elements

General - The basic elements of which the universe is made. (1) The Buddhist list of elements (with associated symbols and spheres of influence) has: air (crescent, east) earth (square, middle) ether (jewel of the lotus, west) fire (triangle, south) water (circle, north) (2) The Chinese recognised five elements. These are listed with their associated attributes: earth (yellow, centre) fire (heat, summer, south) metal (autumn, west) water (cold, winter, darkness, north) wood (spring, east) (3) Mediaeval science recognised four elements - air, earth, fire and water. Other accounts assume a fifth element, the Quintessence, which is invisible but has the role of unifying the other four. All five were said to be ruled by elementals. Modern science recognises over 100 elements, some of them manmade. Sometimes known as elements.

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