This article is a copyrighted extract from the upcoming book, The Inner Alchemy of Witchcraft by Romany Rivers.

Country Diary : Crows fly through branches of a tree“Air is the invisible Element, all around us and within us, connecting every aspect of the universe. It is the space between the cells of our being, the breath we exchange with others and the words we use to share our ideas. Air is inspiration and communication, thought and dream, education and knowledge. It is the Element of mind – ours and the Divine. […]

The secret of Air is its limitless potential, its ability to free every thought, to carry every idea, to blow away the dust from our eyes and show us every inspiration of magic. Air is naturally without borders or boundaries, moving from me to you, from you to another with ease and freedom. The danger of this freedom is that bad news and harmful ideas will be just as airborne as beneficial ones. We can impact ourselves, our friends, our families and our communities just as quickly with harmful words and thoughts. A mind clouded with hatred is just as capable of harnessing the power of Air as a mind clear of cluttered thoughts. Therefore we must, as magical practitioners, be aware of what we think and say. We must also be aware of the thoughts and words of others that we take on as our internal monologue. […]

Air will feed a fire, or put it out.

The flickering flame within the darkness and the house burning to the ground, both are fed by air. Our intentions and our words are like the oxygen that fans the flames of passion or anger. Yet air also has the power to extinguish fire, and it is this contradiction of abilities that we often overlook. Just as we breathe onto a spark to bring it to life, so we can use our breath to blow out the candle flame. We can fan a little flame until it burns brightly in the darkness, using the power of Air to uplift the spirit, encourage passion and confidence, and to illuminate the dark times. We can feed a small fire, giving it the gust it needs to grow, jump, spread and cause further damage. We can inadvertently breathe new life into a dying fire, whether we mean to or not, or we can consciously choose to extinguish a flame before it rages beyond control. How we choose to use our intention and words during times of heightened emotions will determine whether we encourage the fire to rage, or whether we use our power to cease its path of potential destruction.

Those in a position of authority within the spiritual community, teachers, elders, leaders, or priests, will come across this teaching of air time and time again. With awareness we can clearly see how the power or air impacts the power of fire, how the words of someone perceived to be in a position of authority can fan the flames of passion, cut off the air supply that feeds dangerous fires of anger, breathe life into dying embers of old teachings, or fuels the little flames that light up the night. With power comes responsibility, but the power of air and the responsibility of use is not reserved to the leaders of our communities. The Element of Air resides within and around all of us, and we each have the power to choose how we use it. Be aware of how your words and intentions encourage or extinguish the flames around you. Be aware of what you fuel with your breath of being.”

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Romany Rivers is the author of Poison Pen Letters to Myself, The Woven Word: A Book of Invocations and Inspirations, and The Inner Alchemy of Witchcraft. Community books and Anthologies include Witchcraft Today 60 Years On, Naming The Goddess, Moon Poets and Pagan Planet.

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