Water has been on my mind lately, and I thought it might be a good topic for this month's column. After all, spring cleaning, blessing sacred space, ritual purification, garden planning, and a host of other spring activities all involve water. It's personally one of my favorite elements, being a Crab myself; plus, we're we're currently traveling through the watery sign of Pisces (February 20-March 20).
I recently attended a conference (during the sign of Scorpio) where several esteemed Pagan elders in our community held a panel discussion on what Wiccans, Pagans, and Witches can do for the environment. It was a fascinating discussion and, needless to say, many of us consider ourselves stewards of the environment because of our deep connection with nature. But then I looked around the room and saw how many people were holding plastic bottles of water. I have no doubt that some of them were refilled and used over and over, but I'm equally sure that many people drink bottled water regularly out of habit and convenience.
In America, most communities have potable water coming through their taps. To improve the taste or remove impurities, we can use filters, which come in a wide range of prices and degrees of filtration. But when we drink bottled water, we are contributing to the burning of fossil fuels required to bottle and transport it; we are adding 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year if the bottles aren't reused or recycled (and 80% aren't); we are contributing to the manufacture of additional plastic, which consumes 47 million gallons of oil per year; we are sometimes drinking in carcinogens that have leached from the plastic bottle; and perhaps most insidiously, we are acquiescing to the privatization of water as a commodity so that one day we will live in a world where only the wealthy can afford drinking water. Bottled water is already a multi-billion-dollar business and continues to grow, with giant corporations now staking their claims on various water supplies.
So why do we drink it? Tests have proven over and over that bottled water is no healthier, safer, or tastier than the water coming out of New York City taps. In fact, EPA regulations governing tap water are far more stringent that those of the FDA for bottled water. (See nrdc.org or lighterfootstep.com for more information.) Plus consider the price—did you know that bottled water costs more per ounce than gasoline, even at $3 per gallon? Please think about breaking this habit.
There is something you can do to make your tap water more energized and palatable: transmute it. It adds to the energetic value of the water and is said to remove toxins and improve the taste. The following instructions are from Sacred Land: Intuitive Gardening for Personal, Political & Environmental Change, by Clea Danaan.
"Pour a glass or fill a bowl with water [...] Sit where you will not be disturbed, and come into a present, grounded state. Now bring to your mind a picture of the Creator. For me, this image is sometimes a rainbow-colored flame, other times it is more a feeling than an image, a sense of vastness and creative power. Sometimes I see Her as a woman. Picture and feel this symbol strongly, then impose it over the image of yourself. Become this image. You are the Creator; your distinct energy that you know of as yourself has now merged with the Infinite Creator [...] Sit with this feeling and image until it is very clear and strong. [...]
"Now bring your attention to the water in your cup. Feel it as the Creator as well. It is part of the infinite divine universe. Become aware of its consciousness. Invite it to reflect the same glory with which you have merged, to vibrate in union with the Creator. Invite the water to live in its purest essence.
"Sitting in union with the Creator can feel infinitely beautiful and terribly overwhelming. Breathe steadily and let yourself sink into the union you have forgotten. Vibrate here as long as you like. Feel your communion with the universe and the glass of water. When you are ready, open your eyes. Taste the water. [...]
"Practice transmutation regularly to improve your ability to release into the divine, and you will easily transmute all water you come in contact with: drinking water, cooking water, bath water. [...] Practice transmutation in the garden to raise the energy of your plants, pond or fountain, and land. Transmute the water in the watering can. Charge the hose that delivers water to the earth. [...] Not only will your garden be a magical place of healing and power, your whole life will transform to one of light, health and divine energy."