The universal elements are called Fire, Air, Water, and Earth because they are analogous in their properties to the elements fire, air, water, and earth in nature; they denote the four basic principles that were used in creation, which nourish and govern it in its evolution. They represent the four primordial aspects of God, known in Fon, under the name Yêhwé - Y - E - W - Hé (each component of the divine name corresponding to the name of an element).
The combination of these four basic aspects in a quadrupolar way gave birth to the 256 principles or "Dou" of grasping and interpreting the cosmos, in the system of knowledge known under the name: Fâ geomancy.
He is represented in the Fon tradition by the bird of prey, "honsou-honsou", a kind of hawk. This animal translates the dynamism, the expansion of energy forces in man and in the universe. He is revered in the worship of the God Zo. The principle of Fire expresses the omnipotence of the creator, that is to say the manifestation of creation, symbolized by the sound "or" that we find in the name Maou which means the verb creator.
Air mediates between Fire and Water and has cold and heat for properties in the universe and in man. It also represents joy, beauty and universal order. Its symbol is the rainbow and it is worshiped in Ayidohwêdo worship. This element is the emanation of life, of creation, resulting from the primordial abyss, from the primordial waters, which Ayidohwêdo dried up to bring out the first lands of creation, day and night, rhythm. The principle of Air is the expression of the omniscience of the creator. Its sign is the sound "a" of the name Maou.
Water is the opposite of Fire and has for principle in the universe and in man, contraction, magnetism and gravitation. This element is represented by the God Hou. He is also worshiped in the cult of Soun, God Moon. Its principle consists of Love, the source of intuitive knowledge and divine inspiration. This principle expresses the resorption of creation, it closes its cyclical evolution. Its sign is Maou's “m” sound.
The tradition also names the creator Maou. This Goddess thus merges with the creative word, with the verb realizer.
The three elements mentioned constitute the main elements. The fourth, Earth, is not generally considered to be fundamental, since it translates the reunion of the other three, it gives them a form in their interactivity, and thus ensures their cohesion. Its principle is consciousness: sum of the other three principles. It is called in fon "Ayi" from which derives the term "Ayinon" (master of the earth) carried by the kings of Abomey and Porto-Novo and is represented by Kpo, the panther. He is worshiped in the worship of the God Sakpata and Kpo.