The element of air is all around us, but many people don't feel connected with it (as compared to the other elements). I believe this is because air is invisible, unlike earth, fire, and water. We simply can't see it most of the time. On top of that, many people only think about the physical and personal aspects of the element of air, such as the winds that blow and the breaths we take.
There's a whole other world hidden in the air around us, which is known as the magical element of air. You could think of it as its own energetic realm, with spirits, energies, psychic messages, and connections to everything else in the world. It has the same corresponding traits as the physical and personal aspects of air, such as communication, change, beginnings, spirit, travel, expansion, and so on, but it's one step beyond. It exists solely in the energetic realms, which are far more nebulous.
We live in the magical realm of air everyday, breathing it in and passing through it. It saturates our mindsets and spirits, but like fish in water, we aren't conscious of it. Without training, it's easy to ignore the subtle energies that tell us that it's there, that it's powerful, and that it wants to interact with us.
I've developed a few ways to work with the magical element of air to help other people get in touch with it. These techniques involve envisioning or imagining you can see it, but don't be fooled into thinking that envisioning is mere fantasy. It's a useful tool that helps us strengthen our minds and our magical work, especially when first dealing with things that are invisible to us. With time and practice envisioning the magical element of air, you may begin to see it for yourself.
Envisioning the Magical Element of Air
The magical realm of air interacts with you and everything else on earth and in the heavens. Everything is connected via thought and energy. You have several nodes that link you to the people with whom you're closest, your altars, your home, your pets, your neighborhood, your co-workers, and beyond. Many people perceive these connections as white or silver strands. Imagine you can see connections coming off you and traveling outward in a radial flow. The strongest connections may look thicker than the other threads.
Next, think of someone you're close to, but with whom you don't live. There's a thread linking the two of you, and there are threads that link you and this person to other people, things, and places. This person also has strands that connect with other people with whom you're not connected. Now, add a couple more people to the vision. See your connections with them and all the threads they have. If you keep doing this, you can start to see a picture of a web, in which we are all connected.
The magical realm of air is an active place. Messages and information are constantly being sent and received at lightning-fast speeds all across the world. In a way, it's like wifi. Every time a thought enters our minds, we have the potential to emit a message along this network, and people who are sensitive to the magical element of air may receive our signals. However, it's important to note that we do have some control over what's sent and what's received. Protective measures can be implemented to not broadcast your thoughts to everyone and to not receive thoughts from others.
Envisioning the Magical Element of Air in Witchcraft
Athames can also be used to sever the threads that connect us with others. Although the strands may reform, they will not be as thick as they originally were.
Athames that are made of steel or another iron-rich metal also have the power to cut spirits, which is why they're used to banish them. If you use an athame to banish spirits, imagine your blade as a threatening weapon and in your mind's eye, see the offending spirit flee.
When you're raising energy for ritual or a spell, the air around you can often change. This is especially true if you're in a circle. The air can become thick, hot, dense, and even electric with magic. Try to see this change in the air—you may see wavy lines of heat or blurred, congealed shapes. You may even see a cone of power. If you use a wand to pick up the energy, envision the wand actually grasping onto the air for a moment before flicking it off at a higher energetic state. You may even be able to see the energy in the air around you as it rises higher and higher.
Wands also come in handy when you're releasing your magic into the world, as they can easily connect with the magical realm of air. When you're ready to project your magic outward, raise your wand. Allow your powerful will to shoot your intentions into the wand. In your mind's eye, see your wand either touch or zap one of the threads of the web of connections. See your intentions transfer to the air, travel along multiple strands at a lightning speed, and transmit your desires far and wide.
Try to envision the spirits in the air around you. Start by imagining your ancestors and beloved dead gazing lovingly at you. They may appear as congealed forms of air in human shapes. Next, imagine your guardian spirit as a peaceful, slightly larger entity nearby. After you've pictured that, look at the sky and try to see the spirits flying high in the air above you, perhaps on a mission somewhere.
The spirits in the magical realm of air have all kinds of forms, colors, shapes, and sizes. Some look almost human-like, and others look more like animals or a combination. Other spirits are nothing more than a shadow or a tiny point of light. When we astral project into the magical realm of air, we can see them and interact with them.
Spirits and thoughts can travel easily in the magical realm of air, and spirits are very sensitive to thoughts. They can hear the thoughts you transmit, and if their energy is similar, they may be attracted to you. Unless you have protective measures in place to keep away unwanted spirits, they can come to you as if called and mirror your energy back to you, sort of like an invisible correspondence or support system. You receive constant affirmation of whatever energy you project. This is one reason why it's important to keep your thoughts positive and supportive. It's also why it can be hard to break out of a rut or get into higher energetic modes.
If you haven't yet done so, learn how to protect yourself from spirits who may be malevolent or trickers. Learn how to banish spirits who aren't in your inner circle of ancestors, beloved dead, guardians, helpful spirits, and familiars. If you wish, you can also learn how to listen to those spirits and evaluate whether they're helpful or not before banishing them or allowing them to stay.
Negative spirits sometimes appear as shadowy figures that often prefer the corners of a room. These spirits should not be envisioned, as doing so can attract them. However, when negative thoughts and spirits arise, it's important to be conscious of them and face them, not ignore them. Often, these spirits act as sympathetic company to your shadow self, which ultimately wants you to face your issues and heal. The spirits that are attracted to negative thoughts can, in some ways, help you see the state you're in because they enhance that state. Negative thoughts happen to everyone from time to time, and they often contain valuable lessons about who you are, what you want, and what you need your boundaries to be. When you experience this, envision seeing your shadow self before you. Think of this part of your spirit as lovable, and perhaps as a protection mechanism you put in place to defer the conflict. I like to envision hugging my shadow self and merging with it. Once that happens, you'll start to heal and attract more beneficial spirits again.
Spirit work with the element of air includes automatic writing, divination, astral projection, communing with your beloved dead, receiving and relaying messages, protection, doing work for you in the world, creativity, and assisting you with your magic.
I hope these insights about the magical element of air have been helpful. Even though air is an elusive element for many people, it's definitely rewarding. My air magic practices have helped my practice evolve so much.
Astrea Taylor (Dayton, OH) is an author, witch, and fire dancer. She is also a blogger for Patheos Pagan and owns a business called The Blessed Be Box that sells a “ritual in a box” for the solstices, equinoxes, ...