Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wind? Finding Courage and Calm in the Gusts of Change
Weather anxiety, often manifesting as a fear of the wind and other elements, is a psychological condition that affects a considerable number of people. This fear, known technically as anemophobia,
is not just about a simple dislike of windy days; it’s a profound dread that can cause significant distress. However, an intriguing perspective to consider is the spiritual and symbolic significance of the wind in various cultures and beliefs, which may offer a different lens through which to view this fear.
In most spiritual traditions, the wind is more than just a meteorological phenomenon; it’s a powerful symbol of spirit and change. For example, in Hebrew, the word Ruach can mean both wind and spirit. This duality highlights the belief that wind is a manifestation of a divine force. Similarly, in Hinduism, OM is a sacred sound between things and a spiritual symbol. It’s often associated with the essence of the universe, encompassing all existence, much like the wind that touches everything in its path.
In Buddhism, Nirvana represents a state of enlightenment and liberation from suffering, a state of No Wind. It’s about finding peace and understanding in the chaos of life, akin to finding calm in the midst of a storm. The Holy Spirit in Christianity is a Divine Wind, signifying the presence and power of God.
These spiritual interpretations of the wind remind us that fearing weather elements like wind may be akin to fearing forces greater than ourselves. This fear can be seen as a metaphor for the challenges and changes we face in life. Just as the wind is unpredictable and powerful, so too are the circumstances that shape our existence. The key to overcoming this fear lies in understanding and embracing the wind’s presence in your life. Stepping outside and creating a relationship with the elements, just as you might ask for nightly protection before sleeping, ask the wind for help and guidance.
While researching for the book Winds of Spirit, I delved deeply, uncovering the presence of Wind Spirits in creation myths across the globe. Ruach, Nirvana, Holy Spirit, OM — all are manifestations of the Wind. In every culture I researched, wind spirits stood out as guiding forces.
As ages lapsed and civilization evolved, we forgot the winds’ potency until its essence eluded us. Today, even those of us who participate in nature-based spiritual traditions rarely consider the wind an intelligent being. Reflect on your personal spiritual practices. Have you been communing with spiritual guides, teachers, and power animals,( the quintessential guides of shamans)? And for how long? But have you ever endeavored to commune similarly with the wind spirits?
We are part of nature, not separate from it. The wind is a reminder of our connection to the natural world and the forces that govern it. By fearing the wind, we may be distancing ourselves from an essential part of our existence. Embracing the wind as a symbol of spirit and change can help us to see our fears in a new light.
The challenges and changes faced by civilization today require strength and adaptability. Like a tree in a storm, we must learn to sway and bend without breaking. The fierce winds of change, whether literal or metaphorical, are an opportunity for growth and transformation. They push us to develop resilience, just as a tree strengthens its roots and trunk to withstand the gusts of wind.
Working with wind spirits is not a novelty of modern times; the roots of this practice are as ancient as the wind itself. Ancient shamans across diverse cultures long recognized that the wind was more than mere air. They knew it was the Earth’s breath, a conduit for spirits, and a herald of the changing seasons. The people of many Indigenous cultures mastered the art of heeding, comprehending, and harnessing this element.
The fear of the wind and other weather elements can be a profound and distressing experience. However, by reflecting on the spiritual and symbolic significance of the wind in various cultures and beliefs, we can gain a new perspective on this fear. Understanding the wind as a manifestation of spirit and change can help us to embrace our connection with nature and the natural forces that shape our world. In doing so, we can learn to face the winds of change with strength and resilience, growing stronger and more adaptable in the face of life’s challenges.
Renee Baribeau, aka the Practical Shaman, is a spiritual leader and podcaster with a gift for translating
ancient wisdom for modern readers. As the Nautilus Award-winning author of Winds of Spirit: Ancient
Wisdom Tools for Navigating Relationships, Health, and the Divine (Hay House, 2018), she captivates
readers with profound insights and pragmatic shamanic tools reclaimed from the mythology and living
teachings of diverse Indigenous and ancient cultures around the world. She is cohost of the popular weekly podcast, The Shaman’s Cave.