This is the third Wisdom Wander of the Walking the Ways of the Summer Light series. The focus is on the element of Water. In these weekly posts, I offer inspirations for your walks as well as examples from my own Wanders. They expand on my general suggestions that you may want to review for orientation. The first Earth Wisdom Wander also contains more detail on the process of preparing for and beginning the Wanders. These are only prompts for your own creating and modification.
PREPARE FOR AND BEGIN YOUR WATER FLOW
Enter Water’s Flow: Water moves if not contained so you might just flow out of one moment and into the next paying attention as you go to being your Wisdom Wander. I did grab my two decks, camera, notebook, and hat, but left my house without a real plan. As I stepped from my porch, one of the garter snakes that have taken up residence underneath slithered across the walkway in full S curves. I felt a tingle at the base of my spine of both fear and delight. Then I started toward Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary on the Connecticut River’s Oxbow, but when inspiration struck detoured to a small conservation area running along the Manhan River. I started down the path and soon encountered another garter snake. This one did not move at all, except for a flick of the tongue, but let me walk by within inches. I found my way to the edge of a very low, very slow moving river.
Invite your Way Showers / Guides / Inquisitors / Translators for the Day: If working with a Tarot deck, you may want to pull your cards from just the suit of Water / Cups or some combination of the Water suit and the Major Arcana. As I see each Major Arcana as an image of Wholeness, I work with the idea that each individual Major card contains the power of all the elements.
Before gathering my guides and translators, I walked for a while along the river and then at a curve I stood for a while looking into the water, listening to it, and smelling the scent of water, sand, and fallen tree. I then pulled three cards from the Oracle of Initiation as guides for my Water flow; Clarity, Refining, and Recognition. To match the three Oracle cards I pulled three cards from a mix of the Minoan Tarot’s Major Arcana and the suit of Sea (this deck’s suit connected to the element of Water) to point me toward Water’s lessons for me. All Majors emerged: The Wheel of Life, Ecstasy (which takes the place of the Devil card in this deck), and Flow. (Yes, Flow!)
FLOW WITH THE ELEMENT OF WATER
What belongs to Water? What belongs to other elements? You won’t need to and won’t be able to ignore the presence of Earth, Air, and Fire. All the elements mix to make our dynamic world. But you are invited to tune into Water’s flow and its special gifts. You might try out being with Water as …
- Source of life. Creation stories from many different cultures begin with water. Our food comes to us because of water. We humans are mostly water. As I stood at the edge of slow moving waters, I was moved to whisper to the water: “Thank you for my life.”
- A conduit of connection and wholeness. In The Earth Path, Starkawk says that in meditation, she heard water say, “All water is one – one whole, one awareness. All water is continuously aware of all the other waters in the world.” So when you stand at the edge of the ocean, a river, or puddle you might feel the connection to all the other waters in the world. When you take a sip from the tap, you might imagine that you are drinking in the flow of all the oceans on the earth.
- Trickster of cycles. The sun and moon have regular cycles, but water shows us an irregular flow from deluge to drought, or sometimes just enough. As I walked by my low river, Texas flooded but there are places in California that would be feel blessed by what I perceive as unusual lack. This cyclical imbalance offers another kind of reminder of how we are connected by water. While I may not be in California, the food produced there feeds the whole country. I have a local farm share so the impact this summer will be lessened for me individually, but the current food system will struggle to absorb the impact and real problems will emerge as the drought continues. This trickster side of water is offering us a lesson in connection and a prompt to think about solutions like localized food production.
- Mirror. Serenity, turbulence, peace. The movement of water can help to let our feelings flow. Cascades of water can loosen our tears. A calm stretch of water can give us rest. We can mirror the water and find a new rhythm. This experience goes beyond words. Just be with water and see.
- Voice. The sound of water is hypnotic, can shift your state. Let the water relax you into an altered state and then listen for its messages.
- Mystery and play. Below the surface, water can be dark and murky, impenetrable. We know we can’t see everything. On this Wisdom Wander, I visited the large vernal pool that a few weeks ago had been filled with frog life, but now was dark with decay of leaves and fallen branches most apparent. How does this darkness descent so quickly? I ponder that question for a while, but later in the day came upon the water park where children squealed in delight as the cold water hit their shoulders. For many of us, water is the element we play in the most. We take vacations to be near water, swim in pools, dance in its spray. So water shows me that seriousness of mystery and the delight of play exist together, like Yin and Yang contain each other.
And as you are exploring – and you might have to use your imaginal senses to do this – see if you can feel your blood flowing. What tunes you into your inner movement? What softens in your body? Where inside do you know you are liquid and water and flow?
REPORT FROM MY WANDER
Flow and pattern, connection and mirror, clarity and mystery mixed to open me to the power of being with Water and what comes from making a relationship with the elemental world.
As I mentioned, my Wander began with a two-snake encounter, and, The Minoan Wheel of Life has two intertwined snakes at its center. A lovely synchronicity to begin the Wander.
From the conservation area, I did move to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary where I and many participants on the retreats I offer there have had powerful encounters with the land and its creatures.
I spent most of my time on a nice Wander along the still waters of Arcadia. I was on the main path, nearly done with my walk, when I felt a drop of water fall on arm. The sky was clear and we’d had no rain in days so I paused to look up at the trees overhead. In the next moment, a hawk flew silently overhead to land on a branch above me. A jay followed, harrying the hawk that was now just feet away from me. I stood there with my mouth open. I started to reach for my camera without taking my eyes off the hawk. The jay grew bolder and the hawk lifted off, showing me its extending red-brown, stripped wings, flying toward the water beyond. I didn’t follow.
I was wishing I’d gotten a picture to share when from the other side of the path I heard another jay and turned to see the glide of wings through the trees. This new hawk landed on a distant but visible branch. I stepped from the path moving slowly toward the hawk’s tree. The jay jibbed and the hawk opened its lower beak and let out a screech. I kept moving toward the bird leaving the path behind.
This hawk, too, grew weary of the jay and flew off. I found myself between paths and looking at a Lady Slipper. Ecstasy came out for dance with this delicate wildflower. I found my way back to a new path and returned to the nature center.
I don’t read about the cards before I go out on my Wanders, but afterwards look forward to reading the deck creators’ wisdom and connecting it to my impressions of the cards and where they appeared on the Wander. All of the Oracle of Initiation cards are associated with a Deity, and as I read about these guides was struck by how the Oracle and Minoan cards were mirrors to each other.
Clarity is associated with the Anasazi who as great creators of poetry stir our imagination to see the patterns of our lives and make of ourselves a vessel for living out our purpose. The Minoan Wheel presents a visual pattern that with its intertwined snakes invites us to see transformation in the pattern of our lives.
Refining is associated with the Goddess Shakti and Mellissae Lucia writes of this card: “The invitation of all your aspects becomes the vibrational attunement that allows the ecstatic embodiments of you unique gifts.” Yes, this is the card connected with the Minoan’s Ecstasy. Ecstasy came out to visit with the Lady Slipper so I can’t help but think of the saying: “If the shoe fits, wear it”!
Recognition is associated with the Aztec flying serpent God Quetzalcoatl. As I was looking at Recognition and the Minoan’s Flow together my eye traveled to the two birds at the top of the labrrys-top pillars. Here were my two hawks.
I had begun my Wander with two snakes and I ended it with two birds. In between I had let water – even its smallest drop – direct my attention; strayed from my established path; and let myself be carried by the ecstatic flow. My snake self – the me that is ready for transformation – soared. I dared to look in the Quetzalcoatl mirror.
There is a lot more I could say really, but I think I’ll just leave the words to float in the mystery.
A dragonfly postscript …
I saw a dragonfly in the distance but had no special encounters with these insects at Arcadia as I had in the Earth and Air Wanders. But when I stopped for tea and journaling at the Cup and Top coffee shop, I sat at the counter that faced the art display wall and this is what I saw (te, he):
REFLECTION AND QUESTION MAKING
Water questions are the questions that just flow out of you as you wander and upon further reflection. Their source might be from any of the ideas outlined above or from some deep well. Just let the questions that enliven you and stir your heart surface. Here are some of mine:
- What is my part to play in shedding the illusion of separation, of supporting the embrace of connection … and of Love?
- How to embrace my cracks? How to let the healing water flow through them? How to let the light shine through?
- How to show my gratitude to my divine and otherworldly companions and guardians who are always showing up for me even as I doubt them?
- How to keep releasing skepticism?
- How to embrace the ecstatic embodiment of my unique gifts? What form / vessel can I create to share this?
I wrote more questions. I won’t use them all, but no need to stop the flow of their emergence in the moment. I’m not trying to answer the questions at this point. I’m just gathering them to see which ones I will want to bring on July’s pilgrimage.
Wisdom Wanders, after all, are not about finding the answers but become more fluid with welcoming our questions. I love what Mellissae Lucia writes in the Oracle of Initiation companion book: “Divination is truly about becoming a “question carrier.’ A question carrier is one who is able to be with uncertainty, mystery, and paradox within their lives … they do not need to rush toward concrete qualifications for things – they allow the story to unfold over time.”
As you wander you may receive messages, either for you as an individual or for the collective. You may receive images that speak louder than words. You may experience a sensation that isn’t easily explained. You may feel called to share what you receive. Perhaps the Water will share a message through you. Please do that sharing in what ever way feels right; tell a story to a friend, post on Facebook, write something for your blog, whisper some to the moon. Social media mavens, you may want to use hash tags of #wisdomwander #water for tracking. Your comments here on the blog are welcome as well.
Wisdom Wanders continue next week with a Fire post on Monday as we prepare for the arrival of the Solstice.