Air, one of the elemental powers, can be used for healing in both its physical form and in its energetic form, as when the shaman works with the element in the invisible world during his or her journeys. Air is considered to be spirit and breathing in is to draw spirit into one’s body. Shamans use this “breath of spirit” in their healing, particularly blowing “the breath of life” into the patient.

The role of the element air in shamanic healing rituals is to provide the ease of swift change and to inspire creativity, illumination, and vision. The energy of air may be used directly by blowing air, alcohol, or ignited alcohol on the patient with the intention of infusing him or her with a connection to all things. The shamans of many cultures use the energy of the air directly from specific sites by conducting their healings or vision quests on mountainsides or vistas where the open sky and view inspires vision, revelation, and communication with spirit. Shamans also retreat alone into such sites to restore their own vision and connection with their spirit guidance.

Shamans use the energy of air in their journeys in similar ways—for example, breathing life into a dead or dying soul part, or filling the patient’s spirit body with the breath of life.

The role of air and its priority as a spirit teacher vary and are defined specifically culture by culture.


  • elements;
  • helping spirits;
  • ritual.


An Encyclopedia of Shamanism written by Christina Pratt – Copyright © 2007 by Christina Pratt