Exploring the Aether Realm When All is Shut Down
It doesn’t need repeating that the world is in the middle of a pandemic. And that people are wearing masks of variable effectiveness to protect themselves from all that shared air out there. And how, during this time, air seems more important than ever; with reports of how big-city smog has cleared up already due to the shutdown. So it seems like a good time to cultivate a connection to the air element, since it now has a front-and-center place in the news.
But how do we go about cultivating such connection these days? As a water baby and avid tree-hugger, I admit I was at a loss on how to reconnect to the element of air. I barely even paid attention to it, since I preferred to immerse myself in tangibly sensory water, or manhandle plants and trees and flowers (but never pick them) with my clumsy human hands. But then I decided to take a flight of fancy from my more get-it-all-down-on-paper approach and attach a quality—an elemental—to describe the place where the ideas for my stories and poems come from.
And so I imagined this swirling cloud of magical aether where ideas were floating around like sparkling, gossamer fairies. Talk about taking a walk on the wild side, or flight, actually, if I’m going to continue on with this metaphor. And it was a little scary. How was I going to find my way back? And did I even want to come back? I imagined myself breaking apart in a million little bits of iridescent specks. Like Scully in that one episode of X-Files, where she envisions she turns to dust, but I get to be an explosive glitter bomb instead. And I realized it was pretty fun to fly around, swooping and darting and sometimes at the mercy of the winds. I could be safe, and free, all at the same time. Like a bird, who could be both in complete control but also have to relinquish that control in order to take advantage of the updraft that would help it soar. Because air is all about duality. It’s sheer physics. It’s Schrodinger’s cat in the box. It’s knowing and knowing we don’t have to know, all in one. And that’s the secret in learning how to fly with the air elementals. Because there comes a time when you have to stop thinking and just take flight. Fly and not think and just operate on instinct and take things as they come instead of fighting against the wind. To just let go. Because air is chimerical and all we can do is just hang on for the ride.
So, this circles back around in the whirlwind of how to open one’s self to the air element. How does one handle air in a purposeful manner, without getting swept away? I think it can be achieved by utilizing a combination of earth and air elements. Furthermore, I believe that air represents diversity of life, and it teaches us to respect, and share our world with all life forms. And birds, in their multicoloured diversity, are the perfect manifestation of the air element. Even the songs of the birds as they flit around gathering food seem to embody air; after all, what is music but air captured by way of an instrument? So, let the spring breezes blow through you and transform you into a creature capable of flight. Air is release as well as movement, and birds as they begin to nest can help you figure out how to make a new start in your own life, especially if you are stuck in a rut (as we all are, right now) and can help transition as the world starts to open up again after the pandemic restrictions are lifted. We’ll have a chance to start anew, then, and not go back to the same old destructive practices that have created widespread damage to the natural ecosystem. We can use the air element to heal the planet, and heal ourselves in the process.
Here’s some ideas to help make tangible change in the world, moving forward:
- Create your own unique ritual to honor the air elementals. I picture air as not just white light, but as the rainbows that emerge when light passes through a prism. Hang prisms around your house to bring the air element indoors. Create your own dance routine to bring movement and energy into your house and into your body. Or just spin around to get the air moving around you, as fast, or as slow, as you feel comfortable with.
- Transform your backyard from a one-note turf lawn to a meadow-like garden that has a little something for every visitor; be it birds or flying insects and bugs. Avoid the use of leaf blowers, weed whackers, and pesticides in order to give nature the chance to tend to itself.
- Set up bird feeders, bird houses, and bird baths. Also, stock your bird feeders with the right kind of food for the season. Here in New Mexico, we’re lucky to have the knowledge of bird experts via a bird-supply store called Wild Birds Unlimited.
- Remind yourself what it was like to be a kid. Fly kites, get a hula hoop, lay under trees and dream, build forts, make up silly games or create treasure hunts, explore nature without an agenda or a timeline, ride bikes, have adventures (like hang-gliding), wish on dandelion seeds, and don’t forget to build wee houses for the fairy folk! (But maybe don’t jump off your roof thinking you can fly!)
- Find time to be creative. Paint, draw, dream, make something out of clay, take up glass-blowing, learn to play a musical instrument—anything that you can think of that connects you to the aether realm, to the unseen and intangible, and provides a way to give it form.
- Eat light-as-air foods: make your own tea sandwiches, popsicles, cotton candy. Drink lots of lemonade or mint juleps while rocking away on your porch.
- Take a leap of faith and join a snail mail pen pal group online. Pen actual snail mail missives, and let them wing their way through air to their recipient (well, through the postal service, anyway.). Or, write letters to your friends and family.
Happy Flights of Fancy!