As a practicing water witch, I often find it difficult to relate to the sabbats. We have several sabbats with a strong focus on the fire element (honouring the sun) or the earth element (honouring the harvest), but none really draw a focus on the water element. It can take some time, and some creativity, to work water magic into sabbats. However, if there is one sabbat that lends itself perfectly to water magick, it's Samhain!
One of the core aspects of Samhain is honouring the dead and ancestor worship. It is known as the time when the veil between this world and the otherworld is at its thinest, and so a perfect time for contacting, honouring, and working those who have now departed this world. I have heard both the element of earth and the element of fire being associated with death, but I would suggest that actually the element of water is most appropriate to be used in rituals and rites concerning the dead. In ancient Egypt they believed that water transported the souls of the dead to the afterlife, and many of their dead were buried with small boats in the hopes that this would help their journey to the afterlife. In Greek mythology the river Styx connected our earthly realm with the underworld, and the ferryman Charon would transport souls of the dead across the river and deliver them to the Underworld. In local folklore and ancient mythologies we see stories of beautiful water maidens who would lure sailors to their deaths, terrifying water creatures such as the Scottish Each Uisge who would carry men off into the waters and devour every part of them except their liver, and old hags like Jenny Green-Teeth who would entice children into the pond and drown them. With so many tales that weave the element of water with death and the otherworld, there is a clear and strong connection that makes it a great element to incorporate into your Samhain practices. Not only this, but with the veil being at its thinnest it is a great time to practice divination and seek answers from the otherworld - divination, dream work, and intuition are all practices associated with the element of water.
As many believe, death is just a part of the journey. Many see Samhain as a period for change and transformation; historically, Samhain is considered the last of the harvest seasons, which lends itself to its association with death and endings. It is a time to reflect on what we have and let go of that which no longer serves us, and again the element of water can aid us in this. Water is often used for cleansing and purification, especially salt water or moon water. The element is also associated with healing, especially emotional healing. If you have anything that you want to release and leave behind then ritual baths, showers, or even just focusing on what you want to let go of into a bowl of water and then pouring it away can help you heal and move on. Like the rising and the falling of the ocean tides and the cycles of the moon (which is also associated with the element of water), this element is not just associated with endings but also new beginnings. Different cultures, such as the Mesopotamians, have creation myths which teach us how all life sprung from the primordial seas and gave birth to the world, and all around us we see how water is needed for nature to flourish and grow. Once again through this association with transformation, with getting rid of the old so we can make way for the new, we see how the element of water can be seen as the ideal element to work with during Samhain.
So how exactly can you incorporate and work with this element in during this time? Below are some ideas to get you started, but as with all things in paganism, listen to your intuition and see where it takes you.
The Weekly Witch:
Once I week I talk about something 'witchcraft' related I have done with my week. How we incorporate witchcraft into our every day lives is always a topic that has interested me, so I wanted to start this blog to explore it further!