Air Folklore and Legends

Close up of dandelion plant blowing in wind
Air is associated with the soul, communication, and powers of the mind. Andy Roberts / Getty Images

Each of the four cardinal elements - earth, air, fire and water - can be incorporated into magical practice and ritual. Depending on your needs and intent, you may find yourself drawn to one of these elements more so that the others.

Air is the element of the East, connected to the soul and the breath of life. If you’re doing a working related to communication, wisdom or the powers of the mind, Air is the element to focus on.

Air carries away your troubles, blows away strife, and carries positive thoughts to those who are far away. Air is associated with the colors yellow and white, and connects to the Tarot suit of Swords.

Let’s look at some of the many magical myths and legends surrounding air and the wind:

Air Spirits & Elemental Beings:

In many magical traditions, air is associated with various spirits and elemental beings. Entities known as sylphs are typically connected with the air and the wind - these winged creatures are often related to powers of wisdom and intuition. In some belief systems, angels and devas are associated with air. It should be noted that the term “deva” in New Age and metaphysical studies is not the same as the Buddhist class of beings known as devas.

The Magic of Air:

In Feng Shui, wind chimes are believed to bless your home with prosperity and happiness. Hang a set by your front door so that good energy will be brought in every time the wind blows.

As an interesting contrast, in parts of Appalachia, wind chimes are considered a bad idea, because they call up the spirits of the dead.

Sailors had a number of superstitions about wind and air. In some cultures it was said that if a ship was becalmed at sea, sticking a knife in the mainmast would draw the wind to the sails, as would throwing a ha’penny overboard.

Also, shooting stars meant the wind was about to pick up, and whistling aboard ship could call up an ill wind.

In parts of the British Isles, tradition says a howling dog indicates that the wind is coming to take away the spirits of the dead.

Deities Associated with Air and Wind:

In many cultures, wind and air are associated with powerful deities. This list is by no means all-inclusive, but be sure to read about some of the many gods and goddesses connected to the element of air.

  • Amun (Egyptian)
  • Hera (Greek)
  • Jupiter (Roman)
  • Njord (Norse)
  • Nut (Egyptian)
  • Quetzalcoatl (Aztec)
  • Taranis (Celtic)
  • Zeus (Greek)