I’ve just returned from a trip to the beach, bags stuffed with sand and shell and seabird feathers and collected water, hair full of salt, crashing waves playing on my mental soundtrack. It was a short trip, and a full one; I come home with aching muscles and tired bones, wired and restless in the confines of the city, longing for the endless expanse of shining water and the tumult of the waves.
Ritually invoking the spirits of water, embodied in chalice, bowl, and cauldron, I sometimes forget the raw power of the uncultivated waters of the Ocean. In the city, water is mostly tamed, flowing on demand through pipes, in designated waterways sometimes hidden beneath layers of concrete. I find my most powerful encounters with water in a haunting dream, a revelatory divination, an all-consuming relationship, an uncontrollable emotion: awesome experiences, but rarely as threatening as being submerged in the primal elemental force of water.
The Ocean demands respect. More than once she dragged me under, stealing my breath and filling me with salt. With manic exuberance the ebb and flow danced together, sometimes stepping on one another’s toes. It was a dangerous weekend for swimming, one that had the lifeguards extra vigilant: on Saturday alone, 350 people were rescued, and one died in a rip current in thigh-high water.
Ocean magic is a wild, glorious, awesome wonder. The full moon in Pisces, with its white glow reflected on the shifting waters, invited me to dive deep – into dream, into unconscious knowing, into mystery – and the Ocean required flexibility and flow. The cards suggest a need to look away, occasionally, from the swaying tower – to balance awareness of our bleak reality with a focus on the shining light of hope, the comfort of tightly-woven community, and appreciation of the beauty we stand to lose.
The Ocean scrubbed me of grief and of fear, washed away the burden of surety and left me gasping and grinning, with an appreciation for firm ground and the sweet lightness of air. I only wish I had a bit more time to spend splashing in the foam, searching for shells, and exploring the awesome power of the Atlantic.
Now to begin the work of reintegrating…