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Animals that represent the elements of nature

Updated November 21, 2016

Practitioners of contemporary wicca and paganism have a long tradition of associating various animals with the four basic elements of nature: air, fire, water and earth. Although various practitioners and groups may add different animals to their specific element associations, there is a basic list of creatures for each element and the compass direction to which it corresponds.

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Air, which corresponds with the direction of east, is represented by birds. An eagle is a powerful air creature, but one may prefer to visualise a tiny hummingbird if trying to calm high winds. Pegasus, the flying horse of Greek mythology, is also considered an air animal.


Fire, in the south, is represented by the big cats: lions, tigers, pumas and jaguars. Housecats can also be used to depict fire on a more domestic scale - a cosy fire in the fireplace, for example. Salamanders are also fire animals, since they tend to be attracted to the warm environment provided by the fringes of a campfire or bonfire. Mythical creatures are also associated with fire, including dragons and the phoenix - the bird that burns, it rises again from its own ashes.


The element of water, associated with the west, can be represented by any water-dwelling animal including dolphins, whales, fish, sea horses, squid, starfish, crabs, otters and seals. In the pagan tradition, the west represents healing, so you could also include animals such as dogs (used in ancient healing temples to cleanse wounds). Sea serpents such as the Loch Ness monster can also represent the scary unknown water world.


The earth, the north element, is represented by large forest dwellers, like wolves, boars and bears and also by large hoofed animals like deer, buffalo, moose and horses. Any burrowing animal such as rabbits, gophers, badgers and groundhogs can also represent the protective aspect of earth.

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