One of my circle mates is just really bad with fire, she likes to stick to water or air, and even then the fire required for starting the incense for the air element was getting to be an issue. So we switched to using a bell for air, and that works really well and is actually more evocative to me. I still want the incense lit and on the altar, but it isn’t the tool for the air element anymore.
Air is also the wind, the four airts of the Irish lore, that represent the colors of the wind. Sound a little disney for ya right? Well its true the winds have colors for each direction. East is red, South is white, West is gray and North is Black.
The Airts Can Blaw
by Robert Burns
Of a’ the airts the wind can blaw,
I dearly like the west,
For there the bonie lassie lives,
The lassie I lo’e best:
There’s wild-woods grow, and rivers row,
And mony a hill between:
But day and night my fancys’ flight
Is ever wi’ my Jean.
I see her in the dewy flowers,
I see her sweet and fair:
I hear her in the tunefu’ birds,
I hear her charm the air:
There’s not a bonie flower that springs,
By fountain, shaw, or green;
There’s not a bonie bird that sings,
But minds me o’ my Jean.
Air carries thoughts, sounds, birds, weather, all around. It is something that is everywhere we look, but not something we can see, but we see through it. In pagan Ireland, there wasn’t a focus on the four elements associated with the four directions, but rather sky and time of day was associated with the directions, red for sunrise over the sea, white for the white noon day sky, grey for twilight and black for midnight. It really works, air is sky, all the way up to where the sky ends and space starts–and everything we see we see through air.