The Element of Air in Classical Philosophy
According to Plato, the element of air is associated with the octahedron and is both hot and wet or humid. Air heated, becomes fire, cooled, becomes water, cooled more, earth.
The words spirit, inspire, expire, and aspire, all derived from the Latin spirare (“to breathe”). Air is associated with all of these.
The element of air is one of the four (or five) elements of modern Western magical systems, the others being earth, fire, water and sometimes spirit.
The elements are usually invoked during ritual in order to balance the energy in the sacred space or the practitioner herself, but air may also be invoked independently to lend their energy to spellwork within its sphere of influence or to help the practitioner balance out an excess of earth energy. Air energy supports the generation of new ideas and gathering of information, encouraging cooperation, communication (especially verbal) and friendliness, contracts and agreements, stimulating mental capacity and strengthening the mind, travel and general luck. Keep in mind that the results of air spells tend to be short-lived and transient.
Air is sometimes evoked from the East in the form of spirit creatures associated with air, including Slyphs, Griffons, Djinns (more often Fire) or Sprites, or by calling upon divinities or other spirits associated with air, such as Aeolos, Amounet, Ba’al Haddad, Feng Po Po, Haya-Ji, Indrus, Jupiter, Marduk, Mercury, Nut, Njord, Perun, Shu, or Zephyrus. In traditions that incorporate Christian folklore, Raphael, the cherubum of Air may be called upon.
When creating sacred space or purifying areas, objects or individuals for ritual, air may be employed in the form of smoke or by fanning air over the thing to be purified with a feather or hand fan. A musical instrument, especially a flute or horn may also be used.
Air may be represented on an altar by a fan, feather, sword, arrow, incense, fragrant flowers, wand or a spindle. Colors used to represent air include bright pale colors and pastels, especially yellow and blue but also gray (or silver) and violet.
Air is associated with the respiratory organs and tissues, with breathing, speech, the mind, and imagination and with the sense of hearing and smell. It is also associated with with the arms, pelvis, calves and kidneys and circulatory system.
An imbalance of air within the body in excess is signified by frivolousness, boasting, absent-mindedness, excessive talkativeness, moodiness, gas, bloating and the inability to focus. Shortness of breath, mental blanks and a lack of understanding of simple concepts indicates a deficit imbalance.
Air carries the archetypal properties of spirit to the physical world. It is associated with the operation of Separation. The alchemical symbol for air is an upward-pointing triangle with a horizontal line bisecting it.
Air is associated with wind-swept plants with finely-veined leaves and a strong fragrance in the leaf or flower- especially those plants that grow quickly.
Clear and lightweight stones are often associated with the element of air.
In classical alchemy, air is represented by iron. Modern associations include tin and copper.
In Astrology the element of air indicates a strong emphasis on mental processes, intellectual pursuits, and communication.
Gemini, Libra and Aquarius are air signs.
Air is associated with the suit of swords, though some associate it rather with the suit of wands. It is also associated with The Fool.