Water. The well of being from whence all creation flows. The milky way as the river of stars, the cosmic flow of currents.
These past couple of monthly auguries here have been hinting and circulating around the theme of water, this is either a reflection of my current preoccupation with water or maybe it is both. By both, I mean that the theme has been present around me while I’ve been thinking about it as well, creating a self-reflexive connection. Within the Caribbean folk spiritism† experience found where I live, and what I’ve encountered in several spiritual houses, there is a stringent emphasis on water. An example, spiritists are always encouraged to keep in their homes a fount of water on a white altar to cleanse before prayers, whether morning, evening, or afternoon prayers, la boveda. Moreover, every misa or spiritual gathering of any sort begins and ends with cleansing before a fount. Before and after the prayers, before and after the mediums begin their work, before and after the music, there is the cleansing through water.
And why this emphasis on water? We drink water, we use it to clean our bodies, to clean our homes and daily utensils. We use it to refresh ourselves on hot days, and to nourish our crops, plants, flora. There is something primal about water, maybe this is tied to our arising out of the primal waters. I think of the ocean teaming with life, now also teaming with heaps of our own trash. Then there are the arteries that feed the ocean, the rivers of sweet water. What’s more, thinking about the heaps of trash floating in waters, something that is blatantly evident in the waters of this island where I live, my mind is drawn to musings of pollution. How polluted, both material/tangible and symbolic, is the state of our waters?
And the question keeps ringing out within me, “What is the state of our waters?” How clear? How murky? How often do we shed and cleanse before the primal waters? The spiritual fount is a centerpiece that regulates the state of spiritual development of the spiritist. I see it as a thermometer and a conductor, but what are we conducing if our waters have been polluted? If we haven’t been attending to our waters, cleansed our waters?
“Water is the fluids used by the Saints and Spirits as a portal, [which] they pass through from the realm of Spirit, and manifest their currents in the material plane. [Water] It is used to give them clarity, to quench their thirst, freshen their fertile paths, and cleanse themselves.” -Sancista Brujo Luis, Luz y Progreso
I can see how these vessels that hold water are portals, how the water contained within reflects the primordial waters wherein all Spirit arises and moves. I’m reminded of the all important emphasis of baptism by water, a rebirth by water, wherein the body enters the waters and arises anew different, changed, drenched in the dew of Spirit. Making contact with the primordial waters to be reborn. What are we birthing in our waters? What are we transmitting and is simultaneously being transmitted back toward us through these potent portals?
Moving within these themes puts me in mind of looking at my own symbolic waters, and by extension wondering at the frequency we as a collective cleanse our waters, cleanse our bodies, minds, and spirits through these waters. Perhaps these musings arise out of being in the midst of summer, the hot months, at least in the northern hemisphere. How often do we look into these areas in our lives? I don’t pretend to offer solutions nor answers here, I’m just sharing what’s been occupying my mind of late. I find myself every morning, after the morning showers, standing before the fount of water, cleansing, and clearing; observing the waters, both within me and the external waters. Attempting to decipher the currents, taking lessons from John the Baptist, the Headless Saint and Prophet, seeking if only a brief connection with the divine through the revealing waters. Enjoy this full moon in Sagittarius, may there be clarity.
†So many challenging words, and I really dislike categories. So think about this in loose terms weaving with it Catholicism, Saints, Mighty Dead, Spiritism, and the colonized Caribbean experience.
–Luz y Progreso, Light and Progress: A Handbook for the Developing Medium Within the Puerto Rican Espiritismo Criollo de la Mesa Blanca System, Sancista Brujo Luis, Rattling Rocks Publications, NZ, 2015.