Exploring the Elements, part 4: Air and Balancing the 4 Elements

This is the fourth and final post in my series on the four elements. Previous posts covered earth, water, and fire.

Photo by Rebecca Barray in WANA Commons

A single kingfisher’s feather floats to the ground. A hawk circles, its sharp eye searching the ground below for prey. The smoke of incense dances toward the sky. A foggy morning gives way to a summer day, complete with a clear, blue sky stretching on toward the heavens. Each day is framed by the splendors of sunrises and sunsets.

The element of air is linked to communication, intellection, new beginnings, and creativity. Air signs are often “ideas people,” fascinated by the future or possibilities. People who are strongly connected to the air element are often creative, practicing some form of art, whether their medium is cooking, writing, painting, or a musical instrument. Because air is associated with sound, communication is also a key component of this element. But because air is ever-shifting and constantly changing, it can also be associated with a lack of being grounded (“pie in the sky” thinking), daydreaming, or flightiness. Someone with too much of the air element in their life can seem disconnected from reality, full of ideas but lacking a practical plan to complete them.

What do you picture when you think of air? I imagine curtains wafting in a fresh spring breeze, clothing drying on the line, a bird soaring to impossible heights, and humans’ fascination with flight. Finding a bird’s feather, whether belonging to a turkey or a blue jay, can set our imagination going. In fact, I often use feathers to represent the air element when I do magic work.

Air brings in freshness to complement earth’s stability. It fuels fire’s passions. It rounds out water’s undercurrents of emotion with the ability to communicate and express those emotions. If you need “a breath of fresh air” in your life–whether it’s a relationship, a project, or your day-to-day comings and goings–consider bringing in air symbols to your surroundings. This can be a piece of jewelry (an air gemstone or a pendant featuring a bird, feather, or wings), a wall painted an air color, or an object associated with this element. Whether we need inspiration or are seeking to articulate an idea or vision, air allows us to accept change more readily and express ourselves more easily.

Balancing the 4 elements to bring harmony into our lives

Most importantly, the four elements are all about balance. When our lives have too much earth, stagnation takes root. We resist the change that is as natural to our lives as the cycle of seasons. Too much fire leads to aggression. Too much water makes us overly sensitive or emotional. Too much air brings us too many ideas and not enough follow-through–we’re all thought, but no action. Every room should have some representation of each element. If one element is lacking, imbalance and disharmony often follow. That’s why, on every magical altar, each element is represented and honored.

For example, as a Sagittarius, I have the passion of a fire sign. Because there’s a lot of air influence in this sign, I’m also very creative and intellectual. But sometimes I need more water to temper my pursuit of my goals with a sense of harmony and emotional balance; water can “cool off” the sense of urgency or impatience with which fire signs often grapple. The earth element is essential because it allows me to ground my air-and-fire-inspired goals with a practical plan and to nurture this body that I often take for granted.

What, if any, elements are lacking in your life? Which element do you need to draw in more?

Associations with the air element:

Photo accessed at stock.xchng

Cardinal direction: East
Season: Spring
Zodiac signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Colors: sky blue, violet, yellow
Gemstones: lapis lazuli, sapphire, topaz
Herbs and spices: lavender, marjoram, mint, parsley, sage
Plants: clover, elder, maple, pine
Fantasy creatures: angels, fairies, sylphs
Altar items: feathers, incense, wand

For more great information about the four elements, check out these wonderful sources:

“Celtic Magic” by D.J. Conway. Llewellyn Publications.
“Herb Magic for Beginners” by Ellen Dugan. Llewellyn Publications.
“Feng Shui Home” by Gill Hale, Stella Martin, and Josephine De Winter. Barnes & Noble Books.
“True Magick,” Amber K, Llewellyn Publications.

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