Water is our last element for our healing energy series.
The power of water (and I heard the Captain Planet intro as I typed that. Sorry.) cannot be denied. Human beings are mostly water, as is the earth, so, when it comes to sympathetic magic, like truly works with like. I believe it is important that we view our bodies of water as living organisms, because if our waters are healthy, it will be reflected in our own bodies. The health of the waters also directly influences the health of the soil, and vice versa. Water, like Earth, is a feminine, nurturing element, and, when both are balanced, the two tend to support each other. Water signs tend to get along with Earth signs. Emotional Water likes the steady, comforting, warm presence of Earth, and Earth is soothed by the cleansing, fertile inspiration of Water. Earth cradles Water, and Water helps Earth make new life. Don't think Air and Fire are left out. The warmth of the sun helps seeds sprout and the wind helps spread the seed to their new homes. All the elements are needed; it's simply that, just as Air and Fire feed each other (sometimes whipping each other into frenzies) Earth and Water just mesh.
Water is the energy of deep feelings. We "well up" with emotion. The sea inside can be calm and sunny, or froth-capped in irritation or anxiety. When out of balance, the emotions become a tsunami, threatening to wipe out all other aspects of the personality, including rationale, intellect, motivation, and esteem for self and others.
On a positive note, Water is the energy of compassion and empathy. It is the element of shared tears, and we spend nine months curled up warm and safe in its embrace. It is any wonder Water energy, as well as Earth energy, is the energy of mothers and children, and of nurturing?
Water energy is tremendously healing because it embraces and cleanses. It cools a fever and warms a chill. It not only accepts but wraps itself around anyone who chooses to step into it, without any discrimination or judgment. In this way, Water is the energy of unconditional love. It's a salve to anger, self-loathing, and anxiety.
Since Water can be hot or cold, and can exist in different material states (as a solid, liquid, or gas) it is extremely versatile and adaptable. This is where the admittedly cliche term "go with the flow" comes from. If you tap into (see what I did there? I can't stop!) Water energy, you will find that it helps you calmly relax into your tasks and comfortably fit in to tight situations, just as water used to mop a floor effortlessly rolls into all the nooks and crannies and covers the floor like a blanket.
Water is also the element of the subconscious. The ocean has been compared to outer space because of all the treasures and terrors it hides from us. We have our own ocean inside of us--it is where all our dreams and memories are stored. It is where universal truth can be discovered through meditation. It is, according to Jung, where our primordial knowledge lies, and where the archetypes dwell. As such, this energy is transcendent. It propels us into other realms. It carries us on its currents through darkness (and sometimes through the sewers). If consciousness is like a river, then its head begins at the deepest part of the subconscious.
A good way to manifest creative ideas in reality, or to alleviate artist's block, is to free write or doodle--move your pen and write without any censoring or knowing where the train of thought is going. This is a good way to access that river of the subconscious, which is always brimming with ideas. When your words and shapes flow like a river, it bursts through any blockages and allows the ideas to come. This is a good use for Water energy. It is extremely helpful for when your imagination feels all parched and chapped.
Water is the energy of dreams and secrets. When you pay attention to your dreams, you are tapping into Water energy, the energy of the subconscious. These are watery visions, not always clear, like images viewed through water. Just because you cannot see to the bottom of the pond does not mean there is nothing there, however. Looking through water helps you learn how to tell truth from illusion. It also makes you brave. Are you willing to dive deeper into yourself?
The elemental spirits of Water are Undines. There are variations of the Undine--sometimes they are depicted as tiny water sprites, and sometimes as being identical to mermaids. A similar creature that I think of as a Water elemental is the Selkie, or Seal-Woman of Celtic folklore. A Selkie could remove her seal skin and become a woman, and, if a man found her seal-skin and hid it, she couldn't go back to the water, and had to marry him. However, even if she fell in love with her husband, and had children with him, she would still go back to the sea if she ever found her seal-skin. This, to me, is an apt metaphor for Water energy people--they always are yearning for love, and their true homes. Water is associated with parental/child love, and the bonds Water energy people can forge are unbreakable.
If You're Drowning
The best counters for Water are, naturally, Fire and Air. So if you find yourself feeling weepy, or sorrowful, or unable to stop giving, or having mood swings, try these:
1) Work out. I'm not going to go into the scientific proof that exercise is good for your mental state, because it is--it releases endorphins and other chemicals in the brain that relieve stress in depression. It also increases Fire and Air energy.
2) Get out in fresh air. If you aren't afraid of heights, go someplace high up, like a balcony, a roof, or a tree. Take a panoramic view.
Visualization for Forgiveness of the Self and Others
If you are feeling lonely, unloved, or hateful, or are having trouble forgiving someone (or yourself), imagine stepping into a pool of water. If you can step into a pool or a bathtub in real life, so much the better. A visualization will work just as well on dry land, though, provided you let yourself really get into it.
As with all the visualizations, make sure you get yourself into a place where you can be relaxed and undisturbed for at least 20 minutes. Begin by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position. Breathe naturally for a few moments. As you pay attention to your breath, you will find it slows and deepens.
Imagine that you are approaching a pool. The pool is deep blue and turquoise. The sand around it is soft and warm. If you find the night more calming, imagine the water reflects the clear sky, and all the stars in it.
Step into the pool. The water is silky, and smells like jasmine. You splash your face with some of it. As it touches your face, you feel a loosening. This loosening comes from a cleansing of any guilt or shame you may be feeling. It floats away like grime, carried by the gentle lapping of the water. You may decide to pour some of the water over yourself, washing everything away. Or, you may dunk yourself, like a baptism, and have a little rebirth--the symbolic intention of baptism.
Imagine someone you are angry with, or afraid of, standing at the edge of the pool. This person is unable to harm you in any way. He dangles his toes over the edge of the water. You make eye contact with him. He asks you, either verbally or wordlessly, if he can step in.
If the thought upsets you, don't force yourself to welcome this person into your healing pool. Perhaps, in time, with repeated practice of the visualization, you will be able to give your assent, and the person may enter the pool.
You may already feel welcoming to this person. If so, he may simply join you. If you'd like, you can also gently splash him with the water, as well, or carefully anoint them with the water. Don't dunk them, as you might get a little carried away (just kidding). This person leaves whenever you want him to.
When you feel you are ready, gently rise from the pool. The sun shines gently, or the stars sparkle brightly. The path welcomes you back home. If you are doing this in the bathtub, you can visualize your feelings of guilt, shame, and/or anger being sucked down the drain when you release the stopper.
Visualization for Greater Self-Awareness
Find your place where you will be uninterrupted, a place where you will feel safe and cozy. Focus on your breathing, and relax. In this visualization, you are diving into your own subconscious, so, wherever a question is asked, don't think to hard about the answer. Let the images and words pop up to the top, like ducks bobbing on a lake. Just let it flow.
Visualize yourself walking on a beach. The sand is soft and fine under your feet. The waves are the breath of the world as they move in and out with the tide. The water is cool and pleasant, and a shade of deep blue. Around you are bountiful seashells of pearl and peach and blush. Among them are chips of onyx glittering smooth. As you walk along, picking them up, you notice they lead you right up to the rocky part of the beach. The land slopes upward from the rocks here, and inside the slope, you see a cave mouth.
The floor of the cave mouth is damp and smooth. Through the middle of it runs a little stream that begins deep within the cave. The little stream is lined with rocks that make perfect stepping stones. You step from rock to rock, following the stream.
As you go deeper into the cave, it becomes lit from within with phosphorescent colors. Pay attention to the colors your subconscious picks for this exercise. Pink is innocent and happy. Yellow is sunny, but can also be sickly to indicate fear. Green may be dark and cool, encouraging calmness and objectivity. It may also be oozy and gangrenous.
No matter what the color, you are not afraid. You feel a sense of well-being, and excitement about what you will discover.
You reach the end of the path, to the mouth of the stream, and find yourself in a magnificent grotto, lined with precious gems and stones, stalagmites and stalactites, and looking at them is like finding shapes in the clouds--quick! what form do your stones shape? Are they castles? Dragons? Reclining mermaids? Monsters with wide jaws, or wolves with wise eyes of amber? What do these shapes tell you? Do you see a humongous cluster of rubies in their pure state, forming what you swear looks like a Ferrari?
Do the stones sparkle, or are they dim?
Waterfalls flow down the walls and into the pool. Droplets spray up and land softly on your lips and cheeks. It tastes like ice wine--sweet and cool. Looking at the surface of the pool, you see the colors that swirl around the edge. Are these colors greens, yellows, and blues? Or are they the colors of the sunset? Maybe the water is murky, and yet, no matter how murky the water is, you still are not afraid.
You step into the pool and swim until your feet can't touch the ground. And then you dive.
You swim deeper and deeper, and as you go you realize you can breathe. This is a relief, and it gives you confidence. If you feel a little nervous, that's okay. Just keep breathing deeply. The deeper you go, the more you feel yourself relaxing into sinking deeper, and deeper.
Then, you're at the bottom.
Now, what do you see?
What does it look like?
What is waiting for you, or who?
What do they have to say?
Is there an object? Can you take it back with you?
Spend as much time here as you need. Then, gently breathe yourself back up. Imagine that each breath brings you closer, and higher, and closer to the surface. You see the lights of the grotto getting brighter, and brighter.
When you break the surface and swim to the rocks, take a moment to enjoy the feel of the water. This is your subconscious. It is a safe, nurturing place, even when it seems scary. It can be tough, but once you explore it, and trust it, it will be your wise coach, your friend, even your savior.
Once you are out of the cavern, stay as long as you'd like in a relaxed, meditative state.