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Nature Spirits

36 37 raiSing calming The WindS binding the breeze Few sounds are more evocative than the howling of the wind on a dark night. Wind spirits are traditionally harbingers of the Irish beansidhe, the Cornish spriggans and the Slavic veelas, the storm women with their terrible fearsome beauty. Veela sometimes appear as swans, and swan feathers are used to hold power over them. Raising and calming the winds was a vital skill for shamans and mariners of the past, as the breath of the spirit world was carried on the earthly winds and could bring either blessings or disaster. Scottish witches called the winds by banging stones in wet cloth upon sacred boulders. Ancient Finnish seafarers ritually bound winds into three or more knots tied in a rope to the ships mastthis is similar to the Greek technique of binding winds in a cloth bag, only for them to be let loose a little at a time when needed. Of course, great offerings were made to compensate and pacify the air spirits for their confinement. Air spirits can be called using wind instruments, e.g., a penny whistle. They are respectfully asked either to calm down or raise up, before the sylphs are sung or played to, and visualised dancing and moving to the music. It is the rhythm and feeling of the music that is importantits expressiveness and intention. It can be nonsensical, simple and repetitive, lalala, for example. Then the rhythm is gradually changed, slowing bit by bit soothingly to calm the winds, or speeding up with increasing passion to raise them. Dancing with the wind with rhythmic and expansive movements can be also powerful. The more they are communed with, the more the sylphs will be sensed, invigorating and inspiring all who contact them, infusing a windy day with magic and wonder.
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