Elemental spirit

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For the shaman talent, see [Elemental Spirits].
Not to be confused with pandaren spirit.
The Spirit of Air in World of Warcraft: Shaman.
The Spirit of Fire in World of Warcraft: Shaman.
The Spirit of Water in World of Warcraft: Shaman.

The elemental spirits[1] (also referred to as the elements)[2] are the volatile elemental energies[3] of the planet. They can attain raw physical form and become elementals.[4] Every world has its own elements, its own powers to call upon.[2]

The elemental spirits are primitive and chaotic beings of fire, earth, air, or water. They were some of the first sentient creatures to inhabit the nascent worlds of the waking universe. The elemental spirits appear in an almost infinite variety of shapes and sizes. Each of these creatures has a distinct personality and temperament, traits that are heavily influenced by a spirit's elemental nature. The presence of the fifth element—Spirit—also affects the disposition of these elemental beings. A world with an overabundance of Spirit may give rise to native elementals who are passive and lack physicality. Conversely, a world with too little Spirit may birth elementals who are highly aggressive and incredibly destructive.[5]

Shamanism and a few other professions are about communing with these elements.


The elements of fire, air, earth, and water serve as the basic building blocks of all matter in the physical universe. Shamanic cultures have long sought to live in harmony with, or assert dominion over, the elements. To do so, they called upon the primordial forces of Spirit and Decay. Those who seek to bring balance to the elements rely on Spirit (sometimes referred to as the fifth element by shaman, or chi by pandaren). This life-giving force interconnects and binds all things in existence as one. Decay is the tool of shaman seeking to subjugate and weaponize the elements themselves.[6]

Elemental duality

Elements can influence a variety of emotionally positive and negative states:[6]

  • Fire influences passion and fury
  • Air influences cunning and madness
  • Earth influences stability and stubbornness
  • Water influences tranquility and indecisiveness
  • Spirit influences bravery and naiveté
  • Decay influences efficiency and ruthlessness

On Azeroth

As Azeroth formed elemental spirits roamed the surface. As time went by these spirits became more erratic and destructive. The burgeoning world-soul was so vast that it consumed much of the fifth element, Spirit. Without this primordial force to create balance, Azeroth's elemental spirits descended into chaos.[5] With the rise of the Black Empire the Elemental Lords were enslaved as the Old Gods lieutenants. After the war between the titans and the Old Gods the keepers imprisoned elementals in the Elemental Plane.[7]

On Azeroth, each element is associated with one of the four cardinal points,[8] to which they are strongly linked:

  • The North is the realm of Earth
  • The South is the realm of Fire
  • The East is the realm of Air
  • The West is the realm of Water

Wildlife evolution

Creatures had emerged from Azeroth's elemental past of their own free will. When the keepers had sealed off the Elemental Plane, some stragglers had escaped banishment. The fury of these spirits had ebbed over time, and they had become creatures of flesh and blood. It was from these former elementals that some forms of wildlife, such as proto-dragons, came to be.[9]

The Dragon Isles are a lush and primal place bursting with primal elemental energies[10] and the life energies of Azeroth.[11][12]

On Draenor

Main article: Furies

When Aggramar came across Draenor in his travels, he was intrigued by the world but foresaw doom for the planet if the Evergrowth was allowed to grow unchecked, as it would eventually consume everything on the world, including the elemental spirits. Once that happened, the Evergrowth would devour itself, and Draenor would be left a wasteland devoid of life. Aggramar's natural affinity for order compelled him to take action, but he did not wish to completely destroy Draenor's plant life, only to temper it. Thus, he would need to neutralize the Sporemounds, the heart of the Evergrowth's power and he did that by creating Grond.[13]

Types of spirit


Main article: Earth Mother#Mythology

In the tauren mythology, the elements befriended An'she and Mu'sha, the children on the Earth Mother.

In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

Elemental spirits are the source of shamans, geomancers, trancendents, and pandaren brewmasters powers and the origin of much of their knowledge. The spirits of the elements are the shaman's to command.[23]

Elemental spirits are by nature chaotic and destructive, but also capable of reasoning and clever actions. The Earthen Ring was actually formed to keep the elemental spirits in check. They work to prevent the elemental forces from wreaking havoc on Azeroth,[24] otherwise, the world would be in danger. The group works hard to keep the elementals pacified, by talking to and dealing with them, thus ensuring they do not cause trouble in the world. Its main goal is to maintain the balance between the world and the elementals that dwell upon it. In this manner, the Earthen Ring prevents elementals from engaging in the chaotic destruction that would otherwise ensue.[25] The Twilight's Hammer venerate the Old Gods and study the elemental spirits under them.[26] They work to anger the elementals and embolden them. The Earthen Ring believes they are not only unwise but also a great threat to Azeroth and their most dire enemy. Anyone who seeks to maintain the fragile balance of nature by keeping the elemental forces in check an ally.[24][25]

Orcs and tauren take a more symbolic approach to spirits. The spirits they encounter on the wild plains of Kalimdor are less specific, cover a wider range, and are more likely to be spirits of earth and fire than the essences of trees or animals.[27] Orcs and tauren believe that plant-spirits, nature-spirits, and earth-spirits exist and that everyone must treat these spirits with respect. One who denies the reality of nature spirits severs her connection with the earth.[28]

Orc culture

Orcs have a less organized philosophy than Tauren; they see all spirits as individuals connected in a greater whole, like members of a great clan.[29] The shamans of the orcs find their power in the spirits of nature, forming an intimate connection with the very world that surrounds them. This awareness has led to even more revelations of their race's true nature, as the orcs realize that they live more in harmony with the world itself than many of the races of the Alliance who would claim otherwise.[30] The earth and elemental spirits desire to aid and protect those who speak to them. Orc shamans have the power of nature in their fists, and earth, wind, and fire come to their call.[31]

Tauren culture

Tauren live in careful balance with their environment. They worship the spirits and elements of the plains on which they live.[32] Instead of negotiating with individual spirits, tauren carve representative imagery on their totems and draw power from acting in a particular spirit's name.[27]

Tauren revere a spirit they call the Earth Mother.[33][29] The Earth Mother is the tauren ideal of all the spirits of nature. The Earth Mother lives in the rivers, trees, plains, and mountains of Azeroth. She is the embodiment of nature. All lesser nature spirits come from the Earth Mother and return to her upon death. While individual spirits represent a particular location, animal or object, such as the spirit of a single tree, or the spirit of a valley, the Earth Mother represents the land. River-spirits, sea-spirits, tree-spirits, rock-spirits and animal spirits all reflect one facet of the Earth Mother. She is everywhere life and nature are. The only spirits separate from the Earth Mother are the spirits of sentient creatures.[29] When a tauren says life is sacred, he's talking about a kind of spiritual energy that permeates the natural world. The Earth Mother represents that big spirit, and little spirits all inhabit rocks, trees and the like. That's why the tauren don't like mining and deforestation; it disrupts all those spirits and disrupts the Earth Mother.[34]

Pandaren culture

Pandaren veil their beliefs in the trappings of a mystical and ancient method called geomancy. Geomancy is shamanistic.[35] Geomancy teaches that the land is a reflection of the spirits, but that spirits are also a reflection of the land.[36] The fierce powers of the elemental spirits are for the transcendents and brewmasters to gain and command. They learn to channel the power of elemental spirits.[37][38][39][40] Tales say that spirits and energies are at work in the cosmos — spirits and energy that define the essence of reality, and from these vital sources all things are formed. This is one of the central philosophies of pandaren geomancy, and no one is more intimate with these energies than the pandaren transcendent.[41]

When the pandaren transcendent uses one of these abilities, her appearance changes to match the spirit she channels. For example, when she uses channel earth, her clothing becomes brown and she moves with slow and stately grace; when she uses channel wind, her clothing turns light blue and her movements are swift and airy. Many other possibilities exist. Upon attaining the power of the transcendent body, the pandaren transcendent finally learns to master the elemental spirits and energies under her control. Transcendents swear no loyalty other than to serve the pandaren and the spirits of their people.[39][40]

  • Spirit of wisdom: The spirit of the universe. Pandaren revere transcendents as embodiments of wisdom made flesh, residing in the shell of a pandaren host.[41]
  • Spirit of earth: The power of earth is that of resilience and malleability. A transcendent channels the spirit of earth to become an invulnerable juggernaut against all but the most potent weapons.[39]
  • Spirit of metal: The power of metal is also resilient and malleable like the spirit of earth. A brewmaster channels the spirit of metal to become invulnerable against most weapons.[38]
  • Spirit of fire: By summoning the spirit of fire to her breast, the pandaren is wreathed in flame.[38]
  • Spirit of thunder: By calling on the spirit of thunder the pandaren gains uncanny reflexes and can charge the air around her with voltaic energy.[38][40]
  • Spirit of water: The healing properties of water are well known to the pandaren, for this is the spirit of regeneration and well-being.[38][39]
  • Spirit of wind: Elevating her speed to an uncanny level, the pandaren wreathes herself in a vortex of living air.[38][40]

Quilboar culture

Quilboar thornweavers call upon vengeful spirits of nature, eschewing the peaceful spirits and the gentle side of the Earth Mother that most tauren revere.[42]

RPG notes

  • A shaman can learn to capture an elemental spirit within a weapon he wields. A shaman can imbue a weapon with either flames or frost.[43]
  • Like the shamans of the Horde, hunters call upon the spirits of the land, wind, and fire to aid them in their hunts and tasks.[44]
  • With an imperious blow of a tauren totem, one can command the spirits of air and earth to batter his opponents.[45]
  • A mighty blow to the ground from a tauren totem frightens the spirits of the earth, causing them to shake the ground in their haste to escape.[46]
  • Ancient tauren shaman learned the secret of channeling nature spirits into creatures to boost their abilities or grant them temporary physical changes.[47]
  • The tauren have tales of legendary kodo beasts, gifted by the spirits of the sky and bound to the power of the storm. These legendary beasts are known as lightning lizards or thunder lizards.[48]
  • Tauren claim the existence of salamanders is further proof of spirits of the elements on earth, representing the burning fury of fire.[48]
  • Storm spirits, elemental spirits found in the Elemental Plane, and Lightning Guardians can be summoned by shamans.[49]



  1. ^ Shaman
  2. ^ a b c Unbroken
  3. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 176
  4. ^ Chris Metzen on Twitter (2013-12-19) - "Hi. Could you clarify the difference between Elementals and elemental Spirits? Same thing or..?" - "when spirits attain raw physical form they become an elemental. They are the core of an elemental."
  5. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 28
  6. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 11
  7. ^ Blizzcon 2015 - WoW Lore Interview with Dave Kosak
  8. ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, chapter 21
  9. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 40
  10. ^ World of Warcraft 2022-04-19. Dragonflight: Weaving a Story. YouTube. Retrieved on 2022-04-19.
  11. ^ World of Warcraft: Dragonflight official site. Retrieved on 2022-04-19.
  12. ^ Dracthyr (Alliance) on the Official Website - "Surging with elemental magic and the life energies of Azeroth, the Dragon Isles are awakening once more [...]"
  13. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 13 - 20
  14. ^ Lord of the Clans, pg. 176
  15. ^ Lord of the Clans, pg. 177
  16. ^ Lord of the Clans, pg. 161
  17. ^ Lord of the Clans, pg. 182
  18. ^ Shaman, pg. 41
  19. ^ Lord of the Clans, pg. 178
  20. ^ a b Shaman, chapter 5, pg. 166
  21. ^ Micky Neilson on Twitter: "Life is what he senses on myriad other worlds. The unspeakable energy is what binds all worlds together."
  22. ^ War Crimes, chapter 3, pg.56
  23. ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 94
  24. ^ a b Dark Factions, pg. 148
  25. ^ a b Dark Factions, pg. 149
  26. ^ Dark Factions, pg. 165
  27. ^ a b Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 126
  28. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 91
  29. ^ a b c Horde Player's Guide, pg. 92
  30. ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 46
  31. ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 155
  32. ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 52
  33. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 35
  34. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 148
  35. ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 79
  36. ^ Dark Factions, pg. 16
  37. ^ Dark Factions, pg. 56
  38. ^ a b c d e f Dark Factions, pg. 57
  39. ^ a b c d Dark Factions, pg. 71
  40. ^ a b c d Dark Factions, pg. 72
  41. ^ a b Dark Factions, pg. 69
  42. ^ Dark Factions, pg. 35
  43. ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 72
  44. ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 82
  45. ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 115
  46. ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 112
  47. ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 98
  48. ^ a b Horde Player's Guide, pg. 219
  49. ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 315
  50. ^ Lord of the Clans, chapter 13
  51. ^ Whispers, pg. 15-16.
  52. ^ Bloodsworn, 23.
  53. ^ Micky Neilson on Twitter (2015-03-06). "Maybe fire and air together - just my opinion though, not official."
  54. ^ Patch 5.3 - Blood In The Snow Scenario
  55. ^ Actions at the Throne of the Elements
  56. ^ Warcraft: Orcs & Humans manual, Azeroth Army of the First War, Conjurer Spells
  57. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual#Archmage
  58. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, chapter 25
  59. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual#Revenants
  60. ^ The Druids Arise (WC3 NightElf)