Wednesday, 31 December 2008


Today I have decided to look at the element of Air. Air is associated with Spring, the East, the Masculine, Venus, Yellow and sometimes pale Green or Blue and the wand. It is represented by birds, insects ans all other flying animals. The Astrological signs of Libra, Gemini and Aquarius are also air symbols.

Yesterday stood on top of that hill as the sun set, the presence of air was very apparent. The wind was blowing hard and the clouds were being blown across the sky at high speed and it wasn't an evening for kite flying! Thing is air is so present that we tend to take it for granted and the fact that we can not see it just adds to this. Without it there would be a vacuum, as on the surface of the moon, and anything soft and tender like us would explode outwards...

The weight of the air above us keeps us contained. It causes pressure and combined with the rotation of the earth and movement due to hot and cold air rising or falling, we have weather. Add in water as well and there is a whole lot of possibilities. As hot air rises an area of low pressure is created underneath and air from all around is sucked in. The rising air carries moisture upwards and so lows or depressions tend to be overcast. When there is falling cold air, high pressure is created and winds flow outwards. In Summer, a high creates hot and dry weather but in Winter it creates clear, cold weather.

Air is the most mobile of all the elements, it flows in all directs, depending on pressure. It infiltrates deep underground as pockets of gases and in mines. In between particles of soil, if there is no water, then there is air. Gases dissolve in water and bubble up from deep sea vents. It is everywhere, except space.

In covering the earth, the air forms an atmosphere and acts to contain everything. It protects us from radiation and space debris and keeps in warmth. Things falling to earth through the atmosphere experience a lot of friction and most burn up harmlessly as shooting stars. Without the atmosphere we would be as cold as space, except when the full fury of the light of the sun was on us, and then we would burn. Air balances out the effects of the sun and protects us from it's deadly wind, with the help of the earths magneic field.

Life needs air. We breathe taking in Oxygen and breathing out Carbon dioxide. Plants take the carbon dioxide and respire to turn it back into Oxygen. It is very literally the breath of life. Pure oxygen is however very, very dangerous, deadly and flammable.

Air is used to help many things leave earth. Uplift is caused by differing pressure on either side of a wing resulting in a lower pressure drawing the wings upward. It isn't just birds and insects that use this but we use it to. We have a huge array of flying machines including planes, helicopters, air ships and balloons. Some things also use air to slow falling and use rising hot air to gain height such as gliders. Parachutes use the friction of air to slow falling. Seeds use the same techniques so they can fall to the ground without breaking and spread over a distance.

Smells carry on the air. Smell is important for identifying and tracking. Pheromones are used by us and some animals to attract mates. Smell is very important for communication, more so for many other species than for us. It is also important to taste and helps us taste foods more, try holding your nose as you eat to see (my favourite trick while eating veg as a kid).

We of course are managing to misuse air but there have been considerable improvements in pollution. CFC's are banned and the ozone holes are no longer growing. Lead has been banned in petrol and delicate organisms such as lichens have been returning to places that were too polluted before. Sulphur is no longer released into the air in such quantities by industry and acid rain has been greatly reduced. One thing about air pollution is that pollutants become concentrated at the poles.

The air personality is flexible and because it gets everywhere it is very open minded and inquisitive. Air is not emotional, it moves according to logic and can lead to an intellectual and analytical personality. Although it is unemotional it is not uncaring and is helpful. Not surprisingly they are sociable and like to communicate. Of course air personalities are near perfect (*laugh* any guesses what I am?) but they have a dark side too.... The constant need for change can be wearing on those around and the lack of emotion coupled with analytical ability can come across as cold.

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