So, what’s the difference? Aren’t they both the same thing? These are the questions I get from people who have not worked with Elementals, or just assumed Elemental means Elements.
I know… this will cause some people to get there hackles up. They might even actually believe the word Elemental is another word for the Elements. In MY understanding and my magickal work, they are NOT the same thing. They are associated with each other, but not interchangeable terms.
Let’s start with what the Elements are:
In my workings there are four earthly elements I work with. I say earthly elements, because these are the elements of Water, Fire, Air, and Earth. These are the basic building blocks of life on an energetic level.
Water is the element I associate with the West. When working with this element I am working with emotions, birth and death. This is also the element I associate feminine energy, and the moon.  I am also working with the actual element of water.  I also associate the mountains with the west. Two animal associations I work with in the West are Bear and Whale.  I associate the colors Black and Blue with this Element.
Fire is the element I associate with the south. When working with this element I am working with trickster energy. Here is where I find myself working with Coyote and sometimes raven and crow work with me from the south, I am also working with the element of fire. I also associate the fire and the desert with the south. The colors I associate with the south are Reds and red/oranges.  
Air is the element I associate with the East. When I’m working with this element, I am working with a masculine energy. Though this is a male energy,  I associate it with birth and rebirth.  I find myself working with eagle or hawk in the east as well as the actual element of air. I associate prairies with the East and Air.  I also associate the Sun and the color yellow with the East.
Earth is the element I associate with the north. When working with earth energy I am actually working with the earth itself. I do this through crystals, minerals, wood, and clays. Often I work with the energy of buffalo and this is where I most deeply connect with Horse energy. This is where I will make connections with ancestors and ancient knowledge.  I associate earth with the woods and forests of the north. The color I most often associate with earth is white or a clear crystalline color.
When working with others I sometimes find they may have different colors and energies associated with the elements. I’ve also encountered others who add a fifth element of spirit or ether to their workings. I am not going to expand on this element because I do not include it in my practices unless I am working with others who do.
Now on to my understanding of Elementals:
In my experience the elementals are spiritual or mythological entities that are associated with particular elements.  These tend to be lower in vibration and are often representations of the actual construct of the elements they are associated with. 
Water elementals I work with often take the form of mermaid like water spirits. These spirits are at home in the water and tend to take on forms that resemble our common idea of what a mermaid looks like, but only to the basic degrees. I have not encountered one who resembles the Little Mermaid.
Fire elementals I work with tend to be spirits who are built of the element fire. Unlike the mermaid like elementals who are most comfortable in the environment water, but are not constructed of water.
Air elementals I work with are fairy like spirits. They always have wings and are most comfortable flying, but they do not always look like the common depictions of fairies. These are not your Tinkerbell variety.
Earth elementals are my favorite, and they often appear as brownies, elves, trolls, and other small human like “little people”. I have encountered some who appear to be made from mud, rocks or other earth elements.
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Offering of coffee for Household Brownies (Earth Elemental)
All of the elementals I have worked with and still working with have their own unique personalities and prefer to be interacted with as individuals.  Elementals can take many different forms and there are other traditions which work with specific types of elementals associated with the different elements.  My affinity with the elementals is one that is personal and I have learned a lot from these “little people”. The fact they are composed of natures basic constructs within the element they are from, gives them a closer or deeper perspective of the very nature of Nature. Take the time to get to know these folks. Don’t be surprised if they come in forms that may not be so nice, they are not always pleasant, but they are always there to show you the way, or teach you something new.
Have a Wicked Good Day!

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