The average human body has an average water content of 57-60% when reaching adulthood. When born infants have between 75-78% water in their bodies, dropping to around 65% in the first year. Drop your water levels by 2-3% and you will begin to feel thirsty. As that percentage falls lower you run the risk of becoming dehydrated which can ultimately lead to death. You can survive for a substantial period of time without food, Mahatma Gandhi survived 21 days of complete starvation but water is essential to life and without it you will not live long.
In extreme environments you will start to encounter severe problems if you forego water for more 3 hours and the average survival rate is around 3 days. The longest anyone has ever survived without water was 8 days.
We truly are beings of water on a water planet (71% of the planet is covered by water and 96.5% of all that water is contained within the world’s oceans).
But how much do we honour water on a planetary or personal level? To be sure, we don’t help ourselves when it comes to caring for our water sources, be they large oceans or smaller waterways. Pollution and littering are just some of the problems facing our world oceans, with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch becoming a recognisable feature within the ocean. The environments around smaller water ways and sources are being irrevocably changed by the changes in water purity and quality that are being caused by human activities.
Water is also seemingly a commodity to be bought and sold. In 2005 Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe seemed to state that be believed that water should be privatised, seemingly denying that it is a human right to access safe, clean drinking water and water for sanitation. Nestlé vigorously deny claims that these comments mead in 2005 are, as people suggest, heartless profiteering off the plight of drought ridden countries and cite the many good works of Brabeck-Lethmathe as a rebuttal. But it is a fact that water, in a drinkable sense, is not equally distributed around the world and is not managed in a sustainable way, or protected sufficiently for people to drink in total safety.
Honouring Water as a Pagan
Obviously being aware of ecological issues and using water responsibly are things we can all do to honour water but how do we honour water within ourselves?
Water is the element of the emotions and the psyche, when we are in turmoil or anxious many will turn to the soothing sounds of water (be it rain, ocean or running stream) to release some of that tension. Even on a spiritual and magical level water is a purifying element, associated with cleansing and consecration. This is the element that we turn to for divination and the strengthening of psychic abilities, and its associations with the moon and feminine energies. Water is also the most flexible of the four elements, the phrase “go with the flow” doesn’t just apply to water ways but the element itself. Water holds no shape of its own, in any of its three states. Water vapour will expand to fill a room, water will seek the lowest point of the land and take on the shape of that depression and ice will take on the shape of its container. It is the most flexible of the elements and this is something that can be accessed by working with water during difficult times in our lives.
We can connect with water through meditation and pathworking amongst other things. Sitting by water, be it the wide open ocean or a babbling brook, and loosing ourselves in the sounds and smells as we contemplate on what Water means to us is one way to connect with the wider element and its inner, personal meanings. Another way, possibly more practical for those living in urban areas remote from healthy water sources, is to enter a meditative state over a bowl of water, or visit a watery vista in pathworking. Again, the contemplation would be on water and its meaning to us as individuals. Simpler still, drink a glass of water and appreciate what it means to our bodies as well as to our energies.
Whilst it might be nice to say “drink fresh spring water” you should always exercise caution when drinking from outdoor water sources (who knows what died up stream?). On this occasion intent is key, so a glass of tap water won’t harm your workings at all. If you want something a little more witchy set a bowl out in order collect early morning dew (I strongly recommend boiling it before consuming it) or you could go through the process of making blessed or holy water from tap water.
Water and Me
I have a strange relationship with water at the moment. I don’t drink enough during the day, or evening, or ever if I’m honest. Particularly through my last job I didn’t have time to make a drink, let alone actually drink one. I drank enough to survive but longer term I have noticed that I am experiencing problems as a result. My skin dries out at the drop of a hat, even with daily moisturising if I drink under a litre I am at risk of having a skin break out. I aim for around 2 litres of fluid over the course of the day and I am increasingly replacing coffee with other herbal options.
To monitor myself I turned to technology and have a mobile app that monitors my intake and prompts me every hour to think about what I have had to drink. I’m even able to note my trends such as not drinking enough over the weekends because I am so busy with things. After an initial wobble my skin and situation improved rapidly although having a couple of low intake days will still result in dried out skin.
On a magical level I do as I have suggested here, enjoy the element and meditate upon it. It is something I incorporate from time to time, especially scrying by water as it I a good way of honing those meditative techniques and if I scry something interesting at the same time, so much better. Being in tune with water and its ever flowing every changing nature keeps me in touch with those elements that occurring life. It keeps me in touch with my emotions and reminds me that no matter how high the damn, the tide will always win in the end.
Other References and Sites of Interest
Assembly of First Nations