Antipodean Witch: Weaving the craft down under
General Blog Description: Exploring Southern Hemisphere neo-pagan practice and culture from the point of view of a progressive witch living south of Perth, Western Australia.
The Element of Water: May You Never Thirst
This is the third of a series of posts about how I relate to the elements in the Southern Hemisphere living on the western coast of Australia; this time, we are going To Dare and explore the element of Water. Previously, I called in Fire, in the North.
I've always wanted to be a mermaid. There was just something so appealing about it. I never actually watched The Little Mermaid as a child, weirdly enough as a kid who grew up in the 1980s and 90s, that boat sailed right by me. However I have always been enchanted by the 'seaside', and I have lived within a short drive or a short walk away from the beach my whole life. I am lucky enough to be on the doorstep of the Indian Ocean, and have ready access to some of the world's most beautiful beaches. I used to run down to the beach in the hot summers as a lanky 14 year old with my body board in tow and the waves I used to catch when I was by myself makes me shake my head with bewilderment today. Somewhere I found my fear as an adult; perhaps it was one too many times getting dumped by the waves into the harsh sandbar.
I've not always been the most competent swimmer, however. It is typical for most kids in this part of the world to be competent swimmers, but out of all the things I excelled at as a child, swimming certainly wasn't one of them. I struggled to breathe out underwater and we didn't own a pool like a lot of other families did to practice their freestyle in. Today, I am an average swimme and I can stay afloat and dive, but I still have a small fear of deep water. You won't catch me scuba diving or going for a ride in a submarine, as the majesty and beauty that is hidden in the depths is something I find a little frightening. Sharks do make a snack of the odd surfer off the coast here and there are sometimes stinging jellyfish in the water, especially at dusk.
Water is a fascinating element as it holds a lot of unknowns - it is the last great frontier of exploration on Earth, as there is still so much we don't know about what is going on in our deepest oceans. Getting stuck in the creepy "giant squid videos" part of YouTube is enough to teach you that!
But what does this all mean for localised pagan practice? Activism plays a part, as building estates creep up on beaches to get the million dollar views at the expense of sand dunes that are critical to preventing erosion. Canal developments are given the green light underneath board room tables despite locals protesting against the damage they cause to previous estuarian marine environments. The oceans are overfished causing an imbalance in an ecosystem that we don't know everything about. Oceans are giant temperature regulators for our atmosphere, and global warming and climate change can cause apocalyptic ripples in our weather patterns than can potentially cause disasterous watery scenarios for future generations - or even my own! There is a great deal of power in Water, an element that is sometimes taken for granted. When Wiccans, witches and pagans of the eclectic bent call in the quarters in Western Australia, Water is summoned from the west with reverence and ready reference as we look to the Indian Ocean, where the sun sets and adventure beckons.
Water brings an energy of cleansing and healing, but it also corresponds to the magical axiom 'To Dare'. To Dare speaks of courage, and mastery of our emotions. Daring is not reckless abandon, but being able to select one’s emotional response to a situation, and take charge of the decisions we have made via the other axioms of Air and Fire, To Know and To Will. It’s knowing what your decision is, willing a solution, and having the gumption to proceed. Regardless of our fears, of our hangovers, of our grudges. Regardless of temptations. Regardless of old habits which often, die hard.
Emotions can be volatile and can be restrictive if we allow it. It is easy to allow a particular emotion to dominate and I often find myself sometimes sitting in an emotion and letting it dictate my decisions. I often find it hard to make phone calls, to take actions which require personal responsibility, in favour of doing nothing despite knowing and willing myself to do otherwise. To observe and release are two ways we can work with these emotions and the Water element in a way condusive to effective magical practice. Consider the way Water manifests in our lives. There is a lot of healing that can come from contemplation of Water: the still lake, the ebb and flow of the ocean, and patter of rain on the roof. Peace is found in observation. The release comes from the nature that water has of dilution and the currents that flow within watery bodies. To release something with water does not mean that we banish it, but that we allow the larger forces to take the emotion and disperse it in a way that neutralises the effects but also allows the memory to be recalled, if required.
While these notions seem passive, to let something go and release it, or to observe it rather that to engage in it aggressively or indulgently, takes a great deal of Daring. It is not doing nothing, but rather allowing the mysteries of Water to deliver wisdom that allows us to flow rather than stagnate.
Water is an effective cleansing tool and this too, requires a certain degree of Daring. To wash away the masks we wear to allow new growth to emerge is essential in order to flow towards truth.
To Dare requires faith. Faith that the source will provide, faith in our own Will, faith in others, faith and trust in trajectories we cannot perceive with our mundane senses. It is hard to measure or quantify. It is outside the comfort zone of dry land. So it can be seen that Water is anything but wishy-washy!
I call to you, element of Water. Hail and Welcome!
Some of the content of this post was taken from a blog post over at my other blog, The Chaos Witch.
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