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Alternatively Elementary Spirits.
The unseen intelligences who allegedly inhabit the four elements (Air, Earth, Fire and Water), of the finest essence of which they are composed.
The basic concept of elementals refers to the ancient idea of elements as fundamental building blocks of nature. The creatures of the air are called sylphs; of the earth gnomes; of the fire salamanders; and of the water nymphs or undines.
In medieval times the conjuration and exorcism of elementary spirits was practiced extensively, the crystal being a preferred mean of evoking them. In every instance, a special consecration of the four elements was a principal and essential part of the ceremonial procedures. Elementals appear in the alchemical works of Paracelsus in the 16th century.
The exorcism of earth was carried out by means of breathing, sprinkling water, burning incense, and repeating a certain prayer to the gnomes. Air was exorcised by breathing toward the four cardinal points and by reciting prayers to the sylphs , the air spirits. Casting salt, incense, sulphur, camphor, and white resin into a fire was considered very effective in exorcising that element. In the case of water, breathing and laying on of hands, repeating formulas, mixing salt and ashes of incense, and other rituals were to be observed.
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Sources: (1) Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, Harper Collins Publishers; (2) Rose, Carol, Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia, W. W. Norton & Company; (3) Shepard, Leslie A and Melton, J. Gordon (Editors), Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, Gale Group.
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|-- Feng Shui Software: Live a Happy and Prosperous Life CD-ROM.|
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