From Academic Kids


In mysticism, mythology and alchemy, an elemental is a creature (usually a spirit) that is attuned with, or composed of, one of the classical elements: air, earth, fire and water. The elements balance each other out through opposites: water quenches fire, fire boils water, earth contains air, air erodes earth. The concept of elementals seems to have been conceived by Paracelsus in the 16th century. Paracelsus' elementals were:

Element Elemental Source
Air Sylph invented by Paracelsus, though supposedly part of Greek and Egyptian mythologies (not confirmed)
Earth Gnome invented by Paracelsus, but probably based on the traditional kobold
Fire Salamander invented by Paracelsus
Water Undine water goddesses from Homeric myth

Antroposophy is also known to have knowledge of elementals.

Elementals are commonly mentioned in grimoires dealing with alchemy and sorcery and are usually called by summoning.

In fantasy role-playing, computer and trading card games, elementals often appear, usually as difficult opponents. They can often only be defeated by an element of a conflicting type (for example, fire elementals beaten by water), although in some games they are instead immune to that element and only that element. Many games use elementals composed of non-standard elements — elementals made of darkness, ice, life energy, light, lightning, magical energy, magma, mana, mud, plants, smoke, temporal energy, weather phenomena and spirit are all relatively common.

In modern occultism the word Elemental can also be used to mean any simple or only partly sentient spiritual entity. These entities can be entirely natural (ie the spirit of a group of trees) or can be created by magicians or sorcerers to perform a task for them. The latter type are called Servitors. This kind of "subservient" or "man-made" elemental can be found mentioned in the works of Austin Osman Spare or Aleister Crowley. They are a vital concept in modern Chaos ja:精霊

In the Battletech sci-fi universe, elemental is used to describe suits of powered armour employed by Kerensky's "Clans" as well as their pilots, geneticallty engineered to be significantly larger and stronger than ordinary men. There are various kinds of these armour, being suited to combat in various types of battlefield, some known as Sylph, Undine, Salamander, Gnome, as such drawing on the writings of Paracelsus.


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