01-30-13 Lesson 8: Month 2, Week 4: Elements: Water

Water…it has so many moods. One can picture the deep swelling power of the ocean or
the tiny lines made by raindrops on a window. Water is the crystal clarity of a mountain
stream or a stagnant pool rich in micro-organisms. It’s the warm laziness of a scented bath
or the cold splashing challenge of white-water rafting. It can nourish or it can destroy. It
can clean or it can leave a layer of muddy sludge. It can be still or rapid, deep or shallow,
tranquil or fierce, ephemeral or enduring. We do our best to contain it and train it…and it
serves our purpose when we do…but it also becomes unusable if allowed to sit too long.
All in all, it is a very fitting metaphor for the flow of our emotions.
(optional work)…Take a moment to picture in your mind some of the moods of water.
Waves crashing on rocks, perhaps. Or a rivulet flowing downstream. Or the surface of a
pond rippling out in concentric rings when disturbed by a rock. Let the images flow…fast or
slow…and in each case take a moment to note how they make you feel. Some may fill you
with awe, others may make you laugh. Some may lull you into a doze and others may chill
you to fearful alert. Some may make you feel disgusted, slightly nauseous, and others
stun you with their beauty.
Some of these images and the feelings they spark may flick in and out quickly, others may
catch and hold your attention. Many of them will call up memories, each with a similar
emotional charge. Are the majority of these memories sparked by water joyful or
otherwise? Just note what you observe…and let the waters flow on….
Water is the element generally associated with West in circle. Because I live where the
ocean lies to the west of me, this is an easy association to make. Certainly in much of
British and European folklore there are tales of lands of plenty over the waters to the West.
It is the place where the sun sets…so a place associated with earned rest. It is, naturally
enough, associated with dusk…that hazy time between true day and true night…between
work and sleep. It is associated with middle age, that time when we have settled to enjoy
some peace…in relationships, in constructive work, in the raising of our children. (…well,
again, water isn’t always peaceful!)
And the shadowy in-between time, when light and shadow are so hard to distinguish is
also a metaphor for another association of water…that of dreams, visions, and illusions.
Just as, in dreams, the connections between scenes and events are murky and might not
make sense…water can seep in unexpected ways through the ground or through walls.
Just as mist can make both vision and hearing inaccurate…just as water can magnify
anything seen through it… just as a watery surface can act as a mirror that distorts, so can
our emotions render our perceptions inaccurate….and create illusion. And a classic way to
scry for visions is to use a bowl of water.
optional work)….Imagine that you are out in a forest near dusk. You see a cottage on a hill
in the distance, and start walking toward it. As the sky gets darker, the lines between the
tree trunks and the shadows become harder to make out….and a mist begins to rise. You
see the house before you…but soon the mist rises above the level of your eyes, and you
can see little but the trunks of the trees a few feet in front of you…soon you have no idea if
you have seen these trees before…or if you are even still going in the right direction. For a
moment, you feel despair, and you wonder if you will be able to find any shelter at all for
the night….
Take a moment to ground, to center, and to ask for guidance. As you do, a sense of peace
comes over you…and you open your eyes to see the cottage shining on the hill before
you. A voice whispers, “Use your heart.” You aren’t sure what this means, but you send
out a line of energy from your heart to the cottage…and when the mist rises to obscure it
again, you manage to maintain a sense of direction as long as you stay centered in your
heart. See yourself pushing onward though the grayness and the treetrunks…until you
eventually reach your destination….
The heart, of course, is another association of Water. Do you recall that melting, weakkneed
feeling the first time you fell in love? Love, considered by some the queen of
emotions, is a strong association of Water.
The heart pumps the blood through our arteries, and collects it from the veins…which in
turn collect water from the tissues and lymph. It pumps blood through the kidneys, which
regulate the balance of water and electrolytes in the body. Our bodies are 90% water, and
that water creates the intracellular and extracellular fluids, the brew in which electrolytes,
nutrients, and enzymes are able to carry on the functions of life.
Water is central to the mystery of how life first came to be; the chemicals that first came
together into self-replicating forms could not have done so in any medium but water…
Take a glass of water, and put three drops of food colouring into it. Watch how the food
coloring swirls out in tendrils to mix with the water. See how things move in water. What
starts as a discrete drop soon becomes a beautiful pattern of interlaced swirls. In a few
minutes, the whole area will be coloured…with bits of colour moving into the bands that
are still clear. After a couple of hours, the whole glass will be a uniform colour. This shows
how anything placed in water will eventually come into contact with everything else in that
body of water…
Water flows in riverbeds and sits dreaming in lakes, it falls through the skies and shifts
constantly in the deep craters that form our oceans. It becomes a body we can define only
through being captured in some kind of container. Indeed, we need a container for it if it is
to sit on our altar. We can’t raise it to our lips to drink without a container. The magical tool
associated with water is the cup or chalice.
And this tool is a metaphor for all the containers that open to receive and hold the stuff of
life. It can be the cauldron of Cerridwen or the cupped hands of Quan Yin. It can be the
womb of the Great Mother or of Gaia which contains the seas. The ocean, of course, being
the place where all waters flow, is the final cauldron where our souls are collected when
we die.
The Christians took this image and made it into their Holy Grail, which has become a
symbol of the healing possible through Divine Love… Again, love emerges as a theme for
.optional work)..Fill your bathtub with warm water, scent it with roses, jasmine, or ylang
ylang, and sink into the water. Do this when it’s dark, and have the lights turned off. Let the
water surround you as much as possible. Be still. Feel the water ripple over you as it
responds to the movements of your breathing. Hear your heartbeat. Ask the Mother to let
you feel Her love…and open to receive it. Let yourself imagine that you are in Her
womb…the dark, peaceful watery nourishment of Her cauldron where life begins…
optional work)…to complete the picture, roll over, so you are face down…and hum a lullaby
into the water. Hear your voice resonate through the water, and imagine it is the Mother
Herself singing her love to you. Breathe when you must…but keep singing and breathing
and floating until you are surrounded and permeated by a sense of Her love…
And before I leave the theme of chalices and cups….the Tarot suit associated with Water
is, of course, the Cups…the suit of emotions and matters of the heart. Major Arcana
associated with Water are the High Priestess, the Lovers, the Hanged Man, Death,
Temperance, and The Moon.
The Moon, of course, has a deep association with Water because it rules the tides of the
oceans. And again, we see here the theme of the uterus, watery container where life
begins, with its tides and cycles synchronised with those of the moon. The other “planet,”
(astrologically speaking) associated with Water is Neptune. The astrological signs are
Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces.
One of the major functions of water in magic is its role as a cleanser. Of course, all the
elements cleanse in their own way, but water of course is the medium in which we bathe,
shower, wash our clothes, and scrub our homes. It’s what we combine with soap to make
optional work)The next time you have a shower, imagine that with the water spraying
down around you is a shower of sparkling white healing energy. Let it flow over your head
and down your body…and let it flow through your body. Imagine that as this energy flows
through you, though the matrix of water held together by the walls of your cells, it flows
into each and every cell and cleanses emotional residues. Let it wash away any old
feelings you have been carrying that no longer serve you….
…you would know better than I what those might be…but an example might be that you
could let go of any old fears you suffered as an infant that your mother or father might not
love you…whatever the truth of these fears might have been, you are an adult; you made
it, and you have formed your own life and opinions. And fear about having people accept
you can only hold you back…
….whatever emotion you decide to cleanse, just let it wash away as the healing watery
energy flows through you….and see it wash down the drain with the swirling water. Then
pamper yourself with some rich skin cream or a hot drink by the fire as you dry off in your
Of course, one of the more wonderful gifts of Water, which combines both its cleansing
action and it’s Love, is forgiveness. Cleanse the old resentments, fill those spaces up with
love, and see how much better you feel.
Some ways of using water in magic include bathing and showering, as above, and
charging water to drink, sprinkle about, anoint with, and evapourate by your bed or on your
altar. As already mentioned, one can scry using a bowl of water, or look for visions in the
steam rising from a pot, kettle, or cauldron.
optional work)….Some morning as you spend time with your altar at the beginning of the
day, try this. Fill your chalice with clear water and let it sit on your altar while you meditate.
Then choose intuitively a rune or tarot card …or use some other divinatory device…asking
for a message for the day. Take a moment to form an affirmation for the day based on how
the card or device selected relates to the issues you are facing that day.
Then lift the chalice, hold it in both hands, pull in the energy of heaven and earth as
described in The Basics of Personal Energy Management and let the energy run out your
hands to charge the water with this affirmation. Drink the water down, imagining it entering
all the cells in your body, carrying this affirmation into the water that fills your cells…
The elementals of Water are the Undines. These are filmy, translucent beings rather like
little mer-people who swim in the waves. Nancy Watson sees them as little globules
floating in the water. They are sentimental, and romantic, and love people who are in touch
with their emotions. Tears, love poetry and songs, and scented oils or perfumes make gifts
for these beings.
The Archangel associated with Water and the West is Gabriel. Some sources see this
angel as masculine, others feminine; in general, angels are considered beyond gender.
S/he rules birth, death, and transformation. S/he is the angel of mercy and justice in
balance. S/he is considered the angel of the Moon, and guardian of women’s cycles and
childbirth. S/he can be seen with a cup or a horn, and is usually dressed in blue with
orange highlights.
optional work)…Sometime near sunset, when the moon is waxing or full, take yourself to
an ocean beach if that is possible, or to a lake or river. If it’s warm enough and private
enough, you might consider stripping down and bathing naked; if this isn’t possible,
consider at least taking your shoes off and putting your feet into the water. Think of
someone you love whom you have a quarrel with. Take a few moments to review the
quarrel, and really feel your anger and frustration.
Then let this anger and frustration flow out your feet to whatever extent is possible, using
your breath, perhaps with sounds or toning, to help it flow out. And then think of what you
love about this person. Review all their good points and how much they have done for
you. Focus on your heart as you breathe and let it open. Then allow yourself to
see/feel/know that the energy of the Water is flowing up into your being. Feel it fill your
legs…your pelvis…your abdomen…your chest…up to your shoulders and out your
hands…and your head. Feel your heart in your chest, and feel it pump the loving energy of
the water through you…
And if it feels right, express in your own words that you are willing to see the other side of
this quarrel, to try to understand the point of view of the other person involved. Not
necessarily to accept it if it doesn’t fit your own sense of truth, but to understand it and
allow your loved one to have his/her own view. And allow the moonlight to shine into your
being and speak to the energies of the waters flowing within you. Pull in the moonlight and
let it shine in your being. And let a new level of love and understanding shine in you as
…After such an act of love and cleansing with Water, you should be able to make contact
with the Undines, and with Gabriel. Ask them to help you with your goals related to
emotional healing. Ask them to help you with matters of love and forgiveness. Ask them to
help you with any healing you wish to do for the waters of the Earth. Ask them to help you
work with dreams or visions.
Magical Goals Aided By Water:
Communicating with Ancestors
Childbearing and Rearing
Family issues
Home..comfort and beauty
Letting go
You might wish to make an altar in the western part of your living space to honour the
Element of Water and the Undines. Drape it and decorate it in rich, watery blues and
greens. Offer shells, feathers of waterbirds, and green watery stones. Have a chalice or
bowl of water on this altar and change it daily. Welcome the Element and the Undines to
make this their home. Then light the candles on this altar and drink its charged water when
you explore your emotions in your journal, perform acts of love, work with your dreams, or
work with psychic techniques.
It may help when invoking the Element or elementals of Water to use the symbols offered
in the background of this page. An Air Invoking Pentagram starts in the upper left, moves
to the upper right, and continues around to repeat this line. Water can also be invoked
using the circle with a line across the middle, or a silver crescent; see waters flowing
through these symbols into your space. To release the element, draw the Water Releasing
Pentagram shown in the bottom left corner, which is a reversal of the Invoking Pentagram.
If you use the silver crescent or circle and line, see the waters flowing out through it, then
see it folding in upon itself and disappearing.
Psychological Qualities Associated with Water
Balanced Water
Imbalanced Water
You can ask the Element of Water, or its Guardian or the Undines to help you develop any
of the positive traits listed above. To balance any of the negative traits, you may need to
appeal to the other three elements to help balance an overabundance of Water. For
example, the fiery emotion of anger often helps one move beyond the apathy and
helplessness of depression by helping one find one’s own power, and gets the emotions
flowing freely again.
Creatures Associated with Water
All creatures that live in or on the water Fish, Whales, Dolphins, Sharks, Otters,
Beavers, Seals, Walrus Starfish, Anemones, Shellfish, Abalone, Sea Snails,
Crabs, Lobsters, Scorpions, Sea Horses, Barnacles, Sea Urchins, Sand Dollars, One-
Celled Organisms, Seagulls, Ducks, Swans, Herons, Albatross, Puffins, Cormorants,
Alligators, Crocodiles, Eels, Water Snakes, Frogs, Leeches Water Creatures from Myth
Water Dragons, Mermaids
Herbs Associated with the Element of Water
African Violet Aloe Apple Apricot
Aster Avocado Balm of Gilead Banana
Bedstraw Belladonna Birch Blackberry
Bladderwrack Bleeding Heart Blue Flag (Iris) Boneset
Buchu Buckthorn Burdock Cabbage
Camellia Camphor Cardamon Catnip
Chamomile Cherry Chickweed Coconut
Coltsfoot Columbine Comfrey Cowslip
Crocus Cucumber Cyclamen Daffodil
Daisy Datura Dittany of Crete Dulse
Elder Elm Eucalyptus Feverfew
Foxglove Gardenia Gourd Grape
Heather Hellebore Heliotrope Hemlock
Hemp Henbane Hibiscus
Huckleberry Hyacinth Hyssop Indian Paintbrush
Jasmine Kava-Kava Lady’s Mantle Lady’s Slipper
Larkspur Lemon Lemonbalm Lettuce
Licorice Lilac Lily Lobelia
Lotus Maidenhair Mallow Mimosa
Moonwort Morning Glory Mosses, all Myrrh
Myrtle Orchid Pansy Papaya
Passion Flower Peach Pear Periwinkle
Persimmon Plum Poplar Poppy
Purslane Ragwort Raspberry Rose
Sandalwood Scullcap Skunk Cabbage Spearmint
Spikenard Strawberry Sugar Cane Sweetpea
Tamarind Tansy Thyme Tomato
Tonka Trillium Valerian Vanilla
Violet Willow Wintergreen Yew
Gems and Stones Associated with the Element of Water
Agate, Blue Lace Amethyst Aquamarine Azurite
Beryl Calcite
(blue, green, pink) Chalcedony Chrysocolla
Coral Holey stones Jade Kunzite
Lapis Lepidolite Malachite Moonstone
Mother of Pearl Pearl Rhodocrosite Sapphire
Selenite Sugilite Tourmaline
(blue, green, pink)
Water Incense
2 parts Benzoin
1 part Myrrh
1 part Sandalwood
1 part Rose petals
1 drop Ylang Ylang oil
Water Oil
From Cunningham
3 drops Palmarosa
2 drops Ylang Ylang
1 drop Jasmine
1 ounce carrier oil
A Sample Invocation to the West and the Water Element
Guardian of the West, Merciful Gabriel: Hold this corner of our circle and let the
Water flow into it. Send to us the beautiful Undines to help in our healing work.
Bless us with the cleansing of the mountain streams, The beauty of the waterfall,
The peace of the deep dreaming lakes, The strength and mystery of the oceans,
The rejuvenative nourishment of the cauldron, And the love of the Grail.
We feel you and welcome you. Blessed Be.
To Resume:
Water is the element of all things emotional. It is the flow of life, that mysterious
element that ebbs and flows. You can try to hold it gently, but tighten your grasp
and it just slips through your fingers. We can try to harness it, contain it, re-route it,
but it flows and just keeps going. It is like our emotions: They rise and fall and all
we can do is harness them and let them take us where they need to go. It is also the
element of the deep subconscious, the dark pool of the mind. Water is also the
element of love and compassion. These are our greatest emotions. I usually call my
water quarter by asking it to bring love and compassion to my circle.
A few associations:
Quarter: West
Ritual tool and representation: obviously, water itself. Also, cups and chalices.
Archangel: Gabriel
Color: blue
Water sustains life on our blue planet. We need it to drink, cook, wash ourselves. We
harness it for energy and use it for transportation. As much as Water represents life
and love, it can also be deadly. It can wipe out entire cities in waves of death. To me
it represents the double nature of everything and how no one and nothing is only
one thing. Water taught me respect for the inner wave that sustains my spiritual life,
but can also take us so far away from the shore that we lose all sense of direction.
As a woman, it was such an important lesson for me to learn: to respect both my
loving and destructive nature. One is not better than the other. It just IS. Water
helped me learn that.
Magically, Water is used for cleansing and purification. It is used to cleanse ritual
objects, ritual space and to cleanse ourselves before rituals. Often, salt is added to
water for purification rites. It is a good support for mixing and brewing. Water is
used therapeutically for teas and brews. It can be used for scrying, which is a
divination method where one stares into a bowl of water to receive wisdom. People
may add ink or oil to the water to perceive shapes and get messages. Also,
remnants of a spell are usually sent away in a body of moving water. It is a way to
let things go back to the Source and let the Universe recycle the energy.
Water is also associated with the Moon cycles, since the moon is responsible for
the tides. As such, Water is associated with all that is deeply intuitive. Under the
sun, the world looks a certain way, bright and alive. Under the moon, the world is
still the same, but you see light and shadows in different places. You cannot trust
your eyes as much and you must turn on a different kind of vision. Water and Moon
are associated with that kind of Vision, the one that comes from within. It is also
associated with the Feminine, since we are especially attuned to the monthly cycle.
This week should prove to be an especially moving journey. Here are your
assignments for the week:
1) Journal your experience of Water. What does it look, smell, feel and taste like?
What sounds does it make? Find different forms of water and contrast them. What
kind of energy readings do you get? Go swimming, walk in the rain (or roll in the
snow), take a walk along a river, or jump into a puddle!
2) Become Water. Go deep within yourself and reach into that state of deep emotion
where you laugh and cry for no reason. Is this place familiar or foreign to you?
Spend the week ‘in the flow’ of things. Let it take you over.
3) Find 5 practical uses and 5 magical uses of Water.
4) Choreograph your Water dance.


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