I can’t say what is commonly accepted but in my personal practice, I do invoke the elements and it helps me to think of them as deities (kind of) in that they can understand my language and intentions. I feel awe and respect for the elements.
This is the same way I talk to God so I guess for me it really is like a higher power, or maybe it is all one and it is a dimension of Spirit. But I feel…connected!
And I really emphasize fire because I feel that is an area of weakness for me personally. I am trying to be brave, assertive and motivated (I have a lot of water in my sign). So I am always trying to add more “fire energy” to myself.
You know how you are sometimes drawn to someone, sometimes a romantic partner, because they have things about them you don’t have or are weak in, “opposites attract” kind of thing? I love water and I groove on it, but I am really drawn to fire. I do a lot of burning and cooking in my practice.
I speak to them in my spells, I talk about how I appreciate their power and I mention what is wonderful about them and I ask for help. This is exactly like the way I pray to God! So, in my opinion, the answer is yes. Elements are a higher power, at least for me, and so beloved by me in that respect. They represent my best self, treasured values, my connection to all aspects of the unverse, and what I aspire to become. Calling on the elements is one of the most meaningful parts of my practice.
For example, I say “Guardians of the South and Spirits of Fire, fire inside me and fire all around me: fire in electricity, my neural pathways, in lamplight and candlieght and fireplaces, in the magma beneath the earth crust and in volcanoes, bless me and this circle with your warmth, light and vitality…” etc.