I’m a water sign and have a lot of water in my chart, as well, so, naturally, I find watery stuff soothing and appealing, as well as intuitive to work with.
I wanted to put this quick post together for anyone who hasn’t pondered the ways that water can be used in magickal practice, and this is by no means fully comprehensive, but will include probably the most common, as well as few uncommon, ways to use water.
On Your Altar
This is something that probably all of us do almost all the time because its pretty consistently practiced across most magickal path traditions, to have something representing each of the 4 elements on your altar, including just non-work dedication altars to ancestors or deities.
Most people have either a bowl or a chalice with water. Some people even just put a bottle of water on there, and others still, use just any old random cup. I think as long as its symbolically meaningful to you, it probably doesn’t matter what vessel itself is used to hold the water. Some materials are more symbolic than others to a particular deity, but you can customize this many ways. \I bought an inexpensive set of crystal stemware to use for the water offerings on my altars to ancestors and the deities I do any devotional work with, and I think its a nice touch, but I know not everyone has a budget for those things.
I have known people who use a vase of fresh cut flowers in water to represent their water and earth at the same time, which also beautifies the work space or dedication/offering, if that is what the flowers are for you.
Water itself is inherently cleansing, but it also absorbs all manner of negative intentions or vibes, if its charged and purposed to do so.
One of the tips that I picked up from Sophie Reicher’s Spiritual Protection (read my review of it from yesterday here) was to keep a bowl of water by your front door when you are anticipating guests. It will help to grab and contain the energies they are bringing into your home, lowering the chances of them leaving behind unwanted and unpleasant energy.
She also mentions sleeping with a glass of fresh water by your bed each night to prevent unwanted spiritual visitors while sleeping. Dump it out into the toilet and flush it each morning after you wake up, then fill with fresh water again before sleeping. This is excellent for hotel rooms or traveling, when you can’t ward your entire space regulary.
Water can also be blessed to function as holy water or sacred water, and you can either purchase it already blessed from a local religious organization or bless it yourself if you feel comfortable doing so. Holy water doesn’t technically have to be blessed by a priest or holy person, there are a number of non-denominational blessings you can find online (there is an excellent one in The Exorcist’s Handbook by Josephine McCarthy!!).
Water can be used to draw protective symbols on thresholds, windows, and mirrors, as well.
And, then water with salt added, particularly if you have also blessed the salt (that same book from McCarthy has blessings for both holy water and sacred salt), can even further add protection. You can use that to clean spaces, sprinkle in corners of rooms when cleansing and purifying, and to discourage evil or malevolent spirits or energies from entering your home or space.
Water can also be infused with various natural substances, like herbs, resins, plants, and crystals to use in spells involving protection, cleansing, abundance, and more. You can do a simple plant infusion by boiling the plant(s) in question in the water for 20 minutes, then removing from the heat, letting it cool to room temp, then straining the solids out and saving the infused water in an airtight jar in your fridge.
That brings me to my next point, which is that water is a purifier. As it is of the earth, and it is both one of the most destructive forces on earth, yet at the same time stimulates and feeds life, it is inherently powerful. Its all about the intent you put into this element.
I like to use spring water for my magickal work, especially that concerning purification, as it has not been adulterated or altered in any way. It is as close to the truest form of water found in the earth as possible, without actually going and collecting water from outdoors. I feel like spring water in a glass bottle retains better energetic properties than that stored in plastic, but in a pinch, again, its about the intent you instill in it.
Water collected from the earth, particularly that of a source of running water or catching rain water as it falls is even better, and even more energetically charged. If you can get that, do it! I know of people that order water from hot springs all over the country specifically for this purpose, if they cannot find any easily accessible sources in their area. You can also very easily set up a collection bowl or jars outdoors during rain to collect that which is free from the sky.
Moon water is a popular type of water used in spells, too. Put a jar or bottle of water out in the moonlight on a full moon (or a windowsill where the moon’s light will hit it) to charge the water with the energy of the full moon.
But, even if you can’t afford spring water in glass bottles regularly, and there is no clean outdoor source of running water near you, tap water is okay. Don’t worry too much about this. If you get hung up on using tap water, thinking its not magickal, then guess what? It’s not magickal. If you doubt yourself, your magick won’t work.
One caution I have is don’t drink water you collect from an outdoor source unless you sanitize it first by boiling it. While those sources are not typically contaminated by stuff we add to municipal water supplies like chlorine or the lead in our pipes, they are usually overflowing with microbes and other substances that may not be the best for you to consume.
I also recently started doing a ritual purification each day using spring water in a bowl with essential oils or my Release spell oil, along with water-safe crystals as a way to freshen myself up energetically for the day. You could easily do this in your bathroom or kitchen sink with the drain stopped, fill it with water and ritually cleanse your hands, arms, face, etc.
As An Offering
Don’t forget your ancestors and deities! A simple act such as filling a fresh goblet or cup of cool water each day for your ancestors and deities can go a long way to keeping them happy, and in your life, and honoring them with your attention.
This is another place I like to use spring water and my line of thinking is that if I can afford it, I can show them they matter to me by purchasing something higher quality, similar to the concept of burning ancestor money. I don’t view it as throwing money away.
Yes, I could use tap water and it wouldn’t cost me anything, but if I’m in a position to purchase spring water, then I should because my ancestors deserve it. If they make my life abundant, I should share some of that abundance and a $2 bottle of spring water each week is one small token of that appreciation. Plus, one of my grandmas is just petty enough to ignore me if she feels like I’m not making the effort lol
Now, please do not interpret that as saying if you don’t use some foo foo spring water, you don’t love your ancestors. Your ancestors know what you can afford and what your situation is. If it is truly a stretch for you, they are not going to get mad about tap water. I have friends who offer tap water and easy mac. Its not gonna be the end of the world.
However, there is no shame in saying to your ancestors, “I really want to be able to offer you more expensive offerings. Can you help me find ways to bring more money into my life, so that I can honor you by sharing it with you?” This works, really. Try it sometime.
But, I think what I’m trying to say about this is if you make 6 figures and your life is materially wealthy and your ancestors get tap water but they know you could be giving them better offerings, maybe don’t skimp. Its my experience that the more thought I put into what I offer them, the more they reciprocate with blessings in my life and my home.
On the subject of offerings, also consider putting a few drops of your favorite (or your deity’s favorite) essential oil into a water offering to add some beautiful or personalized aroma to the altar space.
So, hopefully you can take away some ways to work with the water element daily or in ritual/spell work!