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.
...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.
....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, weak-kneed 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 Water.
...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...
...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 bubbles..
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 robe....
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.
....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.
...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 well....
...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
Home..comfort and beauty
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
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
AsterAvocadoBalm of GileadBanana
BladderwrackBleeding HeartBlue Flag (Iris)Boneset
DaisyDaturaDittany of CreteDulse
JasmineKava-KavaLady's MantleLady's Slipper
MoonwortMorning GloryMosses, allMyrrh
Gems and Stones Associated with the Element of Water
Agate, Blue LaceAmethystAquamarineAzurite
(blue, green, pink)ChalcedonyChrysocolla
Mother of PearlPearlRhodocrositeSapphire
(blue, green, pink)
2 parts Benzoin
1 part Myrrh
1 part Sandalwood
1 part Rose petals
1 drop Ylang Ylang oil
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.
Blessings of the Water to you