I am a child of the Earth.
I live and breathe, walk and dance upon Her face.
She is my source and I learn from Her each day. This I know…
Life begins in the dark as Desire.
Deep in that dark place life begins to form, taking root and becoming…..
As life stirs…… deep in the Mother’s Belly,
there is a gentle quickening, movement
that alerts us to a “knowing”
of the presence of something yet to come.
As the Earth prepares Herself with warmth,
the rains and waters come to flood the land,
nourishing the soil in which She is creating new life.
Earth and Water and Fire
come together and Form continues to take shape.
One last thing is needed.
Just as new form emerges,
She breathes Air upon it.
Her Breath, giving Life to all.
In previous posts I have focused on the Earth as the Body of Goddess and well as Her Sacred Waters. Now I would love to play with Air. We cannot live without air. Without air, our breath, we can die in as little as four minutes. We take air into our lungs and it replenishes our body with the oxygen it brings to us. When we exhale, we release what oxygen we did not use, as well as carbon dioxide. The beautiful symbiosis with this is that our plant kindred produce oxygen for us as we release carbon dioxide for them. Air is our “shared breath.”
In our speech, we use many idioms such as: you take my breath away, like a breath of fresh air, with bated breath, don’t hold your breath, and I don’t have time to breathe.
For air itself, some well-known ones are: a breath of fresh air, have your nose in the air, build castles in the air, air your dirty linen in public, put on airs, clear the air, vanish into thin air, float on air and full of hot air. Of course there are many more.
As an element, air has many magical associations. Some are imagination, clearing, dawn, and birds of prey. In the tarot, we associate air with both the sword and the wand, depending on which traditions we follow. Some of the colors connected to air are yellow, purple, white and lilac. These are all colors that help us to feel “light as air.”
And the hopeless romantic that I am – I am swept away when I hear the words in the song, “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias:
And I will stand by you, forever
You can take my breath away
You can take my breath away …
When we think of air we also think of wind. Wind comes to us from all directions. It can be warm, cold, wet and gusty. It carries pollen from plant to plant. We might have the pleasure (or dismay) of a gusty wind lifting a skirt. Our feathered friends fly on the drafts and currents of the wind. How many have played as children, running with a kite until the wind catches it and lifts it into the sky?
Some well-known idioms for wind are written on the wind, three sheets in the wind, scattered to the four winds, throw caution to the wind, spitting in the wind, or pissing in the wind.
Our ability to taste our food is primarily a function of our sense of smell. Air carries smells to us.
In his Book of Secrets, Rajneesh/Osho writes, ”If you can do something with breath, you will attain the source of life. If you can do something with breath, you can transcend time and space. If you can do something with breath, you will be in the world and also beyond it.”
Many spiritual traditions include spiritual breathing into their practices. It is a great way to clear your head and calm yourself when stressed. You can become centered, clear and uplifted.
Working with the breath helps open us to a more spirit centered life. It opens us to sacred play. We can transform our breath into prayers. Breathing is the language of the soul.
I like to associate voice with air. Voice when lifted in song expresses deep emotions through the words of the song as well as in the tune. These tones arise from deep in the belly. They are formed through the vocal cords and finally shaped by the tongue, lips and teeth. These tones release both joy and anguish.
Our spoken voice is the vehicle through which we communicate intelligent sound with others. They tell our thoughts, express our needs and help us make connections as we travel through life. The voice is used to defend our position, to stand up for what is right and for what we perceive of as wrong. Our voice, as women, is often suppressed and lost to “power over” control of others. Let us call upon Air to heal this and to open us to reclaiming the power of voice.
We have many arguments today as to when life begins. The ancients believed that without breath there was no life. There were times when a woman would become pregnant and the delivery of her child would occur when food was scarce. Rather than deprive any already living soul, those assisting in the delivery, or the mother herself, would not allow the infant to breathe and therefore, it was never alive.
It is the same with our own creations. We first think them into being. Then we give them form and finally we must breathe into them, infuse them with life so they are manifested into reality.
In Celtic mythology we read:
Nine Maidens, laughing and singing;
Then veiled in the mist, silent as stone.
Changers and Life Makers, Breath of change, Life Breathing all.
In the shifting realm between the worlds, these nine maidens revealed the beckoning cauldron of unknown potential through which life is taken and out of which life is born.
The wind blows away dead leaves that cover the earth, exposing the soil to the new light. We link our concept of Spirit as a metaphor with the breath, breath hovers over the waters.
The wind is seen as a great power behind the natural world and becomes that power’s creative spirit. A strong gust of wind suggests an infusion of creative potential.
The Tuatha De Danann, the Old Gods of the Celtic people, suddenly appeared in Ireland out of the air, on wind-borne clouds.
What this all means to us, is that we must open ourselves to this gift of the life giving breath. Let us breathe in creative potential. Let us breathe in sacred inspiration. Let us breathe in the breath that we all share. The breath that we have shared since the beginning of time is the sacred life giving source of life – Air.
Deanne Quarrie is a Priestess of the Goddess, and author of five books. She is an Adjunct Professor at Ocean Seminary College, teaching classes on the Ogham, Ritual Creation, Ethics for Neopagan Clergy, Exploring Sensory Awareness, Energetic Boundaries, and many other classes on the use of magic. She is the founder of Global Goddess, a worldwide organization open to all women who honor some form of the divine feminine, as well as The Apple Branch – A Dianic Tradition where she mentors women who wish to serve as priestesses.