.

Earth Meditation. Put some earth in a ceramic or glass bowl, and place it in a convenient location. Sit in a meditational posture, and focus your attention on the earth in the bowl. Explore in your mind the many possibilities of earth symbolized by this small sample. When you have done this, allow your consciousness to enter the earth. Become at one with it. Experience its heaviness, its many variant forms and possibilities, and the feelings that they bring.

Water Meditation. Pour some natural spring or well water into a bowl, and place the bowl in a convenient location, as before. Focus your meditation upon the water. Explore the many forms of water: wetness, rain, streams, puddles, lakes, and the sea. When you have done this, allow your consciousness to enter the water. Become at one with it. Experience its fluidity, its many variant flowing possibilities, and the feelings that they bring you.

Air Meditation. Light some incense. It is best to use one that you have collected yourself, such as resin from a tall conifer. Burn it on charcoal in a fireproof dish. Place the dish in a convenient place, as before. Then focus your meditation upon the smoke that indicates the invisible air. Explore the many forms of air: the atmosphere of places, breezes, winds, storms, hurricanes, and whirlwinds. When you have done this, allow your consciousness to enter the air. Become at one with it. Experience its freedom and motion, and the feelings that they bring.

Fire Meditation. For this, light a candle, using struck fire. It is best to use a fire-colored one, deep orange or red. Watch the brilliant flame, and focus your awareness upon the qualities and forms of fire and flame: heat, flickering light, red-hot metal, volcanic eruptions, and the power of the sun. Then imagine yourself as part of the fire, experiencing the feelings that this generates.

The Subtle Power Meditation. Sit as before, visualizing the natural empowerment of all existence, the flowing energy matrix upon which all things are patterned. Envisage it as ever-changing, flowing geometrical colors and forms, like the rainbow patterns on the surface of a bubble.

When you have finished each meditation, direct your consciousness away from the object. Return to a full awareness of the things around you. When you begin, it is best to work several times with each element, until you feel ready to move on to the next one. Once you have worked through all five, you will find that your understanding of the subtle realms has been greatly empowered.

About The Author

Nigel Pennick is an authority on ancient belief systems, traditions, runes, and geomancy and has traveled and lectured extensively in Europe and the United States. He is the author and illustrator of more than 50 books, including The Pagan Book of Days. The founder of the Institute of Geomantic Research and the Library of the European Tradition, he lives near Cambridge, England.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Destiny Books (October 6, 2020)
  • Length: 144 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781620557587

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Raves and Reviews

“One of Nigel Pennick’s best! Thorough, practical, and informed by a profound grasp of traditional European lore, this classic book on the art and practice of natural magic belongs on the bookshelf of any working mage.”

– John Michael Greer, author of The Druid Magic Handbook and The Druidry Handbook

“Who wouldn’t want a whole system to perform serious magic all summed up in one book? Elemental Magic: Traditional Practices for Working with the Energies of the Natural World by Nigel Pennick delivers exactly that. Furthermore, it details how to work in harmony with the world around us--something that we all instinctively know is becoming more and more important with every passing decade.”

– Ian Read, English editor of Chaos International and Rûna magazines

“Nigel Pennick’s Elemental Magic is a pithy primer on the ancient yet eternally relevant ways of engaging with the hidden workings of the ensouled world that surrounds us. This accessible little manual of hard-won wisdom offers basic instruction in an array of European folk-magic practices, along with a plainly worded overview of the enchanting folklore and enchanted worldview that underpins these hallowed customs. Ornamented with finely wrought images by the author himself, in his concomitant role as a spiritual artist and craftsman, the end result is more than a modest handbook--it is a quintessential one, in the best archaic sense of the word.”

– Michael Moynihan, Ph.D., coeditor of Tyr: Myth–Culture–Tradition

Elemental Magic serves as a toolbox of knowledge and techniques to further a person’s understanding of the natural world around them. Written in a manner that allows the work to be incorporated by a variety of occult fields, Pennick offers both practical and philosophical means of ingress into this wide reaching arena. A worthy addition to any library.”

– Daniel Yates, occult photographer and author of Arcanum

“One of my favorite things about this book is how much it is just a welcome beginning to having your own unique experience. Pennick is impeccable at walking that line between offering you his approach and perspective, promising you the richness of what is to come in your own intimacy with these practices, and truly leaving the space for you to discover the magic for yourself.”

– Allyson Seal, Indie Mystic

"I happily and heartily recommend this book [Elemental Magic] to anyone who wants a powerful magical system to awaken their ehars and souls to incredible inner power. There is no religion here, no priesthood or hierarchy, just the simple and profound love of ever-abundant nature, and many gifts of knowing."

– Lesley Crossingham, New Dawn Magazine

"This short book is a clear, simple and well-organized guide to the basics of European traditional magic and belief....a great introduction to European magic and folklore for a young person or someone newly interested in these subjects. I particularly enjoyed the accompanying drawings by the author--the stark and dynamic black and white images complemented and enriched their words."

– Carolyn Dougherty, Pagan Dawn Magazine

"Whether you are looking for techniques to deepen your relationship with the natural world or just need a really effective binding pattern, Elemental Magic deserves a spot on your shelf."

– The Witches' Almanac

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