East, Waxing Moon (First Quarter) G, Spring, March, April, May, Spring Equinox (Summer Finding), Beltane (May Day), Dawn (Sunrise), Wisdom, Dignity, Planting, Yellow, Incense, Hope, Wind, Breath
The atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention, and reducing temperature extremes between day and night. Nearly all Earth beings need air to live both animals and plants. Like Earth, the air is slowly filling with pollutes and toxins. But our spoken words are still carried on the winds.
Air is one of the four classical elements in ancient philosophy and science. Air is often seen as a universal power or pure substance. It's supposed fundamental importance to life can be seen in words such as aspire, inspire, perspire and spirit, all derived from the Latin spirare. Invisible, unpredictable, unreliable, playful, soothing, destructive, inspiring and life giving: the element of air or wind is all these things and much more.
Invisible, air can not be seen, but its influence can be clearly felt. Air in motion is wind, moving things across the land unseen but felt. One cannot see the wind, nor hold it in their hands, wind cannot be captured, and wind cannot be tamed. Instead what we can see is the ripple upon the waters, the fallen leaves dancing in a circle, dust swirling across the path, or see it invisible as it plays with a young girl’s hair. Air can also be motionless and when wind is absent air can no longer be as much as felt as detected. We breathe air even if it does not move as wind, and it surrounds us even still as an invisible force upon our lives. Contrary to the other elements that together form the basic elements of the world, wind is the one element that seems to be less physical than spiritual.
The connection between air and the soul is reflected in many languages and cultures. For example, in Greek tradition, who considered Aêr the first principle of everything, said that it is the stuff of breath and soul, and therefore the principle of life, sensation and reaction. Also, the Pythagorean identified the soul with warm (and therefore active, moving) air and said, "People and other animals live by breathing air, and this is for them both soul and intelligence."
What makes the soul enchanted is its very engagement with the world. Sufi tradition tells of the soul given an opportunity to dance in the human body and, liking it so much, it did not want to leave. This is exactly your sentiment with the world. Your soul is attracted to beauty, affection, connection, and celebration; it is severely wounded by rejection, alienation, violence, and ugliness.
Elemental air is also the playful wind. The summer breeze plays with foliage and makes each tree sing its own tune. It plays with my hair and strokes my cheek. It makes plastic bags dance in city streets. Air plays and dances with us. And it carries the scent of sunlight on young foliage, or of trees blossoming. And sometimes, around the Equinoxes especially, the wind can turn destructive. It sweeps clean the Earth, ready for the new season.
Doves and birds are connected to the element of wind. They represent peace, tranquility, and the calm that wind can bring. Willow boughs are also used as symbols of the air; their supple nature and slender, wind-blown leaves seem fitting to represent the gentle supple motion of the wind. Flutes and other wind music, with their high pitching notes that often sound like the whining of the wind in the branches of trees, is often used to depict the wind.
Air has a masculine energy, or yang. Gemini, Libra and Aquarius are all air signs in the zodiac. Incense is used both as a symbol of wind and a religious object. As a symbol of air, the perfumed smells of incense is often soothing reminding one of the genteel dreams given to us by the wind. Although the wind is invisible, and therefore colourless, white, yellow and silver are usually associated with the element of wind/air.
As soon as we call to mind the air element within the body — the air in our lungs and other body cavities, even the gases dissolved in our blood — we’re immediately aware of the breathing, aware that air is flowing rhythmically in and out of the body. So almost simultaneously we recall the air element outside of us — the air surrounding us and touching the skin in this very moment, the winds and clouds and breezes that we see and hear moving branches and grasses. In truth your life is a sacred gift of enchantment to this Earth. Having this direct sense of interconnectedness is enlivening and empowering, I’m no longer separate and small, but an intimate part of the vast cycle of the elements.
Leaves scurry up and down your clear highways
and thoughts with black feathers rise cawing,
a stream of thick smoke carries up.
Today I opened my mouth,
and out flew your song.
I learned to ride on the rafts of wind,
send my thoughts spiraling up to your place,
where every breath is a blessing,
every breeze is a song.
So may it be.