If you are an early riser, you have to opportunity to watch the sun rise and feel the first stirrings of the wind. A gentle breeze might be blowing as you walk outside, stirring the strands of a wind chime, creating a light melody for your pleasure. And if you’re lucky, you’ll see a beautiful circular web, woven through the night by an orb spider. One of Arachne’s descendants has graced you with a gift of Air, a reminder of the element we cannot live without for very long at all.
Air is not only associated with wind but with smell and hearing. Did you know that certain smells can invoke your memories? Some argue that smell has the strongest association with memory of any of our senses. We associate the seasons, for example, with smell—Autumn and apples, Spring and new mown grass. A song can take us back to a particular event or place where we heard it.
Although we need all the elements for life, Air is the most precious to us. If we cough too long or choke, we know a sudden terror of being without Air. We can bundle up if we’re cold, go for a while without food, and last a few days without water. Most of us can barely go a minute without Air. A baby’s first breath is a miraculous event.
Invisible to us, we almost take Air for granted. Unless the wind is blowing hard, we barely notice it. Sometimes the quality of Air will call attention to it—a smoggy or foggy day will make us notice. But experience a sleepless night, and you’ll find yourself thinking about your breathing at some point. Once you start, it’s hard to stop thinking about it, and it results in your being even more wide awake. When you meditate, you might be aware of your breathing until you reach a deep state of relaxation. It’s easy to take breathing for granted; indeed, we must, or we’d never get anything done.
Air, like Fire, is a masculine element, represented by an equilateral triangle pointing up, with a line through it.
Air is the opposite of Earth, just as Fire is the opposite of Water. Air is associated with movement, intellect, learning, and communication. Because it is a masculine element, there are few goddesses directly associated with it. Aura is one in Greek and Roman mythology; she is joined by the Slavic goddess Dogoda, Japanese goddess Shinatobe, and the Mesopotamian goddess Ninlil.
The element of Air is associated with the east and sunrise. Its colors are yellow and white; when representing it in candle colors on an altar, yellow is preferred as white is generally used to represent Spirit. Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra are all Air signs. Most birds and flying insects are representatives of Air, as are spiders. Fantasy creatures of air include angels, sylphs, griffins, hippogriffs, the Sphinx, and Pegasus. Musical instruments representing Air are the flute, especially, and all other wind instruments.
Majickal tools for Air include feathers, wands, athames (also representing fire, depending on the user), and the censer or thurible, which is an elaborate device for burning incense. Other incense burners are as simple as something that holds a stick of incense and catches the ash, or a dish for cone incense. A recent arrival in stores is the backflow incense burner, which draws the smoke of incense downward on a sculpture so that it looks like water flowing.
Air is represented by clear and lightweight crystals and gems are best for Air, such as citrine or mica. Herbs and plants include dandelion, mint, nutmeg, and mistletoe. Flowers with a strong scent may also be used to represent Air. Majickal spells invoking Air might be used to help resolve a conflict, study for a test, prepare for an interview or other event requiring strong communication skills, make a decision, call/control/befriend wind, and travel safely.
Cottage witches like us at Awen’s Cauldron invoke Air throughout our homes. Wind chimes are found near doors and windows to create natural music in our spaces. Having chimes that are tuned to different scales makes the sound particularly interesting. In addition to wind chimes, simply having hanging items that move in the breeze like ornaments or dream catchers invoke Air. Open windows as often as possible to allow air to flow through your dwelling (although if you’re in our area you probably want them closed with the air conditioning blowing hard as temperatures are still in the triple digits most days). We don’t use censers to burn our incense, but instead use scented candles or flowers to create fragrance in our homes. Witches tend to gravitate toward learning, and you will find many books gracing shelves in our living spaces.
As conflict is a frequent visitor to most lives, we include this spell for resolving conflict. To prepare, you’ll need a yellow candle, a feather or hand-held fan (made of feathers is best) and sandalwood incense in the form of your choice. A general image of the Goddess can help focus your attention. If you have instrumental flute music, play that in the background. Light the candle and incense, focus your thoughts, wave your feather through the smoke of the incense, and say
Elements and Powers of the Air
Goddesses of the Air Aura, Dogoda, Shinatobe, Ninlil
Hear me now in this time of need
My speech has faltered, and my words have failed
One whom I care for is angry with me
[Or, I am angry with one whom I care for]
Grant me wisdom to understand what divides us
Give me intuition to see each side
Prepare my heart for resolution
Open my ears to hear what the other really says
And provide me with the words to speak my truth
Flow around us, Winds and goddesses of Air
Blow away that which no longer serves us
Blow into us that which creates new understanding
As I will it, so it is
Until the next time, blessed be!
Fractured Sky by Ruth Anna Abigail. Used with permission of the artist.