Water, Spiritual Source

We are creatures of water.  Water is our original source as well as what makes up at least 70% of our bodies. It is part of every cell and fiber in us and is our essence.  What if water were the common denominator weaving all of life (earth, animal, human, and plant) together? Is it what connects us all?   It is pretty incredible when you realize that the water we have here on Earth right now is the same water that has always been here.   Do you suppose there are messages contained within water?  Do you think it is possible for our ancestors to speak to us through water?

When I think about water I am immediately taken down memory lane to the various “waters” I lived near or visited.  As a child I spend several summers on Hermosa Beach in Southern California where the intertidal zone reaches far out, gently sloping to deeper waters.  There is an abundant kelp forest off the shore there in the warmer Southern California waters.  For a child, kelp was the food for imagination, as we dressed ourselves in it, becoming sea monsters chasing each other about! In addition, I found pleasure in popping the pods, which sprayed seawater upon bursting.

I most remember the sand crabs tickling the bottoms of my feet as I walked out to deeper waters. The feeling was often so disturbing that I could not walk any further but had to swim!  What fun we had in scooping up great handfuls of wet sand as the waves receded and watching then squiggle and squirm to get away.  We never hurt them but allowed them to bury themselves in the sand when we released them.

As a teenager, I lived in Carmel where the intertidal zone is different.  There was very little shallow area as the ocean bottom dropped quickly. This caused very different and very dangerous currents for swimming.  There, we had far less kelp.  The kelp did not make it to shore because of the harsher impact tides against the coastline. The water was also much colder here.

As an adult, I lived for a while in Ventura, perhaps 100 miles north of my childhood home.  My favorite beach to visit was at a spot where the river came down from Ojai Valley and met the sea at Sanjon Beach.  The water, as it came onto the beach, was very slow moving, somewhat boggy and sadly, not very clean.  Many seabirds loved it and found good fishing in those waters.  Smooth river rocks covered the beach, which became sand over years of time.  I did not swim there but loved to sit on an old log and just feel the salt air and watch the birds.

As a young teenager I lived next to a lake in Massachusetts.  We were the only residents who lived there year round, the remaining houses serving as summer homes for families living in Boston.  Also, all around us were wet boggy areas filled with grasses and cattails.  In the winter, the lake and bogs froze over providing wonderful spots for ice-skating.  If you walked though the boggy areas, you could find open clearings where the grasses and reeds prevented the wind from disturbing the surface. The ice was as smooth as glass – pure black ice.  That is where I practiced my twirls and spins without fear of hitting bumps.  If you walked out far enough on the lake, you could also find patches of smooth ice.  You had to be careful of bumps and ridges coming out of nowhere.  Along the shoreline the ice was frozen in waves from the wind hitting it as it froze.  The lake and the creek running into it, provided homes for many grasses, water plants, fish, snakes, and turtles.   In the summer, I would often swim out to the center of the lake with my rowboat tied to my ankle by a rope.  There I could sit and sun, and read my book or fish for a while. At times I swam across the whole lake (about one mile)to visit a friend.

While living in Georgia, I lived in a log cabin out away from civilization on an acre and a half with a year round creek running beside the house and a pond in back.  The pond was man made and I don’t think it had been there long enough to develop much plant life.  It was however, a haven for insects and frogs! In the spring, the Spring Peepers put on a performance every evening, singing and chirping – peeping sound back and forth across the pond.  About a month later, the American Toads joined them, sending beautiful tones out across the land.  It was like a symphony between the Spring Peepers and American Toads!

One incredible moment was when a great blue heron flew in over the pond, swooping down and settling on the shore.  He took my breath away!

Some mornings I would take my coffee down to the edge of the creek.  There I would sit in my swing and listen to the rushing water.  All along the banks grew talk grasses and in one place were beautiful yellow, water iris.  I never saw any fish in the creek but I could not get very close to it because of the steep bank.  The bottom was clear but there was moss on some of the rocks.

Here in Austin, right in the middle of downtown, we have Lady Bird Lake, a man-made lake created from the Colorado River.   It is what makes Austin the lovely city that it is.  Greenbelts and parks are everywhere.  The bridges that span across it are the nesting grounds for the largest bat colony in the world.  All along the shoreline trees come right down the edge.  Most are Texas natives.  The city stocks it with bass and sunfish.  When I visit, I find ducks and other water birds, the most spectacular of which are the cormorants that sit high in the tree tops, diving into the lake for their food.

Water plays a huge role in my spiritual life, in that it calls to me to be close.  I am at home in it and beside it.  I learned to body surf with my father before I could swim.  Later, at the age of fourteen, I began teaching others to swim. After attending the Red Cross Aquatic Academy, I trained water safety instructors for the Red Cross and lifeguards for the U.S. Army.

The ocean is my biggest love.  For me it is the most nurturing and welcoming.  It is not however, all peaceful but can also be terrifying!  When I lived close enough, it was Mother Pacifica who took my pain into her healing waters.

Lakes can substitute but to me they are just not the same.  A running river makes a better substitute.  It is clear to me why so many rivers and seas are named for goddesses as they are most holy and nourishing places, teeming with new life.  There are other water spots peppered throughout my life; these are but a few and those that standout the most for me.  I am more than 10 miles from any water sources that I know of and those are very hard to get to for me.  To my body, this feels like a loss, that something is missing in my life.

In Celtic spirituality, the spirit of the land is often embodied in water — in springs, rivers, lakes and later, the sacred or holy wells. The people associate the surface and underground waters of rivers and tributaries as well as all the lands drained by them, with goddesses. Local rivers are the mothers of the clans and the bestowers of health. In Her arms, She carries the overflowing cornucopia of the abundant, giving land.

From Living River …..

“Flowing like a river, like a river to the sea
Love flows through you, and it flows through me…”

I am grateful for the many opportunities I have had to be in or near water. I am profoundly grateful for the spiritual connection it brings to me.

The water right now is the same water from the beginning. It holds within its depths all the energy since the beginning. Imagine how strong this energy is!  The closer we can be to this energy, the stronger the connection.   Is it any wonder then, why we seek this water?  We yearn for the ocean as a child for her mother. When I stand next to a rapidly rushing river, I am thrilled.  The clean cool surface of a pond calms me.

Water is a spiritually nourishing mother, a healer and a source for inspiration.  The message is one of abundance and permanence.  It is no wonder some call Her, Goddess.

Three Sisters

From time to time I dive into the idea of seeing the Triple Goddess as Sisters rather than Mother, Maiden, Crone.  I have to confess that the idea of Sister Goddesses, complete in their familial connectedness, representing unity, connection, and interdependency, is very appealing.  We, who practice Goddess Spirituality, strive in our relationships to reflect this in our work together.  Shared power!If I were to look at the sisterhoods individually, I enjoy the Ananke and the Moirae from Greek mythology.  I like them because they represent a balance.  One side setting the standards and the other, enforcing them!  A perfect example of the laws of cause and effect!

The laws and customs of this time caused the oppression of women with very few rising up to any sort of power at all and then, only at great cost.  These goddesses must have arisen from this oppression, for they perfectly reflected all areas of women’s lives.

Living under oppression, there was great need for women to reach out for help.  They needed assistance from their goddesses to help them deal with the peril and confines of their daily lives.  They would need protection and recourse from injustice.

Ananke was an early goddess of inevitability, compulsion and necessity. People referred to her as the “inescapable.”  They said that she was born self-formed as a serpent whose arms reached across the entire universe.  From her very beginning she entwined herself with her mate, Khronos, the god of time.  As a pair, they surrounded the egg of matter or “form.”  As their coils grew tighter, they split the egg into earth, heaven, and sea bringing about the creation of the ordered universe.

They were seen as the “cosmic-circling forces of fate and time–driving the rotation of the heavens and the never ending passage of time.”

She was also the mother of the Moirae.  Under another name for her, she was Adrastea, “incorporeal, her arms extended throughout the universe and touching its extremities.”  (from an email from Max Dashu)

Donna Wilshire calls her “Ananke, the Yolk,” a woman’s core center, her “knowing self,” that part of our wholeness that strives to have everything in right relationship.  This was not because of regulations outside of one’s self, but governed by that inherent self-knowing, deep within.

She is a woman’s voice of authority.  Wilshire states that Teleia allows woman to embrace response-ability which in turn allows Ananke to prosper and grow within.  Those values associated with Ananke such as inevitability, compulsion and necessity are not things brought to woman by outside.  Neither are they forced when they come from her true Ananke within.  What is inevitable and necessary is that she honors that true Ananke within, her own voice of authority and wisdom.

With the passage of time her stories changed.  Her essence grew ever sterner, binding people perhaps to lives without choice.

Her daughters were the Moirae, called the Apportioners.  Individually, they were three sisters, Clotho, the Spinner, Lachesis, the Allotter and Atropos, the Cutter.

They were symbolic of the process of weaving with thread as life.  They were divine midwives – creating a tapestry and weaving individual lives together. All three represent Unavoidability, Necessity, and Ethical Principle.

Women have come a long way in the struggle for “freedom from oppression.” It is in looking at goddesses such as these, as well as Goddess as “whole and becoming” and Goddess who is “growth, merging, and creation” we see that she represents all of life in one whole package, chaos, complexity, unity and diversity, all at once.  For such powerful goddesses to arise in a time when women needed help with the constant oppression under which they lived, just imagine how powerful they could be today, if we called upon their power.  These goddesses share their stories to remind us of the strength and resolve we each carry within.  From this we can go within and pull their strength.  For they are a part of us today and their strength lives within us, giving us the deep knowledge of our own “knowing self.”  As feminists, familiar with oppression, it is important for us to know them and to know they are with us today.

Information gathered  from:

http://www.theoi.com/Protogenos/Ananke.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ananke_(mythology)
http://www.maicar.com/GML/Ananke.html

MacDowell, Katherine, The Three Fates: Sister Goddesses, Ocean Seminary College, Monmouth, NJ, 2008

Wilshire, Donna, Maiden, Mother, Crone, Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont,  1993

Ancient One

tree_of_lifeAncient One,
your roots hold fast to the Earth drawing strength.

Your white hair
shimmers against the sun and speaks to me of wisdom.

Ancient One,
you rise through granite, claiming this space, standing ground.

Your gnarled branches reach out
across the rocks
holding Her close to you.

Old Wise One,
If I lay in your arms
will I be one with you?

Ancient One,
if I rest curled in your roots,
will I know wisdom too?

Ancient One,
for just this moment,
may I be with you?

Old Tattooed Woman

031 Old Woman, you stand with your feet at the water’s edge,
Your old skin gnarled and rough,
With heavy thighs marked by signs that people left.
What was their need that they left their names
And jagged hearts for me to see?

It must have been hard for you
Feeling the sharp point of the knife
Making cuts on your skin.
But in your most holy sacred place
You embraced their gifts and made them a part of you.

Arm Old Tattooed Woman, your bark
Holds memories of those who were here before me
Their names marking your skin.
See? Your arms are wide and strong
Offering shade for those held in your embrace.

I wish to be like you and take in what hurts
And weather the pain by toughening up
Like you, I will be made strong by life’s pointed edges,
Made wiser by honoring what is,
And made holy by embracing what comes.

Great Blue

gbha gift
one single feather
left behind as you flew from my sight

great blue, with your heavy graceful wings
lifting up to fly
leaving the grace of your wisdom with me

you stand alone as do I
strong and grounded in two realms
of Sky and Land

we explore and do many things together you and I
dreaming into reality
all that can be

we depend on no one
the gifts of earth and water
provide for our needs

the fire of our majestic spirit
takes us aloft as we seek sustenance
our mighty wings lifting us onward

your gift on my altar
one single feather
a reminder of who we are – together

Deanne Quarrie

Her Breath ~ Spiritual Mentoring http://herbreath.com

Her Breath

I am a child of the Earth.
I live and breathe, walk and dance upon Her face.
She is my source and I learn from Her each day. This I know…
Life begins in the dark as Desire.
Deep in that dark place life begins to form, taking root and becoming…..

As life stirs…… deep in the Mother’s Belly,
there is a gentle quickening, movement
that alerts us to a “knowing”
of the presence of something yet to come.

As the Earth prepares Herself with warmth,
the rains and waters come and flood the land,
nourishing the soil in which She is creating new life.

Earth and Water and Fire
come together and Form continues to take shape.

One last thing is needed.
Just as new form emerges,
She breathes Air upon it.
Her Breath, giving Life to all that She has nurtured.

Earth and Water and Fire and Air

Her Breath ~ http://herbreath.com

breathing life into all, we open to Her gift ~ a partnership in co-creating all that you can be ~
spiritual mentoring and wellness coaching