On my Medicine Wheel the element water, is associated with West.
There are myriad of natural forms of water found in unusual and beautiful places. Water is also found in our bodies: in the cliché “blood, sweat, and tears,” in mother’s milk, our lymphatic system, and, perhaps most importantly, in amniotic fluid. Just as life first evolved in the sea, the fetus swims in saltwater as it “evolves” and develops. Since bodies of water have tides, the moon is also associated with water, and many lunar qualities are also Water qualities.
Our earth’s bodies of water hold many secrets and treasures. There aquatic plants ranging in color, density and diversity, growing at different levels in the water. Water can be salty, fresh, and in today’s world toxic and deadly. Water is an element that can be in the air, in the form of rain, mist, and clouds; it can be hidden in the deepest places far below the earth’s crust, as well as creating bodies of water, such as oceans, seas, lakes and tributaries from tiny brooks, to streams to seas and oceans.
Water can also house some of the most powerful shamanic allies. Shamans have long had relationships with creatures who dwell both in the water and on the earth. Creatures such as snake, frog, otters, beavers, to name a very few. Shamans also value the quality of creatures who can dive deep into the waters and return unharmed. West Coast native traditions value the puffin for its amazing aquatic abilities. Snakes have been seen as shapeshifters, due, in part, because of their ability to slip between the elements. Turtles, in some traditions, have been credited with carrying the world upon their backs.
In the healing journeys I do for my patients (again; meaning “one who suffers”), when I enter the Spirit world through water, I am fairly certain I will be healing some of the deepest wounds my patient carries. The last line of my prayer to West is “Oceans be my Emotions”. Meaning, the depth of emotions, can be so deep that no explorer has ever traveled there. Emotion flows, following its own path, which may meander. Emotion runs deep, with mysteries not visible on the surface. Emotions can be like sunken treasure, hiding secrets at the bottom of the waters of memory or the subconscious.
West and Water on the Medicine Wheel is also associated with the Mysteries. I send my prayers to the mysterious beings when I address West. I also send my prayers to the deepest caves and caverns, including Ceynotes. In the watery depths are the mysterious creatures such as Sirens, mermaids, seal woman, Skeleton Woman, and the Inuit water Goddess, Sedna. This list is not even remotely conclusive, but, dear reader, you can see where I am going.
Emotions, like the Mysteries of the West, can also be mysterious. Emotions, associated with the moon, are secrets-those things that are just barely visible, lit by moonlight and not exposed to the sun.rooted in secrets, mysteries, and hidden knowledge. Water is female, and looks within.
The moon and Water are the menstrual cycle, and Water is childbirth as well, making Water perhaps the most feminine of elements. Since moon phases are cyclic, ending where they begin and beginning where they end, it makes sense that Water is also associated with death, and it’s not surprising that many people’s folklore depicts death as a passage over water, I am sure many readers are familiar with Charon, the ferry men. Some of our burial rites included putting penny’s on the dead one’s eyes, so they could pay the ferry man to cross to the Land of the Dead. To make the cycle complete, Hindus refer to rebirth as an ocean.
All of these things-the moon, feeling, depth, birth-death-rebirth, and mystery-combine to associate Water with dreams and the subconscious, and from there to altered states in general-trance, vision, and transformation coming from these things. (Note that the slow, dreamy transformation of Water is different from the sudden, shapeshifting Fire transformation.) Transformation by Water is visionary and may take the quality of a journey.
My astrological moon sign in Pisces. There are times, such as PMS’ing, when I become weepy, vulnerable and overflowing with feeling. Water manifests, for me, in personality flairs such as: dramatic, sensual, and otherworldly. For the most part, I am joyful and full of love; my cup is rarely half empty. I can be very generous, my waters flows forth abundantly; I often feel I am one of the most blessed women to walk the earth. Water can be very destructive – floods and hurricanes come to mind, and water is love.
For magical symbolism, Water has ocean and lunar colors-deep blue, sea green, and silver. In Western occultism, green is the color most typically used. The magical undine is Water’s entity. Water signs are Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. In my healing practice I use three types of water, Full Moon, New Moon and Joy water. They each have a very specific purpose. I make moon water by leaving it out 1 – 3 nights prior to either a new or full moon. I use glass containers with proper rubber stoppers. I feel they are powerful parts of my healing ceremonies.
White Shell Woman, Changing Woman, is the Spiritual aspect of me, encouraging a deeper look into myself, facing my emotions, and my past. Emotions are formed out of everything that has happened before the moment of ‘now’.
The deepest of my emotions to find, and then embrace, was Fear. I had blinded myself for many years to the very existence of fear within. Not physical fear of literal events, but emotional fear. This means shyness, inhibition, fear of not being acceptable, fear of ridicule, rejection, being put-down, laughed at, made to feel small and so on. This fear that was stultifying, dispiriting, emotionally crippling and extraordinarily destructive to my young growing self.
Water takes us far into ourselves, helps us to swim through, and into, the darkest caverns of our selves. Water is our life blood, as well as the Earth’s life blood. Follow the path of water. It will, eventually, lead you to the deepest parts of yourself. Be not afraid of the cold and dark water you may encounter, that just may be shadow, trying to stay shadow, and not letting you near. The longer you work with water, the more at ease you will become working, in a healthy manner, with your emotions.