W is for… Water

One of the four classical elements – perhaps the one with which I have the most love-hate relationship. I respect Fire, but feel almost unreservedly positive about it; I like Earth, and don’t usually have trouble connecting with Earth-energies like determination and steadiness; I enjoy Air, which is probably my ruling element; and sometimes I can enjoy Water, but it has to be in a very controlled way. I am often frightened by Water, both physically – I have to focus hard to swim over the deep end of a pool – and symbolically, in as much as Water is related to the emotions, and mine are often neither easy nor welcome.

Water is necessary for life, but also hugely powerful. You can drown in only inches of water if you happen to be face-down, and on the symbolic level, I am often not sure how to turn over and escape.

When I think of Water as an element, I think of the West, of sunset, and also of feeling. I think of Water as the sea, the great wide ocean, which can produce delicate lapping waves or a tsunami. I remember capsizing a dinghy and panicking in the river – even though I knew it was going to happen. I remember being carried over the deep end by a swimming teacher who was determined that I could do it, and being determined myself that I would not. (There’s that stubborn Earth energy again, firm as rock once I’ve put my mind to it.) I remember kneeling naked before an altar in my bedroom, towel on the floor beneath me, and trying to connect fully with cold water as it run down onto me. It was a powerful ritual, but it didn’t make me less afraid of that connection.

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