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Engaging the Elements: Air

June 08, 2021 0 Comments

Engaging the Elements: Air

Engaging the Elements: AIR

Intellectual  / Communicative  / Logical  / Idealist  / Sociable

by Sara Timms / Painting by Freydoon Rassoulini


It’s completely invisible, but we would absolutely die without it! It’s easy to take air for granted, much like we take our own ability to think for granted. The mind is governed by the air element. As we grow up from babies into adults, breath and thoughts are just a regular part of our daily existence. Thoughts are invisible too, but they seem pretty real don’t they? In the Vedic tradition breath is called Prana, or The Essence of Life (source). Buddhism also places great value on breath as shown in the Sutra of Forty Two Sections when Budda asks his students how long life is. They may respond, “A few years” or, “A few days!” or, “Less than one day!”...etc. Finally, the Buddha said, “Life lasts for the duration of one breath.”(source) Returning to the West, we even find in the book of Genesis the beginning of life itself with this sacred air element, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (source)

Don’t leave yet! This is not a religious lesson, I promise! It’s more of a reality lesson, which what we magicians, witches, and mystical humans like to shift and play with. In order to do so effectively we need to understand what reality is made of. The religious examples of the importance of air have created the foundational conscious matrix of the Air Element, which has been passed down for thousands of years for us to work with and master. Mastering your own thoughts is one direct path towards mastery of the Air element. To be able to witness, and control or still your own thoughts is to purify your mind. We’re not talking purity as in clean vs. dirty; we’re talking purity as in filtered and refined. In tarot, the suite of Swords represents air, and like a blade, the purified mind is indeed a double edged sword capable of cutting through the jungle of obstacles any passionate life is bound to present, as well as piercing the tender heart of a friend or lover with indiscriminate words. 

So how do we use our mind, and our words as tools to better our lives? Well, we must breathe! For some this is as simple as remembering to take a deep breath when frustrated. For some we need to meditate to center and balance, or do breathwork, or talk it out. For some we need to hike to the top of the nearest mountain to learn the importance of the properties of air, and perhaps get closer to Source as our breath of life becomes thinner and more precious with altitude. 

Along the journey, something usually pushes us to purify our minds. When the mind becomes still, only then can one’s breath be perceived and experienced as the very essence of life itself. This is a key to unlock the element of Air as one of your creative building blocks in life. 

  Thomasz Alen Kopra

Painting by Tomasz Alen Kopera


Historical Lore

  • Egyptian God Amun was a creator God and also God of the wind.
    “Henri Frankfort suggested that Amun was originally a wind god and pointed out that the implicit connection between the winds and mysteriousness was paralleled in a passage from the Gospel of John: "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going." (source )
  • Mesopotamian Divine Couple Enlil and Ninlil ruled air, wind and breath. The etymology of Enlil may mean Lord of Wind, and also signify a phantom spirit, who’s presence is felt in the stirring of the wind. (source)
  • In Greek mythology Aether is considered to be “upper sky” and embodies the air the Gods breathe. 
  • Boreus is the Greek God of the North Wind, and bringer of winter. 
  • Bird spirits. All flying birds represent the air element. 
  • Etheric spirits such as angels, fairies, and even some dragons are associated with air and Aether. 
  • Elemental Air Spirits as called Sylphs. This term was coined by Paracelsus’ 16th century works describing the basic 4 elemental spirits. He describes them as invisible beings of the air (source). The mood and feel of sylphs is presented in the ballet Les Sylphies, where several graceful women who dance in moonlight with a poet. (source)
  • In Alexander Pope’s, The Rape of the Lock, vain women are said to turn into sylphs when they die. Although this is a creative and perhaps inaccurate interpretation, it did bring the term more prevalently into the literary sphere. The heroine in the poem, Belinda, is attended by a group of sylphs who foster her vanity and preserve her beauty. (source)
  • In Shakespeare’s, The Tempest, Prospero’s servant is called an Airy Spirit and share’s the same name as one of the sylphs in The Rape of the Lock. In this case Ariel was bound to Prospero The Magician who rescued him from being imprisoned in a tree by the witch Sycorax. (source)

    North Wind

    The North Wind, by Adam Oehlers


    Understanding and Using Air in Our Practice

    Like all of the basic four elements (earth, air, fire, water), air is an essential part of your life by nature- you use it all the time without being conscious of it. How often do you pay attention to your breath throughout the day? Did you know that your breath reveals the emotional state of your body? For example, when we are stressed our breath gets short and shallow, and our respiratory rate increases. When we cry we swallow air into our chest, and when we actively breathe long and slow into the belly we reduce anxiety, fear and anger (source). Start to be aware of your breath: what sorts of thoughts are you are having when it’s short or shallow, or long and calm? This leads you to greater awareness of how you are utilizing the air element for your own body, and what thought patterns needlessly bring you stress. 

    In the worlds of myth and lore you may want to connect to specific air spirits and guardians. If you’re drawn to anything that flies, i.e. angels, planes, helicopters, birds, dragons, etc, get to know that thing! It will teach and guide you deeper into your personal world of air. 

     air alchemy symbol

    Alchemy Symbol of Air


    Ritualistic Inspirations 

    General Disclaimer: Always proceed with great caution with the elements! To avoid mishaps, and creating elemental disasters, contain your magic within a protective circle of salt, or energetically sealed with an astral circle drawn with an athame. I recommend adding to your ritual “For the good of all and with harm to none”. Remember that life and magick are a creative process. The elements have general correspondences (example: fire=creative, water=emotion, earth=foundation, air=mental world) but will always be expressing themself through your body in different ways depending on your growth, and life circumstances. Utilize these changing tools!

    • Work with Angels. Even just get to know them with an angel dictionary. There are many books on Angelic and Enochian Magic
    • Start doing breathwork. Daily Pranayama and the various yogic breathing practices are immensely transformative and healing. 
    • Start meditating. This is a direct path to observing your thoughts, and eventually learning to harness them so your inner mindscape creates a vision of a world that’s beautiful and purposeful to you. 
    • Sing! You don’t have to be a singer to enjoy singing at all! Pick a song and belt it out, hum it to yourself, or write your own. Write a song for an angel, sylph, or air/wind spirit if you really want to get into the element. 
    • Choose an Air or Wind deity, light a white candle or a candle specifically meant to harness Air (like our Air Element Candle!) and open a meditation by inviting that deity in to communicate with you. That may happen through thoughts, images or feelings. 
    • Fly! Via plane, helicopter, hot air balloon, hang glider, etc.  
    • Study and learn the meanings of local birds. Pay attention to what birds stand out to you and look up their symbolism to find out what the message is for you. 
    • Learn about the Air Element in your Astrology chart. What planets do you have in Gemini, Aquarius, and Libra?

      Inviting thr spirit

    Painting by Iris Sulivan


     Need material inspiration to work with Air? Shop our favorites below!

    Air Element Candle for Libra, Gemini, and Aquarius, and for intellect, flexibility, and communication


    Palo Santo Flora Bundle with Amethyst Root- for connecting to spirit guides while staying grounded.


    Grab a Brass Charcoal Incense Burner to burn your favorite incenses, allowing your intentions, prayers, manifestations, and wishes to connect with higher realms.



    Can't find what you need? Shop all things in our Air collection!





    Read more on astrology, horoscopes, occultism, magick & ritual on our blog, Esoteric Insights!

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