My friend Pete Kowalzik of SacredSource.com suggested I create a series of plaques of the elements, and this was my response. Each is available from that website in a bronze finish. (Find me in the "Signature Artists" series.)
The four familiar elements of western classical philosophy, Earth, Water, Air, and Fire, parallel four states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma, and as such they still have some bearing in modern science. Since ancient times a fifth element has been theorized. Though it was described differently at different times, many philosophers saw it not as the fifth but as the first element, in that it was the source of all the others, a substance of finer stuff than we know on Earth, and which contains the conceptual templates for all forms of matter. One of its many names is Quintessence, which literally means "fifth element", the aspect of a thing that is "quintessential". In the center of this piece, the element Quintessence is depicted as the whirling origin of the other four.