It’s Element-ary, Watson!

Five Natural Elements

By Nyo (Own work) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Okay, I admit it. The title of this post is hokey. Way hokey. But in honor of my dad’s peculiar sense of humor (Bob jokes are bad enough but his puns are dreadful), I had to do it.

Today I’m talking about elements. Not the metals and noble gases that gave us all headaches in Chemistry class, but the five classical elements of nature—fire, water, earth, air, and aether.

 

 

For the purposes of today’s post (and years of work and research for my fiction), we’re going with the Western (Greek) philosophy regarding the elements. It was Aristotle who added the fifth element (aether) to the mix.

There is much debate on this topic, ranging from four versus five elements (should aether or spirit be included in the count?), what the fifth element is (some call it aether, spirit, or void; others split earth into wood and metal, eliminating aether), who should be credited for “discovering” them (credit is given to, among others, Egypt, India, China, Japan, and Greece).

Today, years of modern science/testing has determined these aren’t even the building blocks of matter—which I’m assuming we all know—but rather atomic theory yields the appropriate explanation.

To that end, you’ll forgive me when I tell you I’ve taken liberties with the concepts and their associated traits for the Medici Protectorate series.

Medici Protectorate and the Brotherhood

The Medici Protectorate series is a paranormal romance series, and as such, there must be a supernatural element. I chose alchemy, because I find magic and mysticism mixed with scientific analysis and advancement to be fascinating, and the possibilities are virtually limitless.

So far in the saga, we’ve seen two of the elements manifest in the Brothers—fire and water (or the first two novels of the series—Bleeding Heart and Mind Control). I’m writing book three now, and I’ve brought the third element of earth into play. The series will end with book four, however, I am considering writing a prequel that addresses the fifth element. Fifth book or not, readers will see by the conclusion of the series how all five elements relate to the overall story.

For the sake of this saga, the five elements are finessed to fit the traits I needed for my characters. In many ways, I stayed true to the associations. But in some cases, I had to choose between a color and a trait or a trait and a mineral, etc. Still, in the end, despite some departures, the characters are wholly rounded and their associations make sense.

Creation of the Brotherhood

The Elements

fire Fire

Colors
Traditionally, fire is associated with hot colors (red, orange, yellow-orange), and I stuck to that correlation. I use red.

Traits
Some of its listed traits are passion, creativity, and virility. I chose to use passion, blood, and vengeance.

Stones
A few of the stones associated with fire are ruby, garnet, fire opal, and red calcite. As I’m focusing on the use of marble, I used red calcite.

The Medici Protectorate Series Alchemical Ritual for Fire/Red Marble

red marble

water Water

Colors
Traditionally, water is associated with cool colors (blue, light grey, silver, sea green), but I challenged that system a bit and used white. Water really isn’t blue or sea green; it’s clear. And I needed these clear and pure properties for the character.

Traits
Some of its listed traits are intuition, peaceful sleep, and healing. I chose to use purity, clarity, and beginnings. You can see how my choices came from this cherry-picked list. How I manifested them is a different story. For example, my male main character associated with this element is sleep deprived through much of the book. But it’s something he’s overcoming, not just something he’s plagued with, so the association is there.

Stones
A few of the stones associated with water are aquamarine, amethyst, topaz, and blue calcite. Because of my color interpretations, however, I switched to a different stone—white calcite, whose properties better suit the character I’m profiling.

The Medici Protectorate Series Alchemical Ritual for Water/White Marble

white marble

earth Earth

Colors
Traditionally, earth is associated with “earthy” colors (brown, yellow, green), and I stuck to that correlation. I use green.

Traits
Some of its corresponding traits are intellect, freedom, and memory. I chose to use life, balance, and transformation, as green—being associated strongly with nature—uses these traits.

Stones
A few of the stones associated with earth are jade, jasper, peridot, and quartz. As I’m focusing on the use of marble, I used green calcite.

The Medici Protectorate Series Alchemical Ritual for Earth/Green Marble

green marble

air Air

Colors
Traditionally, air is associated with wispy colors (sky blue, white, yellow). I take a contrary position and use black, as air is invisible and black is the absence of color.

Traits
Some of its listed traits are thought, reason, and memory (which is appropriate for white). I chose to focus on the color rather than the element to choose my traits, so I used resilience, protection, and potential.

Stones
A few of the stones associated with air are diamond, mica, opal, and white fluorite. As I’m focusing on the use of marble (and the color black), I used black calcite.

The Medici Protectorate Series Alchemical Ritual for Air/Black Marble

black marble

aether Aether

Colors
Traditionally, aether is associated with neutral colors (white, clear, gold), and I stuck to that correlation. I use gold.

Traits
Some of its listed traits are time, transformation, and transcendence. I chose to use concentration, honesty, and defense as my buzzwords, but transforming and transcending are key traits to this character.

Stones
A few of the stones associated with aether are apophyllite, diamond, quartz, and danburite. As I’m focusing on the use of marble, I used gold calcite.

The Medici Protectorate Series Alchemical Ritual for Aether/Gold Marble

gold marble

Conclusion

Playing with elements, colors, traits, and stones was a fun exercise for me. I researched elements, colors, and minerals for a long time, and I’m happy with how I used an amalgam of these to create my characters. Have you ever played with the meanings behinds stones, colors, or elements to create a mythology in fiction?

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19 thoughts on “It’s Element-ary, Watson!

  1. Oh, wow, I love what you did. Like you, I’m fascinated by the correlation of mythology and science and I love that you’re using alchemy in your series. I’ve also always been fascinated by gem lore and the attributes associated with stones, also of the five elements. Aether was a new one on me, but I like it’s inclusion.
    I also found your verses employing herbs to call on the various powers, very clever. Naturally, I’m looking forward to book #3 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like your elemental vows, Staci! 😀 I’ve been doing some similar ‘sourcing’ using the tarot’s minor arcana as a loose reference and elements play a part in that as well. The classical associations always seem to make more sense for me – splitting earth in two is rather strange as metal is more ‘mechanical’ and inanimate for me. Your interpretations are a great revisiting of the usual associations – worthy of a true alchemist! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Jan. I had so much fun researching alchemy and colors and stones. Although I haven’t written poetry in decades, I really enjoyed writing the prophecy (it’s a sonnet) and the “spells” that created the magic daggers. (Am I revealing too much of the novels’ concepts? Hope not.) I agree with you about splitting the earth element, though. It didn’t seem right to me, either. And the other way worked better for me, anyway.

      I have a local writing friend who does tarot readings. If you ever have questions, I can probably put the two of you in touch. There are some interesting meanings and association with the cards, but I’ve never looked into it deeply. I’m pretty sure I’d be fascinated by it, though.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I may well take you up on that, thank you, Staci. 🙂 I designed a fantasy tarot deck with a forum friend who does readings and collects tarot decks a few years back, but have lost touch with her and miss her insights. Online is great resource, but it’s lacks ‘sparkle’. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Designing your own deck sounds fascinating! (Would probably make a great giveaway as marketing swag, too.) It’s a shame you lost touch with your friend. Maybe you can reconnect? Or I can put you in touch with Ruth, if you want. Anytime you’re interested, let me know.

      Like

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