THE ELEMENT OF WIND/AIR

APPEARANCE - PHYSICAL WIND -
SPIRITUAL WIND - SYMBOLS
RELIGIOUS MEANINGS OF WIND - MYTH - LORE

Air or Wind (as it is often referred to especially by the elves), together with Earth, Water and Fire, is one of the four known basic elements, which represent the substance of the world - at least this is the common belief among many races and tribes throughout Caelereth. Invisible, unpredictable, unreliable, playful, soothing, destructive, inspiring and life giving: The Element of Air or Wind is all these things and much more. It is the representation of all that we cannot see: our souls, our spirits, our minds, and our hearts - of that what lies beneath or beyond as some scholars say. Purity of the spirit and the heart, clarity of thought within the mind, focus of intent, unhindered sight, are all under the control of the clear soaring unfettered Element of Air. Yet the Air is not always calm. Unpredictable and changing the Element of Wind can easily be a roaring hurricane as it can be a playful breeze. To quote an elven saying, "Who can tell the mind of the Wind? Who can catch it and hold in their hand? Who can tell where the Wind has been blowing? And who among the wise can foretell where it will go?"

Wind in form of a roaring hurricane

View picture in full size Picture description. The Element of Wind in form of a roaring hurricane. Image by Faugar.

Appearance. Invisible, Air can not be seen, but its influence can be clearly felt. Air in motion is Wind, moving things across the land unseen but felt. One cannot see the Wind, nor hold it in their hands, Wind cannot be captured, and Wind cannot be tamed. Instead what we can see is the ripple upon the waters, the fallen leaves dancing in a circle, dust swirling across the path, or see it invisible as it plays with a young girl’s hair. Air can also be motionless and when Wind is absent Air can no longer be as much as felt as detected. We breathe Air even if it does not move as Wind, and it surrounds us even still as an invisible force upon our lives. Contrary to the other elements that together form the basic elements of the world, Wind is the one element that seems to be less physical than spiritual. A fact, which the elves see as proof that the physical world sprang from its windy spiritual source, and that this element's manifestation resulted in the genesis of the other ones. Thus, the elves conclude, the term "Air" is incorrect when referring to this element, as it doesn't represent the element's original state, only its realization as matter. Return to the top

Physical Wind. Humans often speak of "Air" when referring to this element, contrary to the elven preference, which is closely related to their mythological roots, where Wind represents the spirit and thus dominates all other elements. Therefore it shouldn't surprise to see exactly the reverse approach by human scholars compared to the elven view when looking at this element, as here Air precedes Wind in deduction and interpretation. Let's hear a definition by the Erpheronian philosopher Myrkorel Whitebeard:

"Physical Air is mostly represented as Wind, or Air in motion. Wind cannot be seen, although it can be felt. Wind cannot be held, captured, or tamed. The invisible mover of things we can clearly see, the Wind influences the weather, the seasons, and therefore in a sense the essence of time itself. Wind can be destructive as easily as it can be soothing. Wind can as soon be a howling tornado as it can be a gentle breeze that plays among the flowers. Because we can see Wind in the things it moves, be it leaves or hair, we often associate the Element of Air with the Wind. Yet air also has the capability of being still. Still Air is the invisible provider of life to our lungs. It should be noted that motionless Air can be the provider of gentle breath to our lungs but it can also stifle just as easy. Air can be oppressive, hot, and stifling just as easily as it can be cool and calming. In this way, Air is influenced by Fire and Water for by Fire or Water can hair be heated or cooled."

Wind also has the ability to affect the other elements, if subtly. Wind, given time, can wear away earth, even the tallest mountain. Wind can spread fire, or whip it so that it blows the fire out just as a single breath can blow out a candle. It is a thought by the elves that the Wind takes water back (as the elves believe that Water originated from Wind) to carry it away if the fire gets too dominant.
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Spiritual Wind. There are three main views concerning the spiritual nature of Wind and indeed the nature of Wind in general. These views, although sometimes parallel are greatly different from one another. There exists an elven view, the common human view, and the finally the Ximaxian view, propagated by the mages of the great Magical Academy of Santharia.

Of the three, the elven view has been most influential concerning the more popular views of Wind, yet despite this more common human view of the nature of Wind maintains popularity among the common classes. The Ximaxian view in contrast is a view held by most mages and is met with controversy by all. The Ximaxian view and the elven view, the two more educated views of the nature of Wind, are constantly in debate and often the two parties have gathered just to debate what exactly is the true nature of Wind.

The Wind Elemental

View picture in full size Picture description. An angry Air Elemental as generated by a wind mage. Image drawn by Quellion.

In order to maintain an impartial view, all three main views of the spiritual nature of Wind have been included here. It is interesting to note how both the Ximaxian and elven views influence the more prevalant human view of the Element of Wind.

A common belief in all these views is that the Elements of Earth and Wind also have always been viewed as cosmological antagonists of one another causing the elements of Air and Wind to often fight one another throughout history. Perhaps this is why the race of elves (the "Children of Wind") and the race of dwarves (the "Children of Earth") have never been friends. Return to the top

Symbols of Wind. Doves, through Eyasha, are connected to the Element of Wind. They represent peace, tranquility, and the calm that Wind can bring. Willow boughs are also used as symbols of the Air; their supple nature and slender, wind-blown leaves seem fitting to represent the gentle supple motion of the Wind. It is interesting to note that Willow is believed to have healing properties as well, thus the willow also stands for the healing aspect of Wind.

The healing aspect of the Wind is also often symbolized by the aroma of healing plants, and sometimes rarely the plants themselves. The aroma or smell of a crushed herbal, cooking, or healing herb is seen as the aura, essential being, or sometimes depending on the philosopher, the 'soul of the plant' itself. "If plants have a soul, it was given to them by the Wind." (Cy’yni’is Eaglefriend Yourth, Eyelian philosopher).

The typical plants to represent this aspect of the Wind are the yahrle and the arv. Both are healing herbs, and yet both seem particularly odd choices, with yahrle, while being used for healing and dispelling melancholy, is linked to Coór and arv is a particularly hazardous herb, which, if not used very carefully, results in addiction and death. Perhaps this is to illustrate that while Wind may heal the body and soul it can also destroy or confuse them just as easily.

Crystal, with its pure uncoloured clarity, is often used to show the Wind's influence upon the mind and soul, as Wind often is thought to bring clarity of thought and a pureness of the spirit. The endurance, pity, and patience of the element of Wind is often depicted as a horse, most often a winged one. Flying creatures, particularly eagles, are generally held as creatures of the Air, and are thus often used as a symbol of this element. High flying birds, such as eagles, also represent the loftiness, the transcendency, and the high achievement that can be reached within the Element of Wind.

An Ylfferhim Musician

View picture in full size Picture description. An Ylfferhim musician playing the reed crafted theratam flute to a forest twotail listening attentatively. Image by Faugar.

Flutes, with their high pitching notes that often sound like the whining of the Wind in the branches of trees, is often used to depict the Wind. Flutes, panpipes, and other Wind music are often used as symbols for the wind particularly in association with Grothar or Nehtor. Yet music in general is a representation of Wind, as the sound is carried by the Wind brining life to the music as it blows. Wind, when one takes the time to listen to it, is musically. Sometimes when the world is still those who listen can hear the wind singing high and low playing different notes upon the branches of trees or whispering like a chorus through the rustling grass. That the Wind is musical has long been recognized by the Windsingers - elves, who try to to understand Avá's Dream -, and music is slowly being accepted as a representation of Wind by other races as well. Furthermore stylized lightening bolts and loud drum beats that sound similiar to thunder are associated with the Element of Wind due to the element's influence upon the weather and seasons.

Incense is used both as a symbol of Wind and a religious object. As a symbol of Air, the perfumed smells of incense is often soothing reminding one of the genteel dreams given to us by the Wind. Once again it is mostly the scent of incense rather than the incense itself that is depicted as being a symbol of Wind. Yet particular types of incense can have hallucinatory effects as well. Many dark elves believe that this hallucinatory incense should be breathed by the devout to "free the mind, reaching a higher level that is independent from the pure reality of matter and thus more the true nature of Wind". In its dark connotations, hallucinatory incense represents the danger of being lost in dreams, refusing to ever return to the "reality of matter". Hallucinatory incense is also representative of Wind's ability to confuse, to create illusions, and to lead the unwary astray.

Although the wind is invisible, and therefore colourless, white and silver are usually associated with the Element of Wind/Air. Grey can be interpreted as a representation of Wind in general although it is also the colour of the Water Goddess Seyella, Goddess of Destiny. Recently, worshipers of Grothar have added pale blue as a representation of the sky, or still Air, and a pale green as the colour of the Winds. Nehtor, with his emotions of sorrow and grief, brings to the Element of Wind the colours of blue and purple. However these colours can also be held to represent the healing nature of both the Wind and Nehtor.

The race of the elves themselves are also said to represent the Element of Wind. According to the Cárpa'dosía, the race of elves was made with the Breath of Avá, or the Wind, mingled with the Rain of Life. Elves are the closest race to the element of Wind, and they themselves have over time become a symbol of this element. Elves, as a symbol of Wind and children of it as they see it themselves, represent the wisdom of Wind, the learning, the undying nature of Wind, the separateness of wind from the rest of natur. They are thought to be represent the undying nature of the soul, and thus they stand for, the light elves in particular, physical representations of the spirit.

It must be noted throughout the various symbols of Wind that it is often the spirit or essence of an object or being that represents Wind, rather than actual thing itself. Thus it is the spirit of a horse rather then the horse itself that represents the Wind. Or the smell of incense or herbal plants rather than the plants themselves. It is the clarity of crystal, rather than the crystal, the widsom and undying nature of elves rather than the elves, and the sound of a flute rather than the flute itself.
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Religious Meanings of Wind. One of the most well-known temples and altars of Air can be found somewhere in the Mithral Mountain Range. The Artiyá fá Avásh, or "Temple of Wind" in Tharian, is also known as the Avásh Telór Artiyá or "Wind Song Temple". Although very few individuals are ever privileged to be personally invited to the Temple of Avásh, those honoured few have assured that tales of the temple's beauty have been spread through all the lands of the Santharian Kingdom. However, as the invited are sworn to secrecy about the precise location of the temple and are blindfolded on their way to and from the temple, the way Avásh temple is unknown even to those who have seen, therefore the Temple of Avásh cannot be found on any map.

Believed to be created by Windsinger Elves who were "inspired to build a temple to the Blessed Winds that even the deaf might hear their song", the temple itself is a wonder to behold. Originally set into a cave in a side of the mountain beside a small waterfall, the rest of the Temple was constructed out of living trees and elaboratedly carved out of dead wood. With the help of dwarves who the Windsingers called "Wise in the true nature of Stone and its father the Wind", the original cave mouth that would serve as the innermost sanctum to the temple was bored and carved into a series of ever changing holes and slots. The front of the temple carved out of dead wood also received the same treatment of precisely set differing holes of different lengths, sizes, and angels. Each hole was either left untouched or lined with silver, gold, glass, quartz, brass, covered with animal skins, covered with slotted branches, or even covered with living flowering vines. All around the temple, trees were carefully replanted into places dedicated by the most practiced Windsingers and many willow trees were brought just to be planted around the temple.

The end result was a beautiful structure made out of elaborated carved designs in both Wind and stone, but wonders of the Temple of Avásh do not end with the mere beauty of the temple itself. The Windsingers and dwarves who created the temple knew both their craft and the movements of Wind. For at the temple of Avásh whenever the Wind blows, be it a gentle almost non-noticeable whisper or a howling gale, it blows through the holes crafted by the elves, each hole making a different note so that the Wind can truly be heard "to sing with all its glory to all ears". Anyone who has been privileged to be invited to the Avásh Temple during a particularly windy day has been amazed at the haunting melodies the Wind can be heard to be playing all throughout the temple by rustling through, over, and in the various holes crafted by the masters of their art. Reports can say for certain that although the Windsingers crafted the temple they no longer serve there, in fact the one person you will not see at the Temple of Avásh is a Windsinger for the Windsingers shun the place as a temple for "The Unwise, the Unhearing, and the Unfeeling". Rather the temple has clerics belonging to a variety of races, really by anyone who is felt drawn to serve the Element of Wind, God, or Goddess of the Wind. Clerics of Grothar, Clerics of Nehtor, Clerics of Eyasha, Druids of the Wind, mages of the Wind, Brownies, humans, elves, and rarely even a dwarf will serve at the temple. The Clerics of the Temple of Avásh are unique in that they are not bound to the temple itself but rather to the Wind itself, although precautions are taken to assure the temple is not defiled by 'stone-hardened and earth-rotten hearts' through a vow of silence placed upon each of the Clerics whenever the wander away from the Temple.

The altar of Avásh is also an amazing sight to behold. Although not an altar at all according to common thought, the Altar is rather a huge mobile hanging down from string so thin that it is invisible. The Avásh Altar is constructed with the living flower bush intertwined with elaborated crafted silver wires. From these wires, hollow creations made out of blown glass or sparkling crystal depict birds, eagles, raindrops, flutes, panpipes, flowers, willow branches, and all sorts of flying insects. To increase the effect, wild butterflies are encouraged by the local priest to feed upon the flowering bush. The awe-inspiring altar of Avásh is thought to be the best altar ever to depict all the aspects of Air just as the Temple is thought to embody all the silent voices of the Wind.

Altars of Wind are always placed upon elevated heights, such as on top of a particularly high hill or mountain. Altars vary from place to place, and have great variation, depending on the beliefs of the devout in the area. Sometimes altars are made of unperfected quartz stones, other times altars can be living willow trees upon which hang light colored satin cloth hung by the devout, or even an empty eagle's nest.

Religious ceremonies may be enacted below, near, or upon these altars. Sacrifices are offered to the Gods and usually consist of offerings of leavened bread, flowers, flutes, crystal, silver-work, or glass work. Very little blood is ever shed in an altar of the Wind as the peaceful Gods of the Wind, as blood is said to be more a "fiery" element rather then the Air breathed spirit that offers praise. In using altars, the two basic elemental counterparts Earth and Wind (the altar and the spiritual meaning) are united.

Below we have listed the main deities and one demon that are often commonly associated with the Element of Wind. Nevertheless, it must be noted that for most scholars the Element of Wind cannot be limited to these few powerful beings. The Element of Wind is often thought to be a crucial element in all deties, as within each of the deities there is an element of Wind in each. This can especially be argued if one holds to the belief in the elven legend of Avá and her thoughts, said to be the Wind itself, that was thought to give birth to the twelve, the Aviaria. Wind is also associated to all gods as it is thought to be identifed with life, healing, transcendency, the crossing of the borderline between life and death in both directions, to the soul, and to all things invisible or spiritual.

Myth. According to the Cárpa'dosían myth, elves were the Firstborn Children of the High Goddess Avá. After Avá had created the Gods at the Beginning of Time, She interfered in Her Dream once again, thus dreaming to give Her Spirit and the freedom within Her Spirit, to the accomplishment of the Gods, so that the creatures would be able to view the world with their own thoughts, and to become as delighted of the beauty of the world like Avá Herself. Thus the Rain of Life fell out of the Thought of Avá, down on Aér'ai'chán (or "Caelereth" in human terms) and it fell on the elements, and from the Elements there emerged the inspired creatures. And whereas the Element of Earth produced the dwarves, Water resulted in the humans and from Fire arose the orcs.

In the elven myth, Wind is the "Very-First-of-All" (Styrásh: sá avásh), and is said to be the first and highest element, which sprang from the Dream of Avá and thus came to reality. The Wind is said to be the Spirit and the Thought of Avá. From the first element there sprang the second, the Earth (sá mód), in the moment as the Wind became reality, and between those elements there sprang the Mediating (the Xeuá), which is divided into two further elements: the Water (sá már) as Wind willing to become Earth (sá mód), and Fire (só efér), which in fact is interpreted as Earth, willing to become Wind. The elements of Fire and Water consequently are described in complicated, at times seemingly esoteric lines as antagonistic, inseparable forces of nature, filling the gap between the principle of the eternal (Wind) and its realization (Earth) with what appears as "life". So the one element indeed is four elements in one (or Aér'aí'chanía as the plural of Aér'aí'chán is spelled), and only this way the one element is real. Thus the four elements represent the world of Aér'aí'chán. In human terms the world of Aér'aí'chán bears the name "Caelereth". Let's quote a passage from the Cárpa'dosía:

II, 9. With the Wind sá Mod came to the world and with the Earth came the permanence of being, time and transitoriness, Kára'mé as the elves named it, the manifestation of things, which is fundamentally different to the Eternal itself, as only through the Eternal Kára'mé that turned into what it is now, the essence of becoming. And just as the Wind is the perfection of the Aeloía [the Thoughts of Avá], but is naught in the world, so is Earth perfection, but perfection of substance, but the substance by itself itself means naught to the eternal spirit. As when Wind is innocence, easiness and freedom, so is Earth guilt, rigour and relentlessness ag rán [per definition]: If in the howling of the Wind there lies Bestowíng, Life and Growing, so the immobility of sá Mód only promises Death; even though there are many tales, especially from the dwarven race, which don't want to hear from that - but the stone, which the dwarves worship above all, is in truth only an image of the Wind, a single moment of  the everlasting changes in regard of the One.

-- "Cárpa'dosía. The Books of the Beginnings", Chapter II

The remaining Capter II of the Cárpa'dosía speaks of the beginning of the fierce fight between Wind and Earth, which began at the time of creation and lives on till this very day in more subtle forms.

Of course, one would be amiss to discuss the Cárpa'dosía without also speaking of the Darkwinds. According to legend, Avá onced ordered all Winds to gather in her thoughts. To some winds she assinged tasks, and they were to be called Gods by the children of Avá. Those who received no task were called the "Darkwinds". They are said to flow above and below Caelereth, along the edge of the encircling Ethereal Void, in the area in between what is real and what is unreal. The Darkwinds are said to affect and move the constellations of the stars, thus accounting for the eratic movement of the stars observed by the famous astronomer Cournan. Because of the fact that elven mythology is related strongly to ethics and aesthetics, the few mentioned Darkwinds in the Cárpa'dosía also bear the names of malices, of deeds guiding away from the path of Avá and Her supreme beauty which is reflected in the world. The names of the missing malices for the main Darkwinds not mentioned in the Cárpa'dosía were later on given by elven sages. The Auratic Winds on the other hand, those Winds which had not become Gods and lived within all things existing from the Beginning of Time, were given the names of virtues.

Also we should not forget about the Windsingers, a group of elves who dedicate their remaining lives to listening to the Wind in order to prepare themselves to exit the Dream and be born anew. They seem to have long understood the true mystical nature of Wind. A human scholar explains: "They listen to the unfiltered howling and soughing of the Winds, feeling and interpreting their force, tone, pitch, and even scent, their hidden powers, their 'alignment' or 'intentions' constitute the process of Xaeriá. All in all a very religious thing as the Winds are deemed of godly origin by the elves. It is therefore not surprising that some say that the practice of Xaeriá is said to derive from rituals of Grothar, the Santharian Weather God."

Windsinger belief has long been believed to have been derived from the elven conviction that the Wind is the Dream or Thought of Avá as it moves across the world. Perhaps this is true, yet many scoff at the beliefs of the Windsingers, practically humans or dwarves, calling them "Soughers" with a tone of scorn. "It is easy for those who do not listen to laugh, and it is easy for the foolish to laugh at the wise, yet who has heard the Wind howling in the mountains screeching ice to foolish hearts who climb them and not wondered if the Wind was warning them of some disaster to come?" (Unnamed Windsinger).
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Lore. There are several stories related to the Element of Wind spread throughout the United Kingdom of Santharia. One of them is the famous story about the "Castle of the Clouds". Believed to orginate around the city of Marcogg, the capital of the Santharian province of Manthria, this story sponsors both local legend and the belief that Wind can be found in everyone. This story is often used by scholars to teach their children the concept of Wind in everything.

"Castle of Clouds" is the story of love, discovery, and the trials of life. It tells a tale of Lady Alaria, the daughter of a wealthy king who has everything a woman could want, and who has been engaged to Duke Drexel since a tender age. When Alaria finally discovers the true nature of the man she is espoused to, Alaria the Golden jumps off a cliff - not in despair but with joy at the prospect at being free. Alaria's sucidicial plans are ruined however, as the West Wind has fallen in love with this mortal girl. The West Wind promptly carries Alaria in a Castle of Clouds that he has created for her to live in alone until he can convince Alaria to be his lady-love. Great discoveries, passions, and trials lay ahead of this fated pair as Alaria and the West Wind learn the true nature of love. - According to local legend a body matching Alaria's descripition at the age of her death (18), was found on one of the vast basaltic ridges that fan out from the massive Achare Peak believed to be Eagle's Peak, although the exact one is now unknown.

The story was told from generation to generation and is believed to have originated from an account of a Quaelhoirhim elf. There may be, therefore, several of the errors in the translation. The story is generally held by non-locals to be a mere fabrication to explain away the apperance of the young girl's dead body on a cliff, but locals firmly believe that the body was Alaria's and that Alaria herself has turned into a wind-spirit who now guards the cliffs.
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 Date of last edit 4th Passing Clouds 1668 a.S.

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