Elements

Fluidity and Grace

I jump back into her arms over and over again, but I’m not really mastering the backstroke.  I’m just letting her catch me, because I’m scared that I’ll drown.  My swimming instructor, a very tan and capable Red Cross lifeguard, realizes that she will get nowhere with a five year-old who doesn’t like to be in over her head.  So, we’re doing the only thing I’m comfortable with at the moment, although I’m far behind the other students.  I miss the security of my orange water wings, and I’d rather be lying on a beach towel staring up at the clouds.  I look over at my cousin, a Pisces, who really does swim like a fish.  I swim like a stone, a double earth sign with a Virgo sun and a Capricorn moon.  I do not like the water, and I’m certain it doesn’t like me.  I hate the feeling of sinking down beneath it, not knowing if I’ll resurface, if I’ll ever breathe again.  I muddle through the lessons until the end of the week when we must demonstrate that we’ve learned the basics, but when I hear the coach’s whistle…I freeze.  The community pool might as well be the English Channel, because there is no way I can swim across with the other kids. Crying and humiliated, I climb the steps leading out of the pool.  My fear of the water has conquered me. 

I wish I could say that I went on to become a confident swimmer and diver, but that didn’t happen.  Still preferring to have a firm foundation beneath me, I can dog paddle just enough to stay afloat.  I enjoy wading and being near large bodies of H2O, but when it comes to being submerged in the stuff, water and I have never come to agreeable terms.

So, how does this affect my spiritual practice?  As a witch, I believe in striving to balance all four elements within myself.  It’s a basic principle of Hermetics, but it’s not an easy one to master.  I can ground myself without much effort—earth is the easiest element for me to access, because I have so much of it in my astrological chart.  Air is also quite easy, since I am ruled by Mercury.  I love to communicate my ideas to the world through writing and to be engaged in stimulating conversation.  Fire always draws me toward its light and heat—I married an Aries, and I have several friends who are Leos and Sagittarians.  Their radiating warmth counterbalances my cool, quiet earthiness.  But water?  Fuhgettaboutit.

Water corresponds with emotions, feelings, the subconscious, the womb…things I should connect with easily as a woman, but honestly, I hate drama.  I don’t like being out of control or jumping into the unknown…or floating without any sure destination.  I realize there’s nothing wrong with having a good cry once in a while or even tearing up over a sappy movie.  Grief certainly has its place, too, but accessing deep emotion for me is like digging a well through solid granite.  I have to work for those cathartic releases, and the work is usually unpleasant.

At times, I’ve even felt like water was out to get me.  When I’m stressed and all out of sorts, water shows up in my dreams.  The bridge is washed out, and I’m trying to get across.  The hurricane is coming, and I’m trapped in a high rise hotel.  My car goes over the bank into a river, and I’m drowning.  Water is always the element that shows up to remind me that I need to s-l-o-w down and go within…although I wish it would find less frightening ways to get its message across!

One of many things I’ve learned on my path is that the Goddess continually moves me into situations where I must face whatever is holding me back.  Last August, I moved from Atlanta to Savannah to be with my boyfriend (now husband) who is active duty military.  I remember looking at Savannah on the map and freaking out a little when I saw all of the rivers, inlets, and of course the mighty Atlantic Ocean, just spreading out there in a lovely shade of robin’s egg blue.  Oh no!  Water…miles and miles and miles of it…would be all around me.  There was simply no escaping it this time, but I packed up the U-haul and moved anyway—for love—and it was the right choice.

This tidal marshland has opened me up to a softer side of nature and of myself.  The live oaks and the herons convey patience and wisdom.  The tide comes in and goes out, reminding me to keep a steady rhythm in all things.  The sacred wheel seems to turn with an easier, more forgiving pace here.  The longer I stay, the more I am learning to move with fluidity and grace, just like the water that flows through this land.

***

It is Mother’s Day 2012, and I am sitting cross-legged on the dock behind our condo, which overlooks a channel and a green, abundant marshland as far as the eye can see.  The wind whips my hair about, and the overcast skies provide welcome relief from the sun.  I close my eyes and slow my breathing, silently calling upon Yemaya, the African Goddess of the sea.  Yemaya assessu, Assessu Yemama, Yemaya olodo, Olodo Yemaya…I ask her to keep my family together through whatever lies ahead and to keep our love strong, even in the face of war.  The song of a red-winged blackbird, symbol of Binah and the Dark Goddess, awakens me from my meditation.  He perches just a few yards away, and I marvel at his impressive plumage and the way he gives himself over to the melody that must be voiced.  I know that Yemaya has sent him to assure me that my request has been heard, that she is always nearby in this magical place where the river meets the sea.

3 thoughts on “Fluidity and Grace

  1. That is wonderful I love your writing skill! However I noticed that you ask the question “Water is always the element that shows up to remind me that I need to s-l-o-w down and go within…although I wish it would find less frightening ways to get its message across!”! It is you asking your self to face your fear the little mind killer face it and let it sweep past you embrace it and after it has passed you will be the one standing and still there, I am an Air person Libra and Heights freak me out, I still get a puckered feeling when 30 feet or higher hahaha. But I have repelled from higher, been swept up into helicopters as they do a Calvary exit, nose down and sweeping forward at a high rate of speed as I dangle on a jungle penetrator being sucked up into it. And WATER scuba terrified me so in I went and now its like being in space, slow, calm, and peaceful. We are the limits and WE choose when those limits effect us, I have met you and I think you can do what you set your mind to. So it sounds like you have set this as a barrier to halt you until it is time for you to defeat and grow past this hurtle. Or it could be because of a past life incident which if you regress and face it, it will fall away as (excuse the pun) water off a ducks back. So pick a time and bring down the wall!!!!!! And thank you for the article! Oh and you can delete this as soon as you read it it is of no import hahaha just my ramblings! later

  2. Ah, so it’s like the litany from Dune…

    “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing……Only I will remain.”

    Everything in life really is mind over matter. You mentioned past life regression…the last time I attended a Balance meetup, they did a brief reiki session on me. Libby said that I have traveled a great deal in past lives…difficult travels over long distances. She saw me going across the country in a wagon. Anne kept sensing that I was in a boat, rocking back and forth on the waves. In this lifetime, I hate being confined in a car, plane or whatever for more than a few hours. So, there is most likely some trauma there…slave ship? Titanic? Who knows? Maybe I’ll go to their soul retrieval meetup this Friday and see if I can explore this further. 🙂

    1. Yes I am going friday as well. I think I was a rock last time I seem to have a hard time going back so I think Lib is going to try a one on one and try to hypno crash me into the past hahahaha and yes I always liked the Dune litany but liked my twist a little its what I used on several occasions. But the article was great and I hope you crush that block and learn the way of the water ;-)!!!!!!!

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