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The Western Four Elements

The Western Four Elements refer to the four classical elements that were historically identified in ancient Greek and medieval European philosophy and natural science:

 

Earth - Represented by the cube, earth was considered to be dry and cold. It was associated with stability, practicality, and the physical world.


Air - Represented by the sphere, air was seen as hot and wet. It was associated with intellect, communication, and the realm of ideas.


Fire - Represented by the pyramid, fire was considered hot and dry. It was associated with energy, passion, and transformation.


Water - Represented by the icosahedron, water was seen as cold and wet. It was associated with emotions, intuition, and the flow of life.


These four elements were thought to be the fundamental building blocks that made up all matter in the universe. They were also linked to the four seasons, four humors, four temperaments, and other quaternary concepts.

 

The four elements were an important part of ancient Greek philosophy, developed by pre-Socratic thinkers like Empedocles. This elemental system influenced later medieval and Renaissance natural philosophy, alchemy, astrology, and occult traditions in Europe.

 

While the specific four elements model is no longer considered scientifically accurate, the broad concept of fundamental elements or states of matter remains important in modern chemistry and physics. The four elements retain significance in some spiritual and esoteric traditions as well.



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