Most people are familiar with sea witches and sea witchcraft. It seems as if, like the village witch, the sea witch has been recognized as a solitary powerful path by the general community. Of course sea witchcraft is not limited to solitary practitioners, as I know of a few sea witch covens around the globe, but often times sea witches are inclined to carve their own path, similar to the way a river might carve it’s own path through stones. Water witches, like the Sea Witch, are drawn to the water. Water witches are drawn not only to the ocean, but they feel and must answer the call of river water, lake water, canals and even the rain. Like the sea, these bodies of water are seductresses. They pull at our heart strings and torture our spirit; pining and raging like an ocean in a storm. I have heard whispers of those that say they have Mermaid or Selkie blood and also of those that have had past lives as such creatures; perhaps they are true and perhaps it is just the seduction of the mysterious waters. What is known, is that the water calls to us, it pulls us in and we feel empty and lost with out it.
A water witch is simply one that works witchcraft with water. Over the years I have found some that are skeptical, and others that deeply understand my words. It is very interesting that Sea Witches seem to be accepted by the pagan world, but Water Witches are not. However, with the recent publishing of Whist Waters by Gemma Gary, it seems as if the Witchcraft community is finally interested in accepting Water Witchcraft as well. It makes sense; water is everywhere. It is not just the ocean or large lakes, it is the rain, the swamps, large rivers and seasonal streams etc. Water is essential to our life; we cannot go without water for longer than a few days without death. Our bodies are made up of a considerable portion of water. We know from Dr Masaru Emoto’s work with water (which I will discuss below) that even the slightest word can create a change in water, and how that word is spoken influences the outcome of that change. When we put these thoughts about water and change together with the definition of magic…
“the science and art of causing Change to occur in conformity with will”
“the art of changing consciousness in accordance with will”
We end up with a very clear picture of how powerful water magic can be. In short, since we know that words and intent influence the structure of a water molecule and that magic is change according to will and will and intent are almost synonymous then we have a basic formula for Water magic. Intent + water = a visual change. In a way, we can even see the magic take place!
When we look at Water Magic as a practice, utilizing it in either small (rain, wells, etc) or large quantities (lakes, ocean etc), it is very clear that chanting, spells, incantations, sigils, and many more magical practices can be incorporated and the result is incredibly powerful. For hundreds of years Holy Wells have been revered for their powers of both cursing and healing. Such bodies of water include the famous hot springs at Bath. The hot baths, shrines and a temple dedicated to Sulis, the Goddess that presides over the hot springs, are known to heal, but are also known for its curse tablets, where over 300 were found. Many bodies of water like the Glastonbury red and white wells contain their own properties which are enhanced by the calcium and iron deposits. For hundreds of years Clootie have been hung over sacred wells in the UK. This was practiced widely from Wales to Scottland and still is today. The famous Mother Shipton, witch and oracle, lived by a sacred spring and can still be visited today. Not suprisingly her name is Ursula Southeil (interesting connection to Disney’s little mermaid!) As you can see both Folklore and Science support the idea of water magic.
Water Witchcraft, as I stated before, is very similar to Sea Magic and Sea Witchcraft. Sea Witches usually stick to the sea shore, however water witches will be found just about everywhere. Near lakes, rivers, holy wells etc. Tools are usually gathered from the shoreline and oftentimes shells, driftwood, and plants are their tools of choice. Water Witches will most often blend Sea magic with their craft. Focusing on tides, moon cycles, and so much more. Since there is no specific Water Tradition (with one exception) you will find that most sea/water witches practice very differently. Some incorporate water and sea spirits, fae or deity into their practice, while others believe that there is no religion associated with their practice at all. These topics are very popular in the pagan community and chat boards, and though they do influence water/sea magic, they are not a topic I am going to discuss here and for one very simple reason; No one will ever agree! Water witches will also find that they differ in their beliefs, the one thing that binds us together is Water in her many forms. For me, a Water witch’s practice can be defined by Magic that is focused around water, water creatures living and dead, spirits that are associated with water, and if one wishes Goddess and Gods associated with Water.
** The one exception in tradition I mention above is The Water Witches in the UK. There is very limited information on them however. They are part of a group of people that were very much like gypsies, but their homes were floating barges. There is no particular tradition and with limited information it is hard to say how they practiced. However what we do know is they were wandering people of the industrial revolution that lived on the water canals in the UK. Many people still live this way today, but I am not sure if they exist in the same manner. I call this a tradition because it was a group of people that practiced for years in a similar way, and many were family. You can read about my own adventures on these mysterious canals here.
There are many different types of water; fresh water lakes and the ocean are not the only types and many hold as much power and mystery such as the muddy waters of the Uk Canals, sacred wells, and swamps. Many sea witches work with brackish water and so do water witches. There is so much magic in the brackish waters of the Calvert cliffs. Large Megolodon teeth can be found on the shores, and stingrays swim circles in the early morning on the calm glassy surface of the pale blue and gold water with the sun rising in the east. The shores are full of healing and death, with yarrow growing among the poison hemlock on the banks of the shore speaking of balance and bane. Large predators once roamed the waters and the stings of the jellyfish are fierce. Oh how glorious to watch the storm come across the waters…
Swamp water is also full of mystery and poison. Toads, snakes and spiders lurk with in the grooves of a hollowed cypress tree, tall nubs of the cypress trees roots peek above the surface of the waters. Swamp waters can be found all over the world. Most commonly known would be the Florida Everglades and the Bayou of Louisiana. Any type of magic you can imagine can be practiced in this type of water, from natural magic to voodoo. However I will say, I do not think that ceremonial magic would be suited for this type of environment
Lakes and Fountains hold so much mystery and mythology. The Lady of the lake has to be the most famous account of water magic taking place in a lake. There are several tales of Ladies of the Fountain and Lake Ladies and their magical gardens, healing powers, and bargains.
Rain, Snow, Hail and storm energy in general is very interesting to work with as well. I personally collect water everywhere I go. Often times I label and date it with what type of storm it was. As you can imagine, a summer sun shower would be beautiful warm energy, and hail and a lightning storm pack a VERY powerful punch and can be incorporated into magical workings that need the extra push or used to curse. There is nothing like sitting on the banks of a large body of water, watching a terrible storm roll in. Many water witches enjoy this type of weather, and pull energy from the storm as well as send spells out and let the roaring winds and waters weave the magic.
Types of water you can work with include, sea, brackish, lakes, rivers, distilled, hydrosol, swamps, snow, hail, rain, ponds, canals, seasonal creeks, sacred wells and other bodies of water. Really there is no limit to how you can use water magic! I find that Water Witches are attracted to bottles, bowls, and other vessels. They are often found beach combing or searching the banks of rivers and lakes. Many I have spoken with are drawn to some sort of mythological water spirit or creature such as Mermaids, Selkie, and Lake Ladies. Many love to swim, boat, and are often found in the bath. Interestingly, astrological charts seem to indicate a strong lean towards water, often times having a Water rising sign as well as a Watery moon. However this is not a hard fast rule and it does vary. Often times, Water witches are very good at water scrying, divination with shells or bones found along the shoreline. Almost every Sea/Water witch I have met is a bit of a magpie and will collect shells, wood, glass etc from the water and create shrines or water based altars. Many work with tea, sacred baths, healing waters, holy wells, hydrosols, and water based sprays. I will blog more about how to work with different bodies of water and how to work with them in the future.
Annwyn Avalon, Author
Published on The Water Witch