Pagan Paths

It’s a common thing to hear that there’s a difference between our magical lives and our mundane lives. In reality, we have the ability to step into ritual and devotion each and every day.

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Ritual Elements Air - Re-enchanting The Air

I've recently finished co-teaching a six week class titled "Elements of Magic". It is one of the core pieces of magic taught in the Reclaiming Tradition. I use the term "core" rather than "beginning" or "basic" for specific reasons. You see, I hold that there's nothing particularly basic about this exploration and I find myself returning to it year after year as a teacher and, more importantly, as a student. It's the foundation of my personal practice, the actual ground on which I base my interactions within the temporal world.

So over the next few articles, I'm going to dive into, dig around under, imagine and re-imagine my relationships with these core forces that affect us all.

Re-enchanting The Air -

It's a blustery afternoon. I'm standing on the top of a cliff, just on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge, in San Francisco.The wind is whipping around me, blowing up dust and sending chills through my altogether way too flimsy t-shirt and shorts. I take off my shirt, it's not doing much anyway, and expose my bare skin to the air. I have two raven tattoos on my chest and it feels like I'm letting them out so that they can soar up into the sky.

Immediately I'm aware of several things all at once - There are two, very real, large ravens just beyond the ridge of the cliff. They are hovering in place, neither moving forward nor backwards. They are cawing loudly. There's an almost arctic bite to the wind up here and it's swirling around me, rather than blowing from just one direction. It's so strong that I'm finding it hard to keep my balance. I notice that I can't reel in my thoughts or my breath.

My breath. I'm gulping in the air. Through my mouth, through my nose, though my skin. I can't get enough of the stuff and as I'm struggling to take it all in, I find that I'm not really breathing. All this air and I'm not breathing. I concentrate on my next few inhales. Eventually I take in one long, deep breath. And at once, I can hear a single word, a single thought.



Fly. So I do. I stretch out my arms, expand my chest, tilt my head back and lift one leg up from the rock I'm perched on. I imagine myself with those two ravens, buoyed by the wind, unattached to the rock. It's exhilarating. The wind and I are now allies. Something in my awareness has changed. No longer cold, the air is crisp and full of scents from the nearby ocean and coyote bushes. No longer chaotically swirling, there's a discernible pattern of gusts and eddies and waves to ride on. No longer separate from me, I recognize just how much I resemble the wind, the air.

I am breath. I am chaotic. I am whispers on the wind. My thoughts can take flight. I can give my voice to these thoughts and in speaking them aloud, I begin to give them meaning and substance.

I am filled with half-remembered lines of poetry from the sixth century Welsh poet, Taliesin -

I have been a multitude of shapes,

Before I assumed a consistent form.

I have been a sword, narrow, variegated,

I have been a tear in the air,

I have been in the dullest of stars.

I have been a word among letters,

I have been a book in the origin. 

Llyfr Taliesin (Book of Taliesin)

These enchantments, which come from another age, reach out to me across the centuries and are made new and relevant again.

Before I fold up my wings and come back down to the earth, I shout "alright! I will follow you on this adventure". Two days later i was unexpectedly on a plane bound for New Zealand. I had barely caught my breath before that adventure began when a smaller, more subtle, quiet version of air became all too important to me; the final, laboured breaths of a beloved. 

When I returned home, my own breath was taken away again by the sight of my partner waiting for me at the airport - Air Port. I felt their breath in me as we kissed. I let air escape from me as sobs and gasps and laughter and stories and shouts and even snores, as I fell asleep nestled in our bed. As my partner held me close their long, calming, deep breaths reminded me that the story was not fully told and even if I didn't believe it in that moment, more breaths were coming.

So I spend time re-enchanting the air, making it something I am consciously aware of in each moment. It's not simply some distant element that I call into the ritual space and have no real connection to. Air is Breath. Air is Laughter. Air is Song. Air is Flight. Air is Hints of hidden wisdom. Air is Poetry. Air is Ideas. These are all Air in its magical, elemental form. This Air is part of me. I am part of the Air. This Air is  part of my daily life and part of my daily practice. Air. I honour you.

How do you practice with Air?



Note: That's not me in the picture. The photo was taken by DAVID W CERNY and depicts a Czech cliff diver. I found the picture here. The picture of the cliff-side with the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance was found here


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I've been a practicing witch and ritualist within the Reclaiming Tradition since 2003. I love being in service with this community of witches and world changers.   My own practice, my own way of changing the world is through devotional practice. It's my belief that we can re-enchant our lives by re-framing the so-called "mundane" as sacred and divine. By imbuing the familiar with a sense of wonder and infusing daily life with acts of magic, we choose to consciously make all of life devotion. Whether we engage in large, public rituals or sink sumptuously into the pure ecstasy of eating a delicious meal by ourselves or meditating at sunrise, our daily rituals can draw us back into harmony with the world and each other.  


  • Elizabeth Creely
    Elizabeth Creely Friday, 27 February 2015

    As for how I work with Air: every day I open both my doors and welcome it into my house. It usually rushes in, knocking posters off my fridge, ruffling the curtains. I love fills the space with movement and liveliness. It feels like a morning visit from a good friend.
    I work with air by visiting with it, I think.

  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven Friday, 27 February 2015

    Thank you for commenting Elizabeth. There are so many ways to work with air. I like what you say and it brings to mind the words "engagement" and "interaction" which, for me, are vital parts of any relationship.

  • Irisanya
    Irisanya Friday, 27 February 2015

    Beautiful. I find air in wind's shivers first thing in the morning. The deep breaths and the shallow breaths that punctuate my day. In the inspiration of silence and sound.

  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven Friday, 27 February 2015

    Thank you Irisanya. Shallow and deep breaths, indeed.

  • K. Armand
    K. Armand Tuesday, 03 March 2015

    This is SO beautiful and SO inspiring. Thank you for this.

  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven Tuesday, 03 March 2015

    Thank you K.

  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan Thursday, 05 March 2015

    YES! I love that place near the Golden Gate Bridge and I also think that there should be a picture of you falling through the sky. I'll go with you!

  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven Thursday, 05 March 2015

    I am happy to take you there. Let's go for a hike there one of these weekends!

  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan Thursday, 05 March 2015

    Yes! And then let's plan a time to jump out of an airplane. I love jumping out of airplanes!

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