The four classical elements of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth are foundational to the Western Mystery Tradition and its many offshoots. Even if that’s not your path, the elements remain a useful way to relate to life at a high level. We’ve contemplated Air and Fire; today I invite you to join me in a meditation on the element of Water.
To The Sea
A Hymn of Orpheus
Tethys I call, with eyes cærulean bright,
Hid in a veil obscure from human sight;
Great Ocean’s empress, wand’ring thro’ the deep,
And pleas’d with gentle gales, the earth to sweep;
Whose blessed waves in swift succession go,
And lash the rocky shore with endless flow:
Delighting in the Sea serene to play,
In ships exulting and the wat’ry way.
Mother of Venus, and of clouds obscure,
Great nurse of beasts, and source of fountains pure.
O venerable Goddess, hear my pray’r,
And make benevolent my life thy care;
Send, blessed queen, to ships a prosp’rous breeze,
And waft them safely oer the stormy seas.
Water is the element of the West, of sunset, and of Autumn. In the Tarot, Water is represented by Cups, the tool of love, joy, and all the emotions; of intuition and the unconscious.
Life began in water and life cannot continue without water. Plants and animals can live outside the water only because we carry water in us – human bodies are about 60% water.
Without physical water our bodies will die. Without metaphysical water our souls will die.
Often the two are connected.
Water has been much in the news lately. Detroit is shutting off water to the poor who can’t pay their bills. The CEO of Nestle (a major supplier of bottled water) said water is not a human right, then his PR department said that wasn’t what he really meant. Las Vegas is running out of water. There’s a story that pops up on Facebook every few weeks about how it’s “now” illegal to collect rainwater in some states – a fact that is not some new big government conspiracy but the effects of 19th century water claims still in effect. When we were in Ireland we saw protests against their new water tax – which basically means the beginning of metered service. And here in McKinney, Texas outdoor water use is now restricted to one day every two weeks.
That’s a lot of talk about water. That’s a lot of talk, period. Take a breath. If one or more of these stories has irritated you, take another breath, or three or four or nine. Find your center. Now, what do these stories tell you? What does your intuition say they mean?
What do they say about the necessity of water?
What do they say about Nature’s limits?
What do they say about our tendency to ignore those limits, and about our schemes for dealing with them?
What do they say about our tendency to assume things will always be the way we’re accustomed to them being, and our belief that things should stay the same?
What does your intuition tell you these stories mean?
And perhaps most importantly, how will you respond to these stories?
If you are someone who is privileged to have clean running water in your house, go pour a glass. Look at it in the light of the stories you have been contemplating. Give thanks for the water. Give thanks to Water.
Drink, and allow the water to refresh your body and the Water to refresh your soul.
May the blessings of Water be with you and your Great Work!