Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Practicals: The Element of Water

Since the lewdness with the fire elemental I had been doing everything in my power to avoid water.  It finally occurred to me that the elementals could manifest whenever they wanted to and it didn't matter when I called them or not.  The last thing I wanted was to be pulled from this world while working or something of the like.  So, I had been avoiding water in all forms at all costs.

I carried tea or coffee with me to work.  There was no sense in me being pulled into a water bottle.  If I drank water, it was in an eight ounce shot and all at once.  I simply couldn't chance being pulled into that realm.  

My days rolled on and summer turned into autumn.  I hadn't seen any of the guys whom I'd had my first elemental experience with in a few months now.  I just didn't couldn't face them knowing that our experiences were so different.  Kim had recently emailed me and told me that he'd been pulled into the realm of water on a scuba excursion.  I wasn't surprised like he was and I certainly didn't want to get in touch with my emotional side like he had.

Determined to not have any more elemental experiences, I focused my life solely on the mundane.  There was no room for baths, only showers.  No pasta to boil, vegetables, or hand-washing dishes.  No water.  I even let flowers I'd received go unwatered.  

So, my life becomes isolated and I'm pretty okay with that.  I'm not so much okay with not drinking a lot of water, but I can deal with it.  Then, it starts raining one Saturday morning as I am out on my run.  Of course, I panic.  It isn't supposed to be raining.  The weather guy got it all wrong.

In my panic, I step through a puddle and into the realm of water.  Of course, I panic harder because I can't breathe under water.  Then, large hydra unfurls itself and its seven arms.  In my panic, I freeze and, dimwittedly, begin to breathe.  "Oh," the hydra says, "it seems that you can breathe?"

If I had eyelids, I would blink.  Instead, I touch my neck and find gills.  "Yes, you have gills." The hydra speaks again.  "Before you try to leave or panic again, you should know by now that you do not get to choose.  You do not get to decide when we bring you into our realm.  Now, sit."

Not knowing what else to do, I obey.  I sit in the sediment.  "Kim got a mermaid," I said stupidly, still not believing any of this.  

"You aren't Kim," the hydra replies.  "I am the many-headed creature who is the keeper of humanity's righteousness and lack thereof.  Upon my heads are the sins and virtues of your kind.  This is what you will come to know."

I'm no longer scared or worried.  I'm pissed off.  "Sins and virtues?  Water Elemental, you sound like my mother after she has had a rousing conversation with her priest.  It's hogwash."

The Water Elemental replies, a bit surprised.  "Hogwash?  Upon my heads sit the actions of your kind which are killing the Mother and the actions needed to heal the Mother."

One of its heads comes down, close to my face and it leers at me.  "I am Lust," it whispers seductively, baring sharp teeth twisted in a devilish grin.  "I don't just want to fuck every beautiful creature upon the face of creation, I want to take everything it has.  I want its home.  I want its food supply.  I want its children.  I want its life!  Only taking more will satisfy me!  Only having everything will satisfy me!"

The head then abruptly turns 90 degrees.  "I am Altruism," it whispers innocently.  "I look around me and I see the interconnectedness.  I see that every creature depends upon every other creature.  I want to help it see its highest potential.  I want to help it evolve into what it is meant to be.  Only giving will satisfy me."

It pulls away just as suddenly as it came down, but a second head quickly takes its place.  "I am Indifference," it says, obviously bored.  "Unlike Lust, who wants more, I just don't care.  If it doesn't take away from me, then it isn't my problem.  If it doesn't hurt me, then it isn't my problem.  I look out only for me and for my own benefit."

That head then turns ninety degrees and says, "I am Temperance.  Where Altruism needs to help one and all, I recognize that not everyone wants help.  I recognize that self-restraint is always needed.  I do what I can, when I can, but if it isn't appreciated or wanted then I move on and I do so without guilt."

The next head dips toward my face. “I am Selfishness,” it says.  “I see the world for what it is.  I recognize that everyone is out for themselves.  Some people eat themselves into an early grave because they grew up hungry.  Others starve themselves into an early grave because they were overweight.   Do not be fooled by those who give away their money and possessions.  For some of those, it is easier to feed the greed of others with material things than it is to open their hearts.  That is selfishness of spirit.  It is still selfishness.”

The head turns ninety degrees. “I am generosity. I feed the homeless man, not because I pity him, but because he is hungry. I reach out to the lonely, because no man is an island. That girl, sitting alone crying that everyone else just walks by?  I stop and ask her if she is okay.  I do this not out of some sense of duty, but because she may not be okay and she may just need to know that someone cares without wanting anything in return. Generosity is not just giving money or time.  It is giving of the Self without thought of receiving.”

Then came sloth.  “I am Sloth,” he head tells me.  “I look around me and I see many tasks that need to be taken care of.  Someone else can do them.  I look around and see that my own life is in shambles.  I do nothing.  Maybe I am also procrastination and hoplessness.  It is simply easier to do nothing.”

Once again, the head turns.  “I am diligence,” it says softly.  “I see everything as an opportunity.  I want more money, so I work harder.  I want more free time, so I get up earlier or go to bed later.  I see a friend struggling, so I offer assistance.  Diligence is carrying on despite overwhelming odds.  Does it mean I don’t, occasionally, give into my slothful Self?  No.  I do give in, however, once I have rested I go right back to the work I have set out to do. 

“You should remember, though, that sloth can take on my face. If one sets out to find someone else to do the work instead of doing it ones self, sloth has begun to wear a mask.  If you seek out people who do your work in an effort to please you, then that is just as destructive as selfishness, anger, and lust.  If you do your own work, those with the same goals as you will come along and help you on your journey.”

 On the fifth head, a face contorted with lines and aged beyond its years looks at me.  “I am anger,” it says, barely containing its wrath.  “You, Child, in your avoidance of the water realm, nearly raised my ire.  You were not acting in the way we Elementals expected you to.  That is one of my responses, though, to have unvoiced expectations and when they aren’t followed to the letter, I appear.  Then again, there is virtue in anger, sometimes.  Properly used, I can be a catalyst for great and enduring change.”

“I am kindness,” an enduringly young face says gently.  “When you can be nothing else, be kind.  Kindness costs nothing.  It is linked to compassion and love.  It is a great strength.  Asking for kindness when feeling down is an easy way to be lifted up.  Kindness is prized, in most all realms, above any of the other active emotions.  Always do your best to be kind.  You will receive kindness in return.”  

The sixth head to speak was beautiful to gaze upon, and it knew it.  "Who are you?" I asked.

"I am Pride," it told me.  "I am the greatest motivator of men aside from lust.  I convince men to take more than they need.  I assure men that lust is okay.  I demonstrate time and again how bad it feels to fail."

Before the face of Pride could finish, the head turned.  Looking upon this face was less beautiful, but certainly more peaceful.  The voice was like a melody as it spoke, "I am humility.  I sit quietly in the hearts of men and urge them into service.  Where my brother Pride is forceful, I am playful.  When he screams, I sing.  Where he stomps, I dance.  It is not pride, but humility, that coaxes the mighty oak from the tiny acorn."

As the face of humility moved away, I was touched to the very core of my being.  The humble face was so peaceful.  I could not imagine anything lovelier to behold.  That feeling was soon stripped from me as the final head dipped down.  "I am sorrow," it said.  "Things are born, they live, and then they die.  If, when they die, men are attached, I am what they feel.  I am the ultimate disconnect for the world of men.  Anger, like pride, motivates.  Sorrow creates emptiness.  Emptiness creates isolation.  Isolation creates fear.  Fear kills on so very many levels.  Remember me, Child.  Never forget who I am."

Then, Sorrow turned away and revealed a radiant face, one almost as beautiful as humility.  "Who are you?" I asked.

"I am Love," the final face replied.  "I am that place from where we all come.  Some call it God, others Nirvana, but it is simply a place of perfection.  Men can reach that place of perfection, though much of society has now forgotten how.  It is now only seen in glimpses.  Humanity must move from sorrow and back into love to survive.  Man must do so and take all of creation with it in the process.  Remember these words, Child.  Do not be afraid to become one of the elements.  Do not be afraid to walk with us in our individual perfections."

As the final arm of the hydra pulled away, I stood there quite numb.  I wanted to speak, but I could not make the words come.  I wanted... Anything.  Finally, the hydra spoke, "Now, you see just a fraction of the reasons why you were pulled here today.  You are charged with finding all of these things within yourself and showing them to the world.  You are charged with finding a way to channel these things in a constructive way and teaching others.  The oak tree begins as a single acorn.  Change begins inside and with you.  Go.  Be well."

With those three words, I found myself back on solid ground and still running.  The rain had stopped and when I looked back, I noticed that I'd only ran another half of a block.  So, I finished my run.  When I made it safely to my couch, I collapsed in a heap.  I cried.


The Element of Water is about emotions, endings, sunset, and being fluid.  It is about improvising and having the grit to keep going once the passion of fire has been cooled.   As an element, it is typically seated in the West part of the quarter.  Much in the same way Fire can burn us physically and spiritually, Water can drown us.  Water can, quickly, get overwhelming.  We all 'get in over our heads' sometimes.  Those things said, Water is also playful.  It's the light spring rain and the cold, clear creek.

As an element, water sits in the west.  It governs all emotions, death, healing, psychism and the season of Autumn. It is the Will of the magical practitioner.  When we think of water, we think of deities like Aphrodite or Neptune, maybe Lir or Njord, but we may not think of the animals who live within the depths as being able to teach us much (or maybe we do). Aside from the Great Salmon of Wisdom from Celtic mythology, have you ever meditated with or upon another sea creature?  Have you ever talked to the Lion Fish in the aquarium?  Ever swam with bass or crappie?  Have you ever thought about sitting on the bottom of the lake with the Catfish or maybe hoisted your home upon your back and traveled with crab or turtle?  Maybe a chat with Giant Squid or Hammerhead Shark is in order?

These are all meditations or journeys that can be undertaken to help a practitioner get in touch with the water element.  However, what happens when water is out of balance?  A person can be weepy, indecisive.  That person can be lackadaisical or even emotionless in extreme cases.

Activities to do to balance Water include bathing or swimming, dancing in the rain, and even having a good cry.  The important thing is to know which way one is out of balance.  Is it too much or not enough?

Spring is here in the Mid-West, so there is an abundance of physical water in the form of storms and rain showers.  When thinking about the water element, remember that water is also a conductor of electricity.

Have a blessed Spring, Friends!!