Thursday, August 02, 2012

Rituals Upon or Involving the Water Elements

One of my earliest memories of water born offerings revolves around going out on to the Chesapeake Bay. I never really understood the significance of it but my uncle would always pour a beer upon the waves ahead of the boat as we got underway. He'd never make mention to who it was for or really the why of it but stress that we'd know the difference had he not done so.

Now my uncle was anything but pagan, yet that one act was something he did everytime. Perhaps a foolish superstition that he got from being a sailor and going to sea. Yet ironically similar to an act I witnessed years later as the ship got underway and one of the guys sprinkled salt upon the waves from the bow of the ship.

Having been a sailor for 23 years myself I probably picked up a few as well. Yet where those were aimed at deep water I've noticed other's i've used that I though might make an interesting thread discussion.

I follow Artemis and Hecate / Hekate who both have an association to water and the fecundity of sea life. One of the offerings I use actually falls into the catch and release program. Only keeping what was needed and above a certain size, releasing everything else back to the water. At times asking the released creature to carry a message to the water elements or to the god / goddess.

Though I do not use it myself I wonder about the offerings of birthing clothes or ones childhood toys to Artemis upon the waves.

Other times using paper boats or messages written upon some leaf or stick carved into a wooden boat. Strickly bio-degradable for sure and utilizes one of the green or standing people's to help carry the message. Other times using a type of oragami to make the image of some bird to carry the message upon the waves and send it upon its way. The same being used for offerings of poetry, drawings, paintings etc to be offered to the water elements or gods / goddesses via the water.

One form I use is for wind born water. Write something upon bio-degradable paper or regular paper in my youth and toss it into the storm. Granted in this form it utilizes both the elements of water and air and is used to make offerings to them or send requests upon them. Sometimes even inking a small gylph type image upon the fans of Maple seeds and tossing them into the storm to have the offering or message spun about like some natural Iunx or jinx. Maple seeds have worked best for this as they make natural spinners in my experience.

Similiar to the iunx or Jinx for me is the whistle water, not its formal name but what I call it. Basically I write or wash a honoring, libation or offering into a container then spin it about my head. The water then acting like a watering can and vaporizing the water and spending it forth. The alternate being to dump the item upon the altar or into the water to carry forth the offering, honoring, libation, etc.

I don't tend to use jewelry, coins, metallic items, etc as offerings with water regardless of it being river, lake, pond, sea or ocean. In many ways in part due to the goddesses and gods I am sworn to and make offerings and libations to seem to dislike it. The various spirits seem to dis-like it as it seem's to pollute thier environments unless it is natural to them. Also due to the association I have of it being used as a bribe for passage so to me that's not an offering.

Sometimes water itself is the offering or medium used. For instance its still an offering to the house spirits in my area when you hang a clear bag of water before the door to keep out the flies and such. When you leave a crystal or river stone in or near a well to keep it from going dry and appeasing the water spirits.

In Scotland it was the tossing of a shilling into the hole near the water and bridge. It kept the little people or spirits from dragging you down into the hole. Of course in some area's it was to prevent the Water Hag or Green Hag from rising up or being tricked. Probably similiar to stories of the troll beneath the bridge. Never forget the first time I encountered that one.

Today I am more aware of the influence upon the environment so use less intrusive things. Though I also can not ignore the influence the sea and its mysteries have had upon me. Perhaps that's why I still hesitate when I hear people whistling near the oceans as it reminds me of whistling up a storm or calling forth elementials from the depths.

Granted some of these have nothing to do with offerings but fall more into superstitions. Still I hope it generates some discussions that touch upon various pathways.

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