Many traditions hold a belief in the five classical elements, although they are seen as symbolic as representations of the phases of matter. These five elements are invoked during many magical rituals, notably when consecrating a magic circle. The five elements are air, fire, water, earth, and aether (or spirit). Aether unites the other four. Various analogies have been devised to explain the concept of the five elements; for instance, the Wiccan Ann-Marie Gallagher used that of a tree, which is composed of earth (with the soil and plant matter), water (sap and moisture), fire (through photosynthesis) and air (the creation of oxygen from carbon dioxide), all of which are believed to be united through spirit.
Traditionally in the Gardnerian Craft, each element has been associated with a cardinal point of the compass; air with east, fire with south, water with west, earth with north, and the spirit with centre. Other Craft groups have associated the elements with different cardinal points, for instance Robert Cochrane’s Clan of Tubal Cain associated earth with south, fire with east, water with west and air with north, and each of which were controlled over by a different deity who were seen as children of the primary Horned God and Goddess. The five elements are symbolised by the five points of the pentagram, the most prominently used symbol of Wicca.