In the history of humanity, many theories have been proposed about the existence of the fifth element in nature. Of these four were the physical elements – Water, Air, fire, and earth of which the entire world is composed. However, the fifth element goes by a variety of names in different cultures. Some call it sprite, others call it Aether or Quintessence, etc….
In some traditional Western occult theory, these five elements are hierarchical: Spirit, air, fire, water, and earth – with the first element being more Spiritual and the last element being more material & base. But, some modern systems view these elements as equal.
These fundamental elements of fire, air, water, earth, and ether were the foundations of the universe. According to the ancient Greeks, the Universe existed as a system of celestial spheres in which Earth was stationary, located in the center, with all the stars, planets, and other celestial bodies surroundings it in spheres that governed the movements. In his dialogue Plato (c. 424-c. 348 BCE) wrote about the elements, identifying ether as being the brightest part of the air. Aristotle later hypothesized that ether was the fifth element in the spaces between the celestial spheres in his work ‘On the Heavens.’
After Aristotle, the classical explanation of the five elements dominated the Western scientific thought until the Renaissance. Yet, the fifth element, ether was different. The other four elements in nature were easily observed by scientists, while ether remained hidden. Aristotle had to make his observations about the world and then hypothesize an element that had yet to be observed.
The idea of the elements has long dispelled by Modern science, but that either did not exist and was never observed, did not diminish the importance of the concept.
The element of spirit does not have the same arrangements as the physical elements since spirit is not physical. Various systems may associate planets, tools, and so forth to it, but such correspondences are far less standardized than the other four elements.
There is also no standard symbol for the element spirit, although circles are common. The spirits are sometimes represented by Eight-spoked wheels and spirals.
The fifth element, Spirit is said to be a bridge between the physical and the spiritual. The spirit is the transitory material between the physical and celestial realms, in cosmological models. Within the microcosm, the spirit is the bridge between soul and body.