June 08, 2021
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.
Painting by Tomasz Alen Kopera
The North Wind, by Adam Oehlers
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.
Alchemy Symbol of Air
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!
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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