Skip to main content


Living entities or centers of force in the astral and mental planes, also known as nature spirits. They are called elementals because they are supposed to be the life forces behind the four primordial elements, namely, Fire, Earth, Air and Water. The fire elementals are called salamanders; those of earth, gnomes; of air, sylphs, and of water, undines. In the traditions of various cultures they are known under various names and appearances, such as elves, dwarfs, djins, brownies, goblins, banshees, fairies, trolls, devs, etc. The term “elementals” should not be confused with “elementaries,” which are the astral bodies of dead people.

Elementals themselves, according to Helena P. BLAVATSKY, have no forms, but are just centers of force. They are without tendencies or moral character. They are however capable of being controlled or directed by human thought. The shapes with which they are seen are due to the preconceived images of the person seeing them or due to the collective impressions of those people. Such collective impressions help create the definite shape of the nature spirits.

Elementals are responsible for a number of psychical phenomena. In the after-death state, elementals animate the astral shells left behind by souls who have entered Devachan after the second death (See DEATH AND AFTER DEATH-STATES and Death, Second.). It causes the shells to appear as if living, since they carry the personal memories of the person who just died. It is these that the mediums usually contact during seances.

Under the control of a powerful human will, elementals can be directed to produce phenomena, such as moving objects, producing sounds, etc. Accounts have been recorded by people who witnessed the phenomena H. P. Blavatsky produced through the control of elementals, such as tapping sounds, making tables immovable, etc. Elementals are also said to be controlled through the proper use of color, form, sound, number and substances. This is one of the objectives of thaumaturgy or magic.

Elementals are also connected with the animation of thought-forms produced by human beings. Due to elementals, thoughts become active intelligences after they are produced and may persist for a long or short period depending upon the intensity with which they were produced. As such they become sources of influence to the minds of people — becoming a beneficent power if good, or a maleficent demon if evil. They thus become agents of karma. Due to the above-mentioned property, elementals return to humanity the quality of thoughts and feelings that they receive from people. The best protection against the malefic influence of elementals “is a clear conscience and a firm desire of benefiting Humanity” (CW XII:535).

H. P. Blavatsky states that there are three elemental kingdoms that precede the mineral kingdom, representing earlier stages of evolution. Later theosophical writers such as Charles W. Leadbeater added that these three elemental kingdoms are found in the higher mental, lower mental, and kama-loka levels.

See also FAIRIES.


© Copyright by the Theosophical Publishing House, Manila