Of the Element of Air
The element of air has long been associated with the masculine gender, but it can be argued that air, being an ever-changing and adaptable element can be associated with either the masculine or the feminine gender. Some practitioners argue that air is masculine because it is associated with the yang in the yin-yang symbol: one equal to harmony. Since every element has a gender assigned to it, it is possible to argue that any element is adaptable to the opposing gender – all elements course through everything and are continually in the process of change.
The most logical associations or correspondences related to the element of air are found in the air we breathe, and therefore the sky and all that is within the atmosphere including the clouds. For that matter, creatures that are capable of flight are associated with the element of air – birds have a mastery over the air and therefore manipulate air energies.
Air energies are also associated with thought forms and the working of the human mind. Thoughts are believed to be carried by the element of air and it is via the air that thoughts are brought into manifestation. When someone speaks, their thoughts are, in a sense, materializing, and being brought forth into the world via the passage of air through the voice box. When writing down thoughts and ideas, the pen manifests the thoughts on paper, causing the thoughts to take on a physical attribute. The pen, much like a wand, is associated with the element of air. Some practitioners associate the use of the sword as a magickal tool that is associated with air, but many practitioners consider the fact that a sword is forged in fire and consider the tool as one that falls under the ruler ship of that element.
Telepathy, the act of sharing thoughts between people via communication of the mind, is a practice that falls under Air energies as well. Thus, the element of air is said to rule over various forms of communication including speech, writing, and unspoken communications that rely on extrasensory perception. The element of air is also the ruler of the intellect and the imagination. Air works in an invisible fashion, as does the mind – constantly at work in unseen ways, but the physical manifestations of both the Air and the mind are quite visible.
The human senses associated with the element of air include one's sense of smell and hearing. Expanding that idea to those senses classified as a sixth sense – the element of air would then become associated with clairaudience and clairolfactory.
Many clichés express the ruler ship of the element of Air – someone that is flighty is described as "air-headed”; someone that is not well grounded may be referred to as "someone with their head in the clouds." Air has been associated with the colors white and yellow in magickal practices and in some instances people associate the element of air with the color sky blue. The Element of Air also has astrological signs that fall under its ruler ship, including Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius.
In the Tarot Deck, Air is commonly associated with communication and all cards associated with Wands, a magickal tool of the air. Also in the Tarot deck, one will find a major connection between the element of Air and certain major Arcana cards. The Fool Card stands facing a cliff just about to step off into the unknown –thus he stands with the winds of change at his back, his journey as yet unseen. The Magician is also a tarot card associated with the element of air – the Magician holds up a wand and works with magickal energies to bring his desires into manifestation. The High Priestess is often considered a card associated with the air element because it signifies a need for self-reflection. Similarly, the Empress signifies a need for self-expression and can be considered a card that represents air qualities. The Aces in the Tarot can also reflect air qualities, as they frequently symbolize new beginnings and the Ace of Wands corresponds with the season of Spring.
Again, the issue of whether or not a sword is considered an air element arises when viewing the Tarot cards – some practitioners consider the sword as an air tool and therefore associate the suit of swords with the element of air. Meanwhile, many practitioners consider the suit of wands as the appropriate suit to associate with the element of air. Those who use the cards and associate the swords with air believe that all of the Knight cards are therefore associated with the air element. In contrast, those who utilize the Tarot and associate wands with air will also correspond to prince cards with the qualities of air.
In magickal practices air is associated with the cardinal direction of the East, also referred to as one of the four Airts. The Eastern direction is associated with all beginnings, and indeed the Air is an element that is perfect in representing all beginnings. While the sun comes up in the east beginning the dawning of each and every day, the air is something that human beings require in order to live. Symbolically, the air comes to represent the very gift of life and the first breath of each new day. Air also represents the season of spring – all things are reborn and renewed in the season of spring.
Spiritually, the Air is an element that is associated with the Maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess or the son aspect of the God. The Maiden is youthful; she represents the joys of discovery, the planting of new seeds, un-manifested desires, and the acquiring of knowledge that will later be applied with wisdom.
The magical elemental associated with the air is the sylph. Cornelius Agrippa argued that the element of Air was the element that kept all the other elements together, much like glue. Thus, in Renaissance magick rites, it is not uncommon to note that only three elements are called upon – the earth, the fire, and the water. It was believed that the powers of air would be summoned based on the invocation of the other three elements. Today, Akasha is considered the combination of all elements and therefore many rites include the invocation of the air element for clarity and balance.
Air is said to have qualities that are hot and moist, and is considered light and active. It can be argued that air can also have cool and dry qualities as well, although such qualities would not be as dry as those elements produced by the element of fire per se. Air is also associated with the ancient Sphinx and in terms of the Witches Pyramid the Air element corresponds directly with the concept of "to know."
Since Air rules all things of the mind, it also holds dominion over the subconscious, dreaming, and astral travel. The air is symbolically represented by an upright, equilateral triangle with a horizontal line running through the lower third portion of the triangle. The line creates a division between the upper half of the triangle and the lower half, thereby representing the sky and the earth, with the dominant portion of the triangle representing the quality of air.
Air is considered the breath of the spirit or the breath of the soul, it is what keeps the spirit connected to the physical plane for without air we no longer have a physical life. Air, because of its invisibility represents things that are not seen and it represents the mysteries of the world. Air is critical to all of the other elements – air feeds fire, is a transporter of vaporized water, and it is Air that makes it possible for life to thrive on the earth.
Summary of Air Associations [by no means all inclusive]
Mundane Senses: Hearing, Smelling
Mundane Manifestations: Speech and Writing
Sixth Senses: Clairaudience, Clairolfactory, and all other forms of Extrasensory Perception.
Practical applications: Aromatherapy
Air Colors: Yellow, White, and Sky Blue
Goddess Aspect: Maiden
God Aspect: Son
Goddesses: Athena Goddess of Wisdom, Aurora Goddess of the Dawn, Eos, and Changing Woman
Gods: Zeus God of the Sky, Mercury God of Communication, Hermes the God of Communication, and Thoth the Egyptian God of Writing
Cardinal Direction: East
Magickal Tools: Wand, feathers, bell, incense, censor
Instruments: woodwinds, bells
Zodiac Symbols: Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius.
Pyramid: To Know
Daytime: The Early Morning up until Noon
Stones: Alexandrite, Yellow Topaz, Yellow Fluorite, Clear Quartz, And Yellow Catseye
Air Flowers: Dandelions, Goldenrod, and Lily of the Valley
Aspect of the Pentacle: The second point on the left of the pentacle
Tarot: The Suit of Wands
Things that Fall Under the Rulership of Air:
- The Mind
- The Imagination
- The Intellect
- All forms of Communication
- To augment understanding
- To improve memorization
- To learn
- To Be Inspired
- To Bring About a New Beginning
- Some Healing Practices
- The Use of Magickal Runes
- All ESP
- Automatic Writing
- Channeling [not recommended]
- Astral Travel and OBE
- Spirit manifestation
- Electronic Voice Phenomena
Extremes in the Element of Air:
- Difficulty Communicating
- A Lack of Inspiration
- Aggressive expression
Lipp, Deborah. The Way of the Four, Llewellyn Publications. Woodbury:
The White Goddess: http://www.thewhitegoddess.co.uk/elements/air.html
Alchemy Works: http://www.alchemy-works.com/elements_air.html
The Element of Air: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art9669.asp
Article written by: Dayna Winters
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