Are Sea Witches and Water Witches the same? This was a question asked in a group this week and I thought, well heck! That is a great question and there are going to be a bouquet of answers so this would make a pretty great blog post!
First let’s start by defining what a Sea Witch is and what a Water Witch is. Though these definitions are my own based on what the general witch/ pagan population is defining them at this time, there will be exceptions to the rule and really it is important to note that these are not rules at all, more like really loose guidelines.
Sea Witches usually define themselves as a witch that works with sea and ocean energies. Their altar may include beach sand and ocean water from their local beach or beaches they have visited worldwide. They also may choose to perform magic along the shore or with ocean treasures such as beach glass, shells, driftwood, bones, stones and fossils. Not all sea witches work with a deity but for those that do they tend to choose sea deities such as Poseidon, Aphrodite, Stela Maris, Yemaya, or Amphitrite, or in some cases the witch is chosen by the deity. They may also choose to work with water spirits such as mermaids, oceanids, nereids or the spirit of sea monsters such as the Kraken or Leviathan. These are just a few examples of course; there are thousands of Sea and Ocean spirits to work with and some choose to work with living sea creatures such as water birds and fish or individual bodies of water as deities or entities in themselves. There are so many ways to practice sea and ocean magic and no one is correct because they all are correct! If you love the sea, it heavily influences your path and the magic you work then chances are you are a sea witch!
Now some choose to call themselves Sea Priestess, rather than witch. This is very similar to being a Sea Witch, though from my perspective a Sea Priestess has a bit of a different calling than a Sea Witch. Witches are generally concerned with magic, spirit work and divination. While a Sea Priestess may also engage in these things, they are less concerned with making pacts and bargains and more about serving. You see the path of the priestess is not one of ego or self-promotion rather it is a selfless path of service. In the case of a Sea Priestess it is a path of service to a sea or ocean deity or devotion to the ocean itself that calls one to be a Sea Priestess. You may find a Sea Priestess on the shores performing healing rituals, energy work or cleaning the shores. Of course Witches can do this as well!
The Term Water Witch is an old term that has a new meaning. Originally Water Witches were folk practitioners who would use a divining rod or rods to find water where one might dig a well or water source. However in modern times, many witches of the Watery nature have found that the term “Sea Witch” does not apply to them. Perhaps because they are land locked or perhaps because the lakes, rivers and sacred springs sing to their hearts the way the ocean does for Sea Witches. Water Witches may be found working at their home altar with beautiful sacred bowls or jars of water based potions. Others may work at a sacred water site such as a holy well where they work with the water and the spirit of the well to bring about healing. While still others may be found cleaning the shores of the local river bed and performing healing rites in a quite spot under the shade of hazel trees.
Additionally if one is drawn to priestess work and fresh water bodies there is no reason why the term Water Priestess can’t be used either. If you are in service to the water, a water deity or spirit and are actively doing work that benefits them then chances are you are doing the work of a Water Priestess.
There is absolutely no reason why a Sea Witch can’t work with water from a sacred well or a Water Witch cant work on the sea shore. There is really a very small difference between them. I believe that the term Water Witch was born out of a need to label someone who was drawn to the water path but was not near the sea or was not drawn to the sea waters as much as the other fresh water bodies.
I personally call myself a Water Witch I work with ALL water, from all over the world, from the heavens and from the depths of the earth. I can divine like the Folk Water Witch diviners and I can pull power from the waves like a typical Sea Witch, but I can also dance for rain and sing for snow and everything in-between. My path to the water came through the fresh water sources and sacred springs. It was the fresh water fae that first spoke to me and sometimes gently and sometimes fiercely showed me the path of the water. However to me, all water is sacred and important, and while my own path and spirituality lies within the Brythonic Water and Faery lore of old, the sea and every body of water on this planet is precious and deserves our honor, reverence and protection.
More about Annwyn here