Working with the Elements
Welcome to your second lesson of this Faery Course.
In this lesson we will focus on working with the four elements, and I will provide some exercises how you can include them in your everyday life.
In Irish mythology it is said that the Tuatha de Danaan brought four treasures from Murias, Falias, Gorias and Findias, the Tuatha's great cities. Each and one of the sacred items was unique, identified with an element and possessed magical powers.
There are four cities that no mortal eye has seen but that the soul knows; these are Gorias that is in the East; and Finias that is in the South, and Murias that is in the West; and Falias that is in the North. And the symbol of Falias is the stone of death, which is crowned with pale fire. And the symbol of Gorias is the Dividing sword. And the symbol of Fineas is a spear. And the Symbol of Murias is a hollow that is filled with water and light.
Wind comes from the spring star in the East; fire from the summer star in the South; water from the autumn star in the West; wisdom, silence, and death from the winter star in the North.
We can find the cup, the sword, the wand or spear, and the stone for pentacles also in Tarot.
So if you work with Tarot cards feel free to include the suits in your practices and your exercises for this lesson.
Each tradition has different associations with the element, so if my suggestions do not resonate with you, don’t worry, follow your own instincts.
As human beings it is natural for us to feel inclined with this element, as our bodies are sixty percent water. Water is feminine in nature, it carries a receptive energy and it is also connected to the moon, the intuition and the mysterious.
The element of water corresponds to the West, to the fall season and to the twilight time.
This element represents the realm of our emotions, it is an element of cleansing and deep healing. Water is also very significant in Faery lore. The entrance to the Faery realm can be found under water, or across water, and in some legends we have to travel the seas far west, beyond the ninth wave to enter the Otherworld.
The most well known beings of Faery that we associate with the Element of Water are mermaids, selkies, and sirens, and the elementals are for example the undines. They often take on an appearance of beautiful woman, sometimes with a fishtail. The selkies for example, are shapeshifters and can transform into a seal.
In ancient times, certain waters were thought of having healing properties and thus were under divine protection, and even today we still find many sacred springs and wells.
Chalice Well in Glastonbury for example is such a sacred spring, and very well known. Archaeological evidence suggests it has been a sacred site for at least two thousands years.
Legend has it that the fairies who reside under the Tor also spend time in the Well, giving the water its healing properties. The Chalice Well also has been associated with the Holy Grail, because it was believed Joseph of Arimathea had hidden the chalice in the well’s spring.
Chalice Well contains huge amounts of iron, and thus it has a red color.
We can also find the overlapping circles form of the Vesica Piscis symbol, with a sword or spear bisecting the central mandorla or almond-shaped overlap. The intent is that the circles are the overlapping inner and outer worlds and the sword is Excalibur.
But we also find the White spring in Glastonbury, right next to Chalice Well. The White Spring itself has a high calcium carbonate content, originating from the limestone that underlies the area.
This is a beautiful place to visit, when you enter the White Spring you enter a very dark place, only candles will show you the way through.
You can find different shrines in there as well, one for the goddess Brigid, one for the Faery King, and one for the Lady of Avalon. If you ever have the chance to visit Glastonbury, I highly recommend to go to the White Spring, it is such a powerful place, and I myself spent a beautiful time in contemplation there. Legend has it that it place is a portal to the Celtic Otherworld, being there, I can truly say it is. Unfortunately I can show you no pictures of the inside of the White Spring, they don’t allow photographs taken inside, which I highly support. People go to this place for contemplation, meditation, prayer, and worshipping, and taking ritual baths, so it would be very inappropriate to take pictures at this place.
Now you might think, well great I don’t have the possibility to visit these places, but don’t worry, there are many sacred wells and springs all over the world and I’m sure you can find one nearby.
A homepage that I regularly go to, contains all kind of sacred places, also wells and springs.
Just go to http://www.megalithic.co.uk
I’m sure you can find something in your area.
Often when you visit a holly well or spring, you may find a hawthorn tree nearby. The hawthorn is well known to be a Faery tree, and often we see clooties hanging from them.
Clooties are strips of cloth that are tied around a branch of the tree.
Traditionally they have been dipped in the water nearby and then tied to branch while people said their prayers, their blessings, or their wishes. Personally I think it is a beautiful tradition, however nowadays I think this is misunderstood. People tend to hang strips of non biodegradable cloth tightly around a branch, this hurts the tree as the piece of cloth grows into it.
If you want to do this, make sure that you use eco friendly cloth and don’t tie it to tight around the branch. Unfortunately I also seen a lot of plastic bottles tied around or even CD’s.
So please be responsible in this matter.
To activate the power of the water of a healing well, it was thought that a ritual has to be performed. This involved visiting the well only at certain days, like Beltane, Summer Solstice, or Lughnasadh.
There was also a need for silence while visiting this sacred place. It was also highly recommended to be there before sunrise. You should approach from the east and walk three times clockwise around the well in silence before speaking the required words of prayer or blessing, then drinking the water from the specified vessel and finally making the specified offerings.
All running water, not just spring water, can prove to be the haunt of fairies, for crossing over, or through running water is one of the ways to enter their realm. However crossing water, is also said to escape evil faeries.
There are many legends around faery and water to be found.
The water spirit of the River Dart, for instance, is believed to demand sacrificial drownings, leading to the well-known local rhyme:
"Dart, Dart, cruel Dart, every year she claims a heart."
The water-wraithes up in Scotland are thin, ragged, and invariably dressed in green, haunting riversides by night to lead travelers to a watery death.
Between Scotland and England, the Washer by the Ford wails as she washes the grave clothes of those who are about to die.
This also ties to the dreaded Bean-Sidhe (Banshee) of Irish legends. The Bean-nighe, found in both Highland and Irish lore, is somewhat lesser known: a dangerous little fairy with ragged green clothes and webbed red feet. If you can get between the Bean-nighe and her water source, however, she is obliged to grant three wishes and refrain from doing harm.
The Welsh water-leaper, called Llamhigyn Y Dwr, is a toad-like fairy who delights in tangling fishing lines and devouring any sheep who fall into the river.
When we work with Faery and the element of water we also have to mention the Lady of the Lake of Arthurian lore, who gave King Arthur his sword and now guards his body as he sleeps in Avalon.
It is thought that she dwells in Dosmary Pool, a lake in Cornwall. Underneath Dosmary Pool she is said to guard over a glorious and wealthy Faery Kingdom forever shielded from humans by the illusion of water.
Another legend from Scotland talks about the Kelpies. They are ill spirited beings, and fortunately rarely seen today. Those water horses trick humans into riding them, then they will drown them and eat the human. Kelpies have their origin in Scotland, though they are also part of northern Irish faery lore where they are called Eisges (Ech-ooshk-ya) or Fuath (Foo-ah). The Cornish call them Shoney which is derived from the Norse name Sjofn, meaning a Goddess of the Sea. Those in Iceland know them by the name Nickers, being related to the Nix (who are German water sprites). In Shetland and the Orkney Islands they are called Nuggies.
Irish lore describes them as web-footed water spirts, who possess the manes and tails of horses and the bodies of women. In Scotland they appear as friendly seahorses who allow passing humans to mount them, drowning their hapless victims once they're away from the shore.
They are able to shape change, occasionally appearing as humans though they can be distinguished by their seaweed hair which they are unable to change.
Kelpies may be captured by placing a bridle over their heads, to whom accomplish this task the kelpie was forced to serve the one who bridled it.
- You can work with the element of water in your every day life. It starts already in the morning when you make your first cup of tea or coffee. You can bless the water that you use. There are different methods to do this, experiment for yourself what speaks most to you.
- As water is sacred to the moon, you could put a piece of silver into your water, just use a ring or another piece of jewelry. Often naturally holed stones (hag stones) were used to bless the water.
Hold your hands over the water and speak a blessing of your choosing. This could be something like this :
Spirits of the water
let this water be clean and fresh,
as fresh as I want to start my day,
energize this water with pure vitality,
and as the water flows, so will I.
What you say also depends on what you want to use, blessed, or holly water.
You can add different kind of herbs to the water, depending on your intentions.
If you want to clear away negative energy you could add sage.
If you want to keep away ill wishes you could add rosemary.
You can use thyme and rose petals for Faery Blessings.
Use mugwort for visions and dreams.
There are many possibilities and I suggest if you want to work with herbs, grow a few basic herbs yourself and learn about their meanings and associations.
Otherwise you can also use sea salt to cleanse the water and sprinkle it around the area you want to be cleared of negative of sticky energy.
- Another activity you can try to work with the water element is to simply take a shower, but don’t just hop in; become aware of the cleansing energy of the water and when you stand beneath the shower head and the water runs over your skin, imagine how a bright light emerges. It cleanses away all the sticky energies from the day, it has the power to cleanse your soul.
You may even want to burn some incense while you shower.
You can also take a ritual bath; light some candles, turn on some music, and add herbs of your choosing to the bathwater. Take as much time as you can and let the water cover your whole body.
- While you work on this lesson, take some time to go somewhere near a body of water and watch a sunset. Remember this time is just for you, turn off your phone, don’t take a camera to capture the sunset, just simply be in the moment and enjoy it.
- If you have any interest to work with the Goddess Brigid, this is the perfect time. She is the keeper of the holy wells. Do some research about her.
Here you can find your guided meditation for the element of water here. Try to do this meditation at least once while working on this lesson.
If you want to support my work you can also head over to Guided Meditations and order this meditation as an mp3 version.
Holy Wells and Springs
Try to find a Holy well or spring nearby, before you visit do some research, are there any legends or folklore associated with this water source? Nowadays they are often associated with Saints, but if you dig a little deeper you may tumble upon older stories.
When you are at the well or spring you may want to use some kind of divination tools. In older times holy wells were used as a method of foretelling the future.
You can also do a little ritual at the well or spring.
As we saw already, the goddess Brigid is closely associated with the healing waters, so you could work with her.
Here I will list a few ingredients that you could use when working with Brigid
Plants : Bay laurel, white rose, dandelion, lavender, watercress, or cinnamon.
Stones : Smokey quartz, moonstone, sunstone, ruby, or emerald.
Colors : White, yellow, green, orange, red, or purple.
Offerings : Diary, candle, tea, beer, or whiskey.
Now you may have a few ideas what you could take with you to this place.
Personally I am not a big fan to carry a lot of things with me, and I also don’t do elaborate rituals.
This is something you must figure out for yourself, a lot of people enjoy having a ritual all planned out, and using a lot of tools; and that’s wonderful.
I am however, much more spontaneous and I need very little tools, or none at all.
That is why I will not give you a step by step tutorial how to perform a ritual.
Maybe you just want to leave a little offering at the spring and say a few words of gratitude.
When I visit a sacred spring, the only thing that I take with me, is a candle.
I make the candles for my magical work myself, for the Brigid candle I added a few crushed leaves of oak, some rose petals, lavender and cinnamon, and I used a white soy wax. That’s it, I will light this candle at the spring and spend a few minutes of contemplation before I go for a hike nearby.
However I will also give you ideas for a ritual; I can do them if I want 😉
Ritual for healing the heart
Take some of the suggested items with you, or you might want to take a representation of something that needs healing in your life.
When you visit the well, be very aware of every step you take to get there, let the journey to the healing waters be a part of your ritual. This is your time, ignore your cellphone, don’t answer to text messages during this time and just focus on this sacred work.
When you arrive set the mood at the sacred place you visit, you might want to light a candle and burn some incense, I would suggest sage or rosemary to clear the space.
If possible put your feet into the water, if this is not an option use a vessel and pour some of the water in it, and bring it close to your body.
Sit still for a moment and let your thoughts pass by, don’t hold on to them.
Then you might want to start chanting, in general I suggest to find your own words, but if you are new to this, and not sure what to say, you might consider the following words:
Brigid of the water,
I seek peace, and harmony,
Bring back light where there is darkness
bring back hope where there is sorrow
Let the healing waters flow through me
Let my heart be healed
Chant this as long as necessary, until you feel something, this could be a state of euphoria, maybe you just want to laugh, or even to cry, or maybe you just feel some kind of relief. Whatever you feel, don’t hold back and let your emotions flow freely.
When you feel ready leave a little offering that seems fit. Just a quick reminder, don’t leave any non-biodegradable objects. You might just want to pour a sip of milk nearby, lit a candle in her name, or sing a song just for her.
When you leave the place don’t look back, a healing of some sort took place and now it is time for you to look forward.
Extra Suggestions for this exercise :
It is very possible that you don’t work with any kind of deity, and as folklore teaches us holy wells and springs are full of faery magic so you can easily adept this to your work with the Fae.
Just say :
Spirits of the healing waters
I seek peace, and harmony,
Bring back light where there is darkness
bring back hope where there is sorrow
Let the healing waters flow through me
Let my heart be healed
The rest of the ritual stays the same, I work with both energies at healing waters, with Brigid and the faeries.
Spending time at water
For the time you spend on this lesson and with this element, be as often as possible near water, pay attention to the wildlife at lakes, at rivers or streams, and at ponds or the ocean. All those different forms have very different qualities and yet also share some of them.
If you are facing a rainy day, perfect, just go out and enjoy the rain on your skin, let it be refreshing and energizing.
Making your own magical water
Many witches do this already, and maybe you did it yourself already.
Make your own moon water for example; many people put a bootle of water outside during a full moon to capture this energy. You don’t have to use only the full moon, it depends on what you want to use the water. If you want to get rid of something, let’s say you want to minimize negative self-talk, you could also putt a vessel of water during a waning moon outside.
On the other hand, if you want to increase self love, you put the water during a waxing moon outside.
What you could also do is to gather rainwater from a storm and use it in your magical work.
If you want to drink it later you have use of course clean water.
You can make teas with moon water, or even use it as an offering.
Whenever I have to cut my willow tree in the garden ( I definitely have to cut it, it grows, as willows tend to do, like crazy) I will bring her an offering of moon water that I gathered during the full moon.
If you are interested in working with trees, I would also suggest to spend much time with willow trees at this time, you can find them at riverbanks as they love water. You could also spend some time with alder trees that you also often find near water.
During this time you might also consider to start a dream journal, water is so strongly connected with our subconscious mind, and what expresses this better that our dreams.
Maybe your dreams become even more vivid when you work so intensely with the element of water, so pay attention to your dreams, and start to journal about them.
Some people say that they can never remember their dreams, if you are one of them I encourage you to pa attention to your daydreams, and maybe you want to look into lucid dreaming.
This is a time where you can let your imagination run wild. Don’t hold back, we will come back to earth at some point. But for now allow yourself to nourish your daydreams and your own fantasy worlds.
Find some time to go to a water source where you can easily gaze upon its surface.
Sit still and let your gaze become very soft, try not to stare.
Let your thoughts wander and keep gazing upon the water. Don’t do this exercise with any kind of expectations, we will revisit the practice of scrying at a later point during this course.
For now only practice to gaze during a longer period of time upon a water surface and maybe you start to see images, or you may feel or hear something. Be grateful for whatever comes your way and write down your experiences in your Faery Journal.
Finding your voice
While you work on this lesson and the element of water I also want you to become aware of your own voice. When we think about water, we clearly associate it with mermaids, the mermaids with their beautiful voices. They are well known for their songs and their knowledge how to use their voice.
For this exercise I want you to focus on your own voice, pay attention on how you use it. How does it change if you are in difficult situations? How does it sound when you are joyful?
Our voice delivers messages to other people, to animals, to nature and also to the faeries, so really become aware of your own voice.
Whenever you find yourself at a place where you want to connect with the faeries, start to use your voice, talk to them and see for yourself if your voice changes if you talk with otherworldly beings.
I also want you to start singing more. Maybe you do this already, or maybe you are one of those people who never want to, because they think they don’t have a beautiful voice.
Don’t let self doubt get in your way, keep singing to your favorite songs, use song as a way of offering to the Fae, sing in the morning when you get up and make coffee or tea.
This really doesn't have to be elaborate; this is my morning tea song
Come my little herbs I dip you in now
Freshy, freshy herbs, so full of love
in my pretty cuppy cup
Make me tea my little friends…
Hahaha, did I mention that I’m not that creative in the morning.
The point is, it really doesn't matter what you sing, just use your voice.
I was very insecure about my own voice for a long time, than I started to become much more aware of it, especially as a Tarot Reader who delivers such important messages to people.
Also my YouTube channel was a trigger where I became very aware of how important my voice is.
So being so very insecure about it, back at the time, and now I get so many compliments how beautiful my voice is. I still blush every time somebody mentions this, but this is just because I paid attention to it.
So I said I want you to sing more, and I would be a hypocrite (such a strong word here), if I wouldn't give you an example.
Here is a small audio file where I quickly recorded something that I invented in just a few minutes, I heard this song „Enchanted Road“ by Jonathan Segev. I started singing to it, and add a few words and as I’m working on this lesson I’ve decided to record it quickly.
So please know this is not my best work, I didn't practice this, but I wanted to record it, this way because it proves my point; it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just sing and have fun.
Your Faery Homework
- Try out a few of the activities suggested in this lesson
- Take some time to do the guided meditation
- For the first part of this lesson, spend as much time near water as possible, may it be lakes, rivers, ponds, the ocean, or even a fountain in a nearby park. Listen closely to the sounds of water and experience this element.
- Work with some of the exercises
- Have fun and go with the flow
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Much Love and many Blessings