The Book of Air covers chapters 18-21 of Full Contact Magick. “The element of Air represents the power of the mind, which, like the wind, is invisible yet powerful.”
Chapter 18: Will covers the last side of the Witch’s Pyramid. “To Will is to have unwavering purpose. Will is the channeling of your awareness to focus precisely on that which you want with burning intensity.”
The author starts the chapter with a description of Schrodinger’s Wave Equation, a principle of quantum physics that gives probabilities of an electron being in a place at any given time. Until the observation is made (i.e. the event happens) it’s just probability; but “when the measurement is made, the values of the attribute are certain and the equation with is probabilities is said to ‘collapse’ to an actual event with probability equal to 1.” (The author recommends The Way of the Explorer, by Edgar Mitchell, for further reading.)
This corresponds to the practice of magick by magick causing event probabilities to collapse to the desired outcome. The “trigger” to the collapse is Will; to focus your Will properly, you must have strong self-discipline, because that’s what allows you to persistently pursue your goals.
“Don’t let yourself be diverted or distracted from your purpose. Don’t exchange what you want most for what you want at that moment.”
This ties back to the Charge of the Goddess: “Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever towards it, let naught stop you or turn you aside.” To this purpose, you have to know what it is that you want. The author recommends starting a page in your Book of Shadows for “establishing precise objectives,” a wish list of all the things that you want. This list will form the basis of the goals that you decide on during Samhain and Yule (see prior post on the Book of Earth).
When setting goals, it’s important to not take on more than you can handle. “You have to review every aspect of your life and prioritize.” The author uses the story of filling a jar; to truly fill it, you have to put the ‘big rocks’ in first, then the gravel, then the sand, then the water, otherwise you’d never get it all in there.
The end bit of this chapter is on the importance of decisiveness. “You won’t ever accomplish anything if you can’t made a decision…. General George Patton once said that an average plan quickly and boldly executed was often better than a superior plan that had been planned at length.”
Chapter 19: Initiation and Dedication is really the only place in this book that the author discusses ritual in more than passing reference. The decision to take a new path deserves a rite of passage to mark the event. This is Initiation. Many Wiccan traditions have three degrees of initiation, though one doesn’t necessarily need an Initiation to progress.
- Commitment: one who has studied and decides to dedicate themselves to the Wiccan path.
- Sibling / Leader: having learned & matured, the Wiccan begins to assist others on the path, teaching.
- Crone / Elder: the Wiccan who advises less-senior Wiccans.
“Initiation isn’t just a membership ceremony. … It’s a rebirth, a beginning, entering a new phase, striking out on a new adventure, setting out on a new path, like the Fool in tarot’s Major Arcana. … It brings about a change of consciousness. The Initiation ceremony must be created to facilitate this change in consciousness.”
It is possible to throw your own initiation ceremony. It could be as simple as taking an oath. The author has included one he wrote, “The Warrior’s Admonition,” if you don’t feel up to writing your own.
The second half of this chapter is an example of Initiation in a group ritual, which was written by a friend of the author for her daughter’s coming of age. (Go read the book for the full description.)
Chapter 20: The Sword and the Athame talks about the Weapons of Air. The athame is a double-edged dagger (usually with fairly dull edges), with a blade 6″-8″ long and a handle made of some natural material. It’s believed that artificial materials are less conducive to the flow of chi. The sword should be similar, with a blade about the length of your forearm.
“Wiccans traditionally use Swords or Athames to cast a circle… As they walk the perimeter of the Circle, they are symbolically cutting themselves off from the mundane world.” Essentially, the Sword and Athame are just focusing tools, like the Wand and Staff / Spear; the same techniques apply.
Chapter 21: The Magick and Seasons of Air details various forms of the magick of sound energy.
“Since the one sure thing we can say about fundamental matter is that it is vibrating, and since all vibrations are theoretically sound, it is not unreasonable to suggest that the universe is music and should be perceived as such.” ~Joachim Ernst-Berendt
The first section is on mantras and toning, which is using your voice to create the vibrations. Any sound or combination of sounds could become a mantra. For example, the well-known “OM” is actually pronounced “AUM,” and the letters correspond to the trinity of deities as described below. By chanting AUM, you’re invoking this trinity.
- A = Agni (fire) -> Vishnu
- U = Varuna (water) -> Shiva
- M = Marut (air) -> Brahma
Mantras can also be single phrases (dharanis), and are sometimes called “satya-vacana, which refers to the solemn uttering of a great truth.” Different mantras have different effects; For example, AUM draws energy in, while MA sends energy out.
The author describes a relaxation technique called Bhramari breathing, which mimics snoring and rapidly slows your heartbeat and breathing. It’s useful to reduce stress and eliminate pain. “Frequencies between 20 to 50 Hz have been found to strengthen human bones and help them grow. This is the frequency range in which cats purr….”
The next section is on raising energy through drumming. “Anyone who has ever witnessed a performance by troupes of Japanese Taiko drummers cannot fail to have experienced the electrifying energy that they raise in each performance. These troupes don’t just drum, they live drumming.”
The author mentions the law of entrainment, which states that “if two rhythms are nearly the same, and their sources are in close proximity, they will nearly always synchronize or ‘entrain’ … because it takes less energy to synchronize than to pulse in opposition to one another.”
The percussion of drumming activates the root chakra, which facilitates energy flow rising up. Drumming is also an excellent stress relief and helps raise energy.
The following section is on cord magick, which is included here mostly because it uses the athame. “Cords are for binding, and the Weapons of Air are for separating things.” There are a number of different cord techniques described, including cutting them to cut the bonds holding you back and braiding to help focus on your magickal objective.
The last section is on the seasons of Air, which are for beginnings. It was a time the Warriors mobilized, so this is when we convert the plans made during the seasons of Earth into actions. Imbolc (Feb. 2) is a time of commitment, beginnings, and consecration. Your projects should begin to take shape, and now is the time to work magick for success. Ostara (spring equinox) is a fertile time of hard work, nurturing the seed of the idea and beginning to see its shape and direction.
Conclusion: The author’s decision to work backwards through the elements, to end the book at the place of beginnings, was to help banish negative influences and leave the freedom to take charge of your life.
- Know thyself.
- Nurture the ability to perceive the truth in all matters.
- You create your own reality.
- Develop a sense of Right Action.
- Do not be negligent, even in trifling matters.
- Your body is your temple — care for it!
- Minimal appearance, maximum content.
- Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye.
- Power with.
- Who dares wins.
- The Gods cannot help those who will not help themselves.
- Be creative!
- Do not engage in useless activity.
- To Know = Developing a complete understanding of the situation.
- To Keep Silent = Making your mind still, so that your awareness can encompass your situation and give you this understanding.
- To Dare = To make the decision to use your magickal power to take charge of your situation.
- To Imagine = To clearly visualize your magickal objective.
- To Will = To take the energy that you’ve raised and direct it unerringly at your goal.
“By this point you should have the beginnings of a Book of Shadows that is a true working journal. … It will not be like any other Book of Shadows in the universe… because you are unique in this universe, too.”
Magick is your birthright.