The Witch & The Ocean

(Sorry that I’ve been MIA for the last few weeks – I was finishing up my 5th coloring book project, Witch’s Brew, then was off to the East Coast for a long overdue visit with my family, came home to do a local festival, and then I had to get the final draft of The Witch’s Cauldron into the publisher – no rest for the wicked! But I’ve got a slew of blog posts brewing!)

I’ve spent many a year alongside the Pacific Ocean and visited much of the land it touches. I respect it, understand it, but it’s not my ocean and we both know that.  We make polite small talk and keep up the courtesies well enough, but I belong to the spirit of the Atlantic. 

The Atlantic Ocean always calls me home.  According to legend, I was formed on its shores, practically born in it, and raised at its edge for most of my young life.  I know what it looks like at all hours of the day and night and can read the moods of her waves and currents like a language. I am deeply familiar with the patterns she etches on the beach and the life that teems within it and alongside it.  I’ve seen her sparkle full of diamonds on bright clear mornings, churn and froth with hurricanes, and sing like a siren under the eye of the full moon.

The other week, I spent a lot of time alongside and in the Atlantic Ocean, being welcomed back, enjoying the company of my family and my beloved.  Yet my favorite visit was the evening I walked down to the ocean by myself, as the sun began to sink from the sky, arriving at the beach as the veil of dusk descended.

ocean-view
Photo of the shore at dusk by the author

I’ve spent countless hours of my life visiting the ocean at this hour.  The sky, the ocean, and the beach all take on a luminosity not seen at any other time.  It’s as if the whole world is made of mother-of-pearl – iridescent, ethereal, otherworldly.  There’s a quiet sense of introspection – no one you encounter at the beach at this time is here to chat or play.

The sand still holds the heat of the sun from the day, while the ocean seems to meet the temperature of your skin as the night air cools.  You become acutely aware of being in a liminal space that has just been opened before you.  We are between night and day, time and space, this world and the next.

All the marks and sigils you draw in the sand are gently erased by her bubbling fingers. Everything said to the ocean is pulled away gently in a loving embrace by the waves, word by word, drawn to the heart of her.  And then she speaks.

She has been here before and always.  She has seen it all, seen so many of us come and go.  She will continue on without us, swallowing us up again, reaching into our souls.  She is endless, timeless, birthing and destroying simultaneously.  She creates and steals dreams. Our lifetimes are but a blink to her, but she still makes us, owns us, loves us.

self-portrait by the author
self-portrait by the author

The wisdom of the ocean says that no matter how hard we try to forge a lasting mark on the earth, eventually everything is erased and forgotten.  BUT in that brief moment  we live, we are individual specks of sand that make up a shoreline that borders the timeless.  We matter to those we come in contact with, forming patterns as the waves wash against and with us.  In the liminal space between earth, sky, and water, we are all diverse individuals marveling at the wonder of the world, both alone and together.  We are unique, yet the same from afar. As tides change, we may feel that we are or are not of a community, but yet regardless we’re all there, intermingling and weathering the waves.  We are alone by design and by our own minds, yet never alone – as we’re all there at the edge, accepting the kisses of the ocean.

Listen, listen underneath the noise, can you hear her?  She roars, she screams, she sings, she calls, and she whispers all at once. She tells us of all the offerings, wishes, and tears she has taken into her, and of every gift that she has given.  Everything ebbs and flows, gives, and takes, advances and recedes.

Breathe in the dampness, taste the salt, feel the spray against your skin and the silk of the sand beneath your feet.  Feel the breakers flow around your legs, rushing softly to the shore.  Sink gently in the sand as she pulls back, and allow the waves to take away the burdens of your heart and mind.  As the next wave advances, feel the bounty of blessings flowing around you, refreshing your heart and mind.  Be filled with the magick of the moment and give thanks.

Even when you are far away from her, the ocean will hold you in her heart.  She knows you will be back. She’s seen it all before.

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