For most of my adult life as a witch, I’ve claimed to be a fire woman (in fact, FireWoman was a magickal name for a time) or an air woman (Queen of Swords, anyone?). Occasionally I’d undertake some work with earth, which was really about connecting with my body in some way. Water though? Water visited in the form of dreams – dreams where giant waves were waiting to pound me flat, to suffocate me, where there was no hope of swimming to the surface. Think the beach scene from Deep Impact.
Seriously. I still can’t watch that scene. It gives me the willies.
Still, the ocean has long been a source of infinite energy for me. I feel amazing after a visit to the beach, even more so if it’s stormy. Seems paradoxical, doesn’t it? I’m drawn to the ocean when it’s stormy, but I have nightmares about being crushed by a giant wave.
So the dream interpreter inside says it’s about fear of emotion. And I think that’s true for the most part. So I’ve avoided water as a guiding element, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unconsciously. Water gods or goddesses? No thanks. Tarot cards? Yeah, I’ll probably draw the five of cups.
Except recently, that has NOT been the case. And in April, for the first time in many years, I felt a call to the ocean, and it was a call from Manannán mac Lir. While in northwestern Washington, I saw a pod of whales in the wild for the first time in my life. I couldn’t tear myself away from the beach. And I couldn’t shake the image of a man wanting to guide me through the water. I knew who it was, but I was essentially in denial. Called by a god? A god of the water? Of the body of water most likely to create that crazy wave I dream about? Yes. Called by a god. A god of water, and mist, and liminal spaces. Called by Manannán mac Lir. And then the correspondences started to pile up.
- My house (like most wild places in Oregon) is surrounded by wild blackberry, a plant sacred to Manannán.
- My wand, which I’d waited nearly two years to carve, was of alder, a tree sacred to Manannán.
- In this season of spring, my house is surrounded by yellow flowers which are – surprise! – sacred to Manannán mac Lir.
- He has ties to goddesses I’ve worked with over the years, with Áine and Brighid.
- The centerpiece of the tattoo on my back has the triskelion in the center – a symbol associated with (among other things) Manannán mac Lir.
Manannán is a psychopomp, which figures, given that I’ve been working so hard to deal with the passing of my father and my daughter, as well as facing transitions, death and again, liminal spaces in other areas of my life. His stories of misting out the past to focus on the present make sense to me, as I spend far too much time thinking about what’s behind me (occasionally what’s ahead) and rarely on the now.
I’ve been visiting the sea at least once a week, listening. I’ve opened space on my altar. I’ve opened a space in my life. I’m kind of excited to feel called. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt that kind of connection.
Coming to peace with water too, both in the sense of literal disaster waves (I do live near a tsunami zone, after all) and in the sense of emotion. The latter is more of a struggle, but it’s work I’m doing, albeit mostly on my own.
What gods are you working with? Who calls to you?