Air Fairies / Air ElementalsThis is a featured page

Sylphs are spirits of the air, and usually live high in the mountain peaks. Sometimes their voices are heard on the wind or their airy forms are felt in passing, though they are rarely seen. They are described as almost transparent, very small, and winged or alternatively as tall with long feathered wings, large, hawk-like eyes, and angular faces. The term sylph is derived from the Greek word silphe, which means a ‘butterfly’ or ‘moth’- indeed, fairies are popularly depicted with butterfly wings. The ancient Celts regarded butterflies as symbols of fairies or ancestral spirits [often considered as one and the same], and they appear in Celtic stories as guides to the Otherworld or Fairyland, where the dead also dwelt. Ariel is the king of air elementals, and controls all the powers of air. His winds circle the earth. Shakespeare mentioned him in The Tempest, saying that with his song, he could bind or loose the winds, enchant men or drive them mad. In popular lore Zephyrs are the guardians of the winds. Zephyr was the west wind in Greek myth, son of Aurora, goddess of dawn. He was the lover of Flora, goddess of flowers and together they cause the flowers to grow in spring.

Some fairies seem to represent spirits of weather, particularly whirlwinds, wind, storm, rain, lightning, sunshine and so on. The Wind Knots or Folletti of Italy ride storms, the Guriuz bring good weather to farmers, Munya is the lightning while her brothers are the two thunders, the Salvanelli raise storms to ride on the wind and the Swedish Skosrå is a violent whirlwind. The Innuits believed in an important air spirit, one of the three primary spirits along with the Moon and Sea. Known as Sila [‘Weather’ or ‘Intelligence’], the spirit lived far above the earth and controlled the weather, but punishes human misdeeds with sickness and bad weather.


THE POWERS OF AIR

Air spirits are concerned with the spiritual life, freedom, and purity. "Spirit" is derived from spiro, "I breathe". "Wind" and "breath" and "spirit" were believed by many peoples to be identical. In Egyptian mythology, the god Khnûmû, or Knef (the Kneph of the Greeks) was a wind god. Knef means "wind", "breath", and "spirit" or"the air of life". In Memphis, the chief god was Her-shef, who breathed from his nostrils the north wind, which gave life to every living being.

Breath is a divine gift, returned to the giver at death. The secret of breath is part of the magic of air. We take air into us which contains vital energy that some call prana and others chi. When we breathe in deeply we inhale this life force and rhythmic breathing exercises helps to attune you to the powers of air.

Inhaled air is the sustaining breath of life, while exhaled air carries the words, poetry, and song that communicate human ideas and knowledge. In many myths creation is brought to life when a god breathes into it. It was often thought that spirit could be blown into or out of people; demons were blown out of people.

The powers of air are also concerned with the intellect, the powers of the mind, knowledge [as opposed to wisdom], logic, inspiration, information, teaching, memory, thought and communication. Like the other elements, the powers of air can be constructive or destructive. The gentle breeze cools and brings the life giving rain, but it can become the destructive hurricane. It is for this reason that the magical symbol of air is a two-edged sword.
The voice of the air spirits is heard in the wind. There were many scared groves where the voices of spirits were heard in the wind whispering in the trees. The head of the alder was used as whistle so that the spirits might speak through it. The druids were attuned to interpreting these voices, and druid means ‘oak knowledge’.

People who have air dominant in their psychological make-up are flexible, versatile, dextrous, tasteful, idealistic, original, individual and tolerant. However, they can also be distant, self opinionated, easily bored, impatient, self-deceiving, superficial, indecisive, quarrelsome, manipulative, thoughtless, cruel, fickle, inconsistent, unreliable and two-faced



Air Fairies / Air Elementals - Mythical Creatures Guide
ARIEL

In occult lore the fairy Ariel is an air elemental. Shakespeare mentioned him in The Tempest, saying that with his song, he could bind or loose the winds, enchant men or drive them mad.
Elementals are spirits living in or composed entirely of one of the ancient elements of earth, air, fire, or water. The sixteenth century magician Paracelsus named the spirits of the air sylphs and added that they are kindly disposed towards humankind.Sylphs usually live high in the mountain peaks. Sometimes their voices are heard on the wind or their airy forms are felt in passing, though they are rarely seen. They are described as almost transparent, very small, and winged or alternatively as tall with long feathered wings, large, hawk-like eyes, and angular faces.
The term sylph is derived from the Greek word silphe, which means a ‘butterfly’ or ‘moth’- indeed, fairies are popularly depicted with butterfly wings. The ancient Celts regarded butterflies as symbols of fairies or ancestral spirits [often considered as one and the same], and they appear in Celtic stories as guides to the Otherworld or Fairyland, where the dead also dwelt.
Ariel is an air elemental, and controls all the powers of air. His winds circle the earth. Inhaled air is the sustaining breath of life; exhaled air carries the words, poetry, and song that communicate human ideas and knowledge. But words can wound as well as praise, condemn as well as exalt. The gentle summer breeze can become the destructive hurricane. It is for this reason that the magical symbol of air is a two-edged sword.

Air Fairies / Air Elementals - Mythical Creatures Guide
LIOSÁLFAR
or Ljósálfar or Light Elves
were created from the maggots that fell from the decaying body of the giant Ymir, in Norse myth, along with the Dark Elves or Dockalfar. They dwell in the air, in Alfheim [or Gimle] situated in the third heaven. They are ruled by the god Freyr and are happy and benign. They are "fairer to look upon than the sun", according to the 13th century CE Icelandic writer Snorri Sturluson. Their women were the most beautiful ever seen and the Old English word ælfsciene [‘elf shining’] denoted great beauty. While the light of the sun kills the dark elves, there is a connection between the sun and the light elves. They are described as 'whiter than the sun'. The sun goddess Sol was titled Alfrodull [‘Elf Beam’] or Glory of Elves.In contrast, the Döckálfar were blacker than pitch and lived underground. People made sacrifices to the elves at barrows and mounds. These consisted of offerings of milk and honey, while images of the elves were carved on doorposts for luck. It may be that white ladies are a later form of the Liosálfar. The name yields alve and thus possibly the Danish Ellefolk.

Air Fairies / Air Elementals - Mythical Creatures Guide
VILY
or Vile s. Vila or Veela [‘Whirlwind']

Slavonic female fairies frequently mentioned in the most ancient writings of the Russians, Southern and Western Slavs. The name is possibly of Indo-European origin and means 'whirlwind', because the fairies appear during storms. The Greek historian Procopius wrote that the ancient Slavs made sacrifices to spirits similar to the Greek nymphs. Indeed, until recently all sorts of ceremonies were performed in their honour with people going to the meadows, picking flowers bouquets and singing songs about the fairies. Each village had its protective Vila, who guarded its crops and fruit trees, protecting against the spirits of rival villages. During the summer hailstorms, they guarded the meadows and crops.

The Vily once lived in close contact with mankind during a golden age when peace and harmony reigned over all the earth. It was the fairies who taught humans how to plant crops, how to plough the earth, how to domesticate animals with kindness, and how to bury their dead. However, as the ages passed mankind forsook these gentle ways. The shepherds threw away their flutes, abandoned their songs, and took up whips and goads. People took to cursing, swearing and fighting with each other. Finally, when the first guns were heard and nations went to war with each other the Vily left their old haunts and went into foreign lands, which is why they are very rarely seen now. Moved by sadness for what humans have done to the Earth they weep and sing sad songs. They will only return when humans return to the old ways they taught and once again live in harmony with Nature.

The Vily usually appear as lovely young women, pale and dressed in white gowns or green leaves. They have very long, curly auburn hair and, like the biblical Samson, their strength depends on it. The Southern Slavonic vilys will die should they lose a single hair, or, according to the Slovenians, a Vila will show her true form to anyone who succeeds in cutting off her hair. The Hungarian vilys are darker in appearance, while the Southern Slavonic ones have iron teeth. They are light as birds and as slender as reeds, occasionally also having invisible wings so that they might fly through the air. Their eyes flash like lightening. Their voices are as lovely as a nightingale’s song and anyone who hears them will never forget. Indeed, a man may be so entranced by their singing that he will listen for many days and nights, forgetting to eat or drink. The fairies sing in a language all their own, and only those who have their friendship will understand it. They dance in circles and any hapless shepherd boy who enters the fairy ring is doomed to caper with them until he dies. Any man who once sees a Vila will be so fascinated with her beauty that he will pine away and die with longing. Those born on a Tuesday or Sunday are more likely to be able to see them. While Vily may help humans, or even take mortal men as husbands and lovers, they also may inflict misfortune on humans, wounding them with cruel elf bolts.


Some Vily live in the clouds with the eagles, where they spend their time singing and dancing. These are weather who cause storms and winds. Occasionally they fly to earth to foretell the future or cure human diseases, as all Vily can. Wherever they live, they protect the natural world, taking extreme measures to prevent men desecrating it. They shout to frighten intruders, and people who hear this call often die of fright.

They may kidnap human children and leave changelings in their place, which are marvellously precocious and knowledgeable. The human children they steal they care for well, feeding them on honey and teaching them all manner of marvellous things, such as healing with herbs and how to bring the dead back to life. They will be returned after three, seven, thirteen or twenty-one years as witches called vileniki or vilenaci, or 'blood sisters' of the Vily. If a human witch wants to claim this blood sistership with the Vily, she should go into the forest before sunrise on a full moon Sunday. She should then draw a circle around herself with a birch twig bought without bartering. In the middle of the circle, she should place three hairs from the mane, head and tail of a horse, some manure, a horse's hoof and flesh from under the hoof. Placing her right foot on the hoof she should yell into her folded hands "Hu! Hu! Hu! She then turns the hoof round three times saying, "Blood sister Vily! I look for you over nine fields, nine meadows, nine lakes, nine woods, nine mountains, nine rocky mountain peaks and nine decaying castles, because you want to come to me and be my blood sisters." The fairies will then appear and the witch declares "Blood sisters! Vily! I have found you and I am your beloved sister!" she then asks them to grant her desires and finishes by saying "What has belonged to me from the beginning of time must be mine. They will then grant her wishes.
They are also weather fairies, riding on the wind. The Serbo-Croatian term for the whirlwind means 'dance of the vile'. The summer cumulus clouds are the castles they build in the air. The vile are skilful physicians who will cure wounds for a high price, but if they are offended, they will poison the patient.

It is believed that if, in anger, a mother should consign her child to the devil, the Vile have a right to it. In Dalmatia, they are described as unbaptised, the accursed troop of Herodias, the witch queen. In Serbia they are called divna 'the divine', and it seems likely that they were originally Pagan deities, later associated with witch lore.


Air Fairies / Air Elementals - Mythical Creatures Guide
HYTER SPRITES
East Anglian shapeshifting fairies. They appear as various birds, including green-eyed sand martins and carrion birds. They usually try to avoid humans, but have been known to band together to mob individuals to scare them or admonish irresponsible parents who neglect their children. They sometimes return lost children.



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