“I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;” ~ John Masefield, Sea-Fever
There is no denying how I feel about water or feel about being near it. I have always loved the water. I have always been a swimmer. The mermaid within me is a strong one, an insistent one, and wise one. She is always beckoning for me to take a dive.
There is something very deep and primal within me that is called by water. The scientist in me says that it is because my adult human body is approximately sixty percent water — even my bones are over thirty percent water! The witch in me says that it is because my body is of the water and it is a truth I can not escape (and to which I shall return). Have you ever been to the ocean or a river and just stood or sat there near the water’s edge and felt something inside of you longing to jump in, to go back from whence it came? Some of the most beautiful creation stories out there feature the sea (or water in general) as the birth place of all that is on the Earth.
Some of my fondest memories are that of being near the water: swimming in the Gulf of Mexico; swimming in Lake Tenkiller as a wee one; riding in the bed of a pick-up truck with cousins to hang out at Lake Kickapoo; feeling the cold mist off of the Atlantic Ocean for the first time; wading in Walden Pond; canoeing down the Mississippi River; keeping an eye on YMCA campers at Possum Kingdom Lake; soaking in the power of tornadoes hovering over Lake Overholser; watching my son throw his arms out wide as waves crash his tiny body in Virginia Beach, VA; the release and cleanse during any good rainstorm; collecting shells and seaweeds at Salem Willows with my son off the coast of Salem, MA; and great ganja and mangoes with actual Rastas overlooking the pink sands of Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda.
I can conjure up the smells, sights, and sounds of all of those and more without any effort. This is an important skill whenever I find myself land-locked and wanting to work some magic. Thankfully, living in Pittsburgh allows me easy access to three rivers (and a fourth one) whenever I need to “talk to the water.”
Water, like fire, is also a great cleansing and purifying element. Our bodies, homes, and magical tools can be cleaned and purified by water. We can draw down the energy of the moon or capture our intentions in the molecules of water for later use in rituals. Water is also a persistent element. What it can not go through, it will find a way around, softening the edges as it does. When needing to overcome a stubborn obstacle, I always call on the persistence of water to guide me through, under, over, and around whatever it is that stands in my way.
With the water comes the weather, which is another alluring mystery. Being able to predict the weather has been an asset to humans since the beginning. Some of us are innately more attuned to the rhythms and the wiles of wispy clouds than others, even those with Meteorology degrees. It comes from listening to and answering that pull inside of us, that pull towards the water. Sensing the change in the electricity in the air, the smell of the dirt, the caress of the wind, and the silvering of the maple leaf. Never losing sight of the horizon. My Craft is knowing how to use these things to my advantage to harness the power that Mother Nature is freely giving. Accurate weather prediction and a fair amount of illusion is what most water-magic is dependent on. It also helps when trying to amuse gullible neighbours, small children, and passersby.
While water is a source of creation and a life sustainer, it is also a destructive force. Be sure that nothing can stand in the way of a wrathful wave and the rip tides have reclaimed many lives of those not ready to return to the sea. Speak with anyone who has ever lived through a hurricane and you are speaking with someone who has learned to respect water and its destructive nature.
When we return to the Earth, the rain washes us back out to the sea. I know that when I am done with this life and ready to adventure onto the next; water will be my transitional vehicle. Whether my ashes are strewn into the waves or mixed with concrete to form artificial reefs (in an effort to rebuild a damaged coral reef), I will again return from whence I came. Back to the Great Deep.
We must be still and still moving Into another intensity For a further union, a deeper communion Through the dark cold and the empty desolation, The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters Of the petrel and the porpoise. In the end is my beginning. ~ T.S. Elliot, East Coker II
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