I have never been a big fan of calling quarters, but recently I took on a student in real life, and I have some online students, so I decided to delve back into this "basic" topic and refresh myself.
So, what's the difference between the three?
First things First
So, we first need to figure out what exactly you'll be calling into your presence or Circle while you're working.
Elements- These are the things that you can see, feel, smell, etc. in your regular life: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. They offer the power of their element.
Elementals- These are the spirits or guardians of the four elements: Salamanders (Fire), Sylphs (Air), Undines (Water) and Gnomes (Earth) These are not from this world, they live in the spirit world. These spirits offer the power of their element as well as their additional power. They're not big bad asses, but they aren't mundane creatures, either. They can think, they may appear different to different people, and they are made up only of the element they represent.
Fairies- Ok, I don't know a lot about the different cultural myths involving fairies, and I don't work with them in magick, so I'll pass on explaining all of this. If you are interested in fairy work, I suggest that you do some research first. Fairies can be nasty little buggers.
Dragons- The information that you'll find about dragons will vary because of cultural differences. Basically, they are one of the big guns that you bring in ONLY when you REALLY need some tough extra help (like in an emergency). They are very old, and very powerful.
Ancestors- These are your actual flesh and blood ancestors, or those from your family's country of origin (such as Ireland, Scandinavia, Africa, Japan, etc.). They are old, they deserve respect, and they are also considered "big guns."
Angels- Ok, come on. Who doesn't know what an angel is?
Watchtowers- These are the seriously big, tough guys. They stand guard and can be very vicious.
Totems- These are animals that are associated with the different directions.
Deities- These are Gods and Goddesses that can be worked into quarter calls for each direction.
You summon things that aren't extremely powerful, or don't really need to think much. You have to be able to control them and their energy (not in a negative way, but you have to be able to tell them exactly where they need to be and what they need to be doing). You would summon Elements, Watchtowers and Elementals. Before you begin, you need to also know where you want to put whatever you are summoning (inside or outside your Circle) and what it/they will be doing (guarding, contributing, etc.). If you want protection for your Circle, they should be outside. If you want their help, they should be inside.
You gently stir things that are much older and more powerful than you, such as Dragons and ancestors. This means that you politely ask them to join you. Again, you need to know if they will be guarding or helping you.
You call deities and angelic beings. Again, this means that you politely ask them to join you for your ritual.
You need to remember what order you summoned, stirred or called because when you release, you need to release in reverse order (if you started with north and end with west, you would release beginning with west and ending with north).
Do NOT EVER summon or stir or call anything that you feel uncomfortable trying to control. You have to be able to tell these things where to be and what to do without fear.
And remember that this is a very basic explanation with very little info. I recommend looking up these things in books and online and cross referencing things before you try anything new.
You don't need to wake up a dragon because you stubbed a toe or failed a quiz. You don't have to summon, stir, or call anything if you don't want to.