There are five elements that can be manipulated with the One Power: Air, Earth, Fire, Water, and Spirit, each having its own influences and effects. Channelers are usually strong in one or two of the Powers and have less ability in others; some are strong in three or four of the powers, and very rarely all five.
Men are usually stronger with Earth and Fire, and women with Air and Water, while strength with Spirit is balanced equally among them.
Some tasks require the use of multiple powers; weather, for example, needs Water, Air, and Spirit. Simpler weaves such as throwing a fireball require only a single power, in this case Fire.
Of all of the powers, Spirit is the only one that can be channeled while sleeping, which is how channelers are able to ward their dreams. Channeling Spirit can also activate certain ter'angreal, called sleepweavers, which are used to enter Tel'aran'rhiod. However, Spirit is by far the least used by channelers otherwise, as Moiraine Damodred claims very few weaves besides Healing and working with weather require Spirit, let alone large amounts of it. Compulsion is another weave that uses Spirit.
Experiencing the Flows
Sensing the flows of the Power is, at best, described inaccurately to those who cannot channel. Even saying one can "feel" the flows is misleading, as it is not a physical feeling. However it is perceived, each of the Five Powers is distinct and distinguishable by channelers. It could be said that each element has a different flavor or character.
Channelers will describe the experience of "seeing" the flows visually, despite the non-visible nature of the flows. Seeing the flows take shape into weaves is how one learns and memorizes the techniques of manipulating the Power. The flows appear smooth and nearly transparent, faintly tinged with color according to which of the Five Powers is involved. Fire appears red, Water appears blue, Earth appears green, Air appears yellow, and Spirit appears white.
The strength of a flow is evident to a channeler by its size, be it a trickle of power or cable-thick strands. Again, this is a misleading way of describing it to non-channelers, as very thin strands can be quite fine and powerful while thicker ones less forceful. These flows appear to emanate from the body of the channeler, except to the channeler him or herself. To the person channeling, the flow appears to originate in close proximity.[verify]
The Ancient Greeks believed the world to be made up of Five Elements: Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Ether.
The Japanese have a Buddhist philosophy called 五大 (go dai, literally "five great"). These five are Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Void.
In Norse mythology Seidr was a type of magic which involved reweaving the world around the seidkona (witch). Seiðr is believed to come from Proto-Germanic *saiðaz, cognate with Lithuanian saitas, "sign, soothsaying" and Proto-Celtic *soito- "sorcery" (giving Welsh hud, Breton hud "magic"), all derived from Proto-Indo-European *soi-to- "string, rope", ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European root *seH2i- "to bind".