Ceremonial occult systems traditionally depend on systems of correspondences: collections of items that are all associated in some way with the desired goal. While the types of correspondences are nearly endless, associations between elements, seasons, time of day, elements, moon phases and directions have become fairly standardized in the West, and are frequently the basis for additional correspondences.
The Golden Dawn's Elemental/Directional CorrespondencesThe Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn codified some of these correspondences in the 19th century. Most notable here are the cardinal directions. The Golden Dawn originated in England, and the directional/elemental correspondences reflect a European perspective. To the south are the warmer climates, and thus is associated with fire. The Atlantic ocean lies to the west. The north is cold and formidable, a land of earth but sometimes not a lot else. Occultists practicing in America or elsewhere sometimes do not find these correspondences to work.
Daily, Monthly and Yearly CyclesCycles are important facets of many occult systems. Looking at daily, monthly and yearly natural cycles, we find periods of growth and dying, of fullness and barrenness.
Fire is the element of fullness and life, and it is closely associated with the Sun. Therefore, it's unsurprising that noon and summer would be associated with fire, and by that same logic, the full moon should also be in the same category.
Earth, in the opposite direction as fire, therefore corresponds with midnight, winter, and the new moon. While these things might represent barrenness, more often they are representative of potential and transformation, the point where the old gives way to the new, the empty fertility ready to feed new creations.
Air is the element of new beginnings, youth, increase and creativity. As such, it is associated with spring, the waxing moon, and sunrise. Things are growing warmer and brighter, while plants and animals give birth to a new generation.
Water is the element of emotion and wisdom, particularly the wisdom of age. It represents a time past the peak of livelihood, moving toward the end of the cycle.