Water Witches- The Craft of the Canal

Water Witches- The Craft of the Canal February 4, 2013

*This article has been updated for accuracy*

This blog has been almost exactly 9 months in the making. I chuckle at this, 9 months is the time of gestation, from conception to birth. It is also a very magical number! If you have been following my blog you know that I was in the UK last May. I wrote several blogs about my experiences, but time got away from me and finishing these blogs were last priority. Then last night as I was mindlessly clicking away at the internet I came across something that literally made me throw my hands in the air and scream “YES!!!!!!”

So lets back up to May 14th 2012. After a little drive through Cheddar gorge (UK) we made our way to Alvechurch. This is where we are supposed to pick up 2 boats. 3 Families on 2 boats, yes this will be an interesting few days. Are you lost? ok, let me back up a little bit more. Durring the industrial revolution horse and donkey pulled canal boats and then later steam-powered boats were used on a pretty intricate canal system in the UK to transport goods, much like our trucking system or train system. They weaved in and out of the cities through the countryside making goods more accessible to people. The people that worked the Canals were a mix of Dutch immigrants, Romani, and Nomads. Soon these people began to live on the canal. Their homes were “narrowboats” much like our single wide trailers, but on the water, and in the 1800s! Now they have become either the way of the modern water nomad or little vacation homes for crazy tourists much like yours truly. You can pick your boat out, rent it for however long you like, and cruise a variety of canal systems. There are pubs and shops along the sides of the canal in many cases. In other cases, you have to either park and walk or let some continue driving, go get groceries, and come back. The boats only go about 4 mps, so there is plenty of time. I personally like the little farm shops, that offer fresh sausage, bacon, pies, and fruits.

It was on one of the beautiful quiet days the sun was out, and I was looking at the muddy waters, thinking how beautiful and mysterious the waters were.This is when I had that moment. I knew there was something, something magical, something pulling me. At the time I felt more at home there on the canal than I was in Glastonbury a week before. I didn’t understand why, I just kept telling D. that there is just something, something I can’t place my finger on. These waters hold magic, I thought it was a muddy watery siren that perhaps was calling me. I could feel the magic. I remember saying to D. that these people are Nomads perhaps Rromani, they are water nomads, they HAVE to practice magic! They just have to. So then I began to take photos of other boats, proof that there was something magical in these boats. It wasn’t until last night that I had that proof!

Do you see the sun and moon on these boats?

Image by Annwyn taken during my stay on the canal in 2012
Image by Annwyn
Image by Annwyn

So here is some evidence that the sun and moon are important. There were also symbols like castles, roses, Celtic knot work, and things that resemble the Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs. I even saw a cauldron on the top of one boat.
So While we were on the canal I gathered up as much as I could find from the little canal side shops. I looked for books and trinkets. I found a few books that I haven’t dug into yet, but they look promising. Also a guide on how to paint the beautiful Castles and Roses. Many people make their lives on the Canal’s. There was a very fun Welsh water Gypsy that had been carving mushrooms out of wood and were for sale. (see photo at the bottom) So I had taken my experiences with me, and that was that………

Now we arrive back to yesterday. I was perusing the internet, nothing special, I was longing for water, its time for me to take a dip in mother nature’s waters. (The bath can only hold me for so long. Looks like next week is a trip to Cali or possibly another watery spot.) I found an article on the web  Called Water Witches. I was happy to find it, thought it would be about Water Witchery, but it wasn’t quite what I expected! It was so much more, it was all about the ways of the Canal, and how these people were called Water Witches. Because of copy write laws, I can’t post the article but you can visit it  HERE

(It has recently been brought to my attention since I have posted this link. The website has been updated to include questionable and discriminatory information. When the link was originally posted in 2013 it was a bare-bones website that contained mostly text. The information on that single page may have been plagiarized as well. I have removed the link as to not share or promote it. It has been almost a decade since I visited that page. While my love for Canal boats continues I have focused my research on other areas of Celtic and Brythonic Folklore.)

One thing about the article that it mentions is the “Wheel” If you look at the photo below you can see it here. I am thinking that it is much like your 6 pointed star, (As above so below) but if anyone else has information on what this means PLEASE share it with me. So here I am 9 months later, I have finally confirmed that my intuition was right. For my Empath friends and students, sometimes it takes this long or longer to confirm your feelings, so stay strong because most likely you are right! I Belong to these waters, and one day when I have won the lottery I will be buying one of these boats and living on them. Yes, these waters are dirty, and not fit to even touch, but there is something magical about them, they hold mystery, magic and NOW I know they hold the secrets of the Occult………..

Image by Annwyn
Image by Annwyn
Image by Annwyn

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