In my experiences there are 5 elements. The stereotypical four, Fire, Wind, Earth, and Water, but then also Spirit energy (henceforth referred to as akasha because that's how I was introduced to the concept).
Each and every entity that dwells on this plane of existence (or any of the higher planes) has some sort of elemental affinity. It is most common for the four base elements, sometimes individuals even have a dual affinity. Affinities for 3+, opposite elements (Fire+Water/Earth+Wind), and affinities with Akasha are super rare.
The affinity affects the sorts of magic that individual can perform, and may or may not be influenced by personality (it's similar to zodiac stuff where it might affect your personality or it might be affected by your personality, there's no real way to test it though). Single affinity individuals are the ones that can become most powerful in that element. Dual affinity are slightly less powerful within each element they are associated with, but they can influence two elements. Often times dual affinities are necessary for more complex magic such as weather influencing (which I have personally witnessed, so while I understand that it's a big claim I wouldn't be making it if I hadn't seen multiple people on multiple occasions do it) or certain types of healing.
Individuals with an affinity for Akasha have mediocre skills in all of the elements. I myself have an affinity for Akasha, though not all of the headmates have that affinity. Maria is Fire, Lamentations is Earth, Kiki is probably Water, Lea is Fire...the only other that has the Akasha affinity is Jen, the person that drove this body (aka me until I had my own awakening) until the rest of the crew woke up. Which makes sense, since of course I would be most influenced by the person who was intertwined with myself for over a decade.
These things are all separate from actual Elementals. While all beings have an elemental affinity, very few are the actual embodiments of the element at hand. I've interacted with wind and earth elementals primarily, as they're about the only ones that'll talk to me in any fashion (I'm still not totally sure if they're actually talking to me or if I'm just assuming what they are saying or if they're "talking" to me through impressions and I'm putting words to it....but I am certain they're real). Wind, Earth, Fire, and Water elementals are all the magical embodiment of their physical forms. Wind elementals, for example, are the embodiment of the kinetic energy that moves the air around...though perhaps a better name for them would be Air elementals since they are also the atmosphere itself. Earth elementals are the embodiment of a physical space of "untainted" land, though what they consider untainted is likely much different from what we consider untainted. I knew one that had a mass of space and he would travel throughout it, ended up getting cut off in a small lot when the town put a road through his territory.
Fire and water elementals don't really talk to me, and I'm not good with manipulating those elements anyway. And I've never really encountered an akasha elemental though logically they would exist.
Elementals that are now in a human body (elementalkin) might be able to take shape depending on what form their "soul" likes? Like, Maria and Elizabeth take the form of a rat and a field mouse yet they're not rodent therians, they've always been human. So while an elementalkin might be a fire elemental and have the kin form of a flaming salamander that might just be the form that their soul takes on like...the astral plane? I'm not sure. I do believe strongly that while there is often a strong correlation between soulshape and a kin's true form, that can't always be the case otherwise Maria and Elizabeth wouldn't have their rodent forms.
Something I can do, however, is take the unformed akasha energy and make small elementals that can perform whatever task I ask of them. Of course metaphysical tasks are much easier to them (such as the snakelike elemental that I formed a few days ago that basically would just lay next to me pressed up against my back as I tried to fall asleep to help me relax and sleep since I've been having difficulties with sleep) but I suppose if the elemental was powerful enough it could do physical tasks. I have no idea as the stronger elementals take much more energy to form and I just straight up am not that skilled/powerful.
I have tested their existence with a friend and she "felt" a small ferret-like one that I had created when it scampered onto her hand. I tested it by telling her to describe what she felt as I watched the elemental.
Of course this is all based on my personal experiences! YMMV! Feel free to discuss some of the specifics in the comments (if that's a thing we can do?), as I am likely very biased towards the one perception that I was taught by an ex-bf.
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