Undine Energy: The Healing Properties of Water

Water is our last element for our healing energy series.

The power of water (and I heard the Captain Planet intro as I typed that. Sorry.) cannot be denied.  Human beings are mostly water, as is the earth, so, when it comes to sympathetic magic, like truly works with like.  I believe it is important that we view our bodies of water as living organisms, because if our waters are healthy, it will be reflected in our own bodies.  The health of the waters also directly influences the health of the soil, and vice versa.  Water, like Earth, is a feminine, nurturing element, and, when both are balanced, the two tend to support each other.  Water signs tend to get along with Earth signs.  Emotional Water likes the steady, comforting, warm presence of Earth, and Earth is soothed by the cleansing, fertile inspiration of Water. Earth cradles Water, and Water helps Earth make new life.  Don’t think Air and Fire are left out. The warmth of the sun helps seeds sprout and the wind helps spread the seed to their new homes. All the elements are needed; it’s simply that, just as Air and Fire feed each other (sometimes whipping each other into frenzies) Earth and Water just mesh.

Water is the energy of deep feelings.  We “well up” with emotion. The sea inside can be calm and sunny, or froth-capped in irritation or anxiety.  When out of balance, the emotions become a tsunami, threatening to wipe out all other aspects of the personality, including rationale, intellect, motivation, and esteem for self and others.

On a positive note, Water is the energy of compassion and empathy.  It is the element of shared tears, and we spend nine months curled up warm and safe in its embrace.  It is any wonder Water energy, as well as Earth energy, is the energy of mothers and children, and of nurturing?

Water energy is tremendously healing because it embraces and cleanses.  It cools a fever and warms a chill.  It not only accepts but wraps itself around anyone who chooses to step into it, without any discrimination or judgment. In this way, Water is the energy of unconditional love. It’s a salve to anger, self-loathing, and anxiety.

Since Water can be hot or cold, and can exist in different material states (as a solid, liquid, or gas) it is extremely versatile and adaptable. This is where the admittedly cliche term “go with the flow” comes from.  If you tap into (see what I did there? I can’t stop!) Water energy, you will find that it helps you calmly relax into your tasks and comfortably fit in to tight situations, just as water used to mop a floor effortlessly rolls into all the nooks and crannies and covers the floor like a blanket.

Water is also the element of the subconscious.  The ocean has been compared to outer space because of all the treasures and terrors it hides from us.  We have our own ocean inside of us–it is where all our dreams and memories are stored. It is where universal truth can be discovered through meditation. It is, according to Jung, where our primordial knowledge lies, and where the archetypes dwell.  As such, this energy is transcendent.  It propels us into other realms. It carries us on its currents through darkness (and sometimes through the sewers). If consciousness is like a river, then its head begins at the deepest part of the subconscious.

A good way to manifest creative ideas in reality, or to alleviate artist’s block, is to free write or doodle–move your pen and write without any censoring or knowing where the train of thought is going. This is a good way to access that river of the subconscious, which is always brimming with ideas. When your words and shapes flow like a river, it bursts through any blockages and allows the ideas to come.  This is a good use for Water energy.  It is extremely helpful for when your imagination feels all parched and chapped.

Water is the energy of dreams and secrets.  When you pay attention to your dreams, you are tapping into Water energy, the energy of the subconscious.  These are watery visions, not always clear, like images viewed through water.  Just because you cannot see to the bottom of the pond does not mean there is nothing there, however. Looking through water helps you learn how to tell truth from illusion. It also makes you brave.  Are you willing to dive deeper into yourself?

The elemental spirits of Water are Undines. There are variations of the Undine–sometimes they are depicted as tiny water sprites, and sometimes as being identical to mermaids.   A similar creature that I think of as a Water elemental is the Selkie, or Seal-Woman of Celtic folklore.   A Selkie could remove her seal skin and become a woman, and, if a man found her seal-skin and hid it, she couldn’t go back to the water, and had to marry him.  However, even if she fell in love with her husband, and had children with him, she would still go back to the sea if she ever found her seal-skin. This, to me, is an apt metaphor for Water energy people–they always are yearning for love, and their true homes.  Water is associated with parental/child love, and the bonds Water energy people can forge are unbreakable.

If You’re Drowning

The best counters for Water are, naturally, Fire and Air. So if you find yourself feeling weepy, or sorrowful, or unable to stop giving, or having mood swings, try these:

1) Work out. I’m not going to go into the scientific proof that exercise is good for your mental state, because it is–it releases endorphins and other chemicals in the brain that relieve stress in depression. It also increases Fire and Air energy.

2) Get out in fresh air. If you aren’t afraid of heights, go someplace high up, like a balcony, a roof, or a tree.  Take a panoramic view.

3) See my entries on Fire and Air and perform the visualizations.  Air is here: https://turtlephoenix.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/energy-and-elements-air/

and here is Fire:

https://turtlephoenix.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/energy-and-the-elements-part-i-fire-and-earth/

Visualization for Forgiveness of the Self and Others

If you are feeling lonely, unloved, or hateful, or are having trouble forgiving someone (or yourself), imagine stepping into a pool of water.  If you can step into a pool or a bathtub in real life, so much the better.  A visualization will work just as well on dry land, though, provided you let yourself really get into it.

As with all the visualizations, make sure you get yourself into a place where you can be relaxed and undisturbed for at least 20 minutes.  Begin by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position.  Breathe naturally for a few moments. As you pay attention to your breath, you will find it slows and deepens.

Imagine that you are approaching a pool. The pool is deep blue and turquoise. The sand around it is soft and warm. If you find the night more calming, imagine the water reflects the clear sky, and all the stars in it.

Step into the pool. The water is silky, and smells like jasmine.  You splash your face with some of it.  As it touches your face, you feel a loosening. This loosening comes from a cleansing of any guilt or shame you may be feeling.  It floats away like grime, carried by the gentle lapping of the water.   You may decide to pour some of the water over yourself, washing everything away.  Or, you may dunk yourself, like a baptism, and have a little rebirth–the symbolic intention of baptism.

Imagine someone you are angry with, or afraid of, standing at the edge of the pool. This person is unable to harm you in any way.  He dangles his toes over the edge of the water. You make eye contact with him.  He asks you, either verbally or wordlessly, if he can step in.

If the thought upsets you, don’t force yourself to welcome this person into your healing pool. Perhaps, in time, with repeated practice of the visualization, you will be able to give your assent, and the person may enter the pool.

You may already feel welcoming to this person. If so, he may simply join you.  If you’d like, you can also gently splash him with the water, as well, or carefully anoint them with the water.  Don’t dunk them, as you might get a little carried away (just kidding). This person leaves whenever you want him to.

When you feel you are ready, gently rise from the pool.  The sun shines gently, or the stars sparkle brightly. The path welcomes you back home. If you are doing this in the bathtub, you can visualize your feelings of guilt, shame, and/or anger being sucked down the drain when you release the stopper.

Visualization for Greater Self-Awareness

Find your place where you will be uninterrupted, a place where you will feel safe and cozy.  Focus on your breathing, and relax. In this visualization, you are diving into your own subconscious, so, wherever a question is asked, don’t think to hard about the answer.  Let the images and words pop up to the top, like ducks bobbing on a lake. Just let it flow.

Visualize yourself walking on a beach.  The sand is soft and fine under your feet.  The waves are the breath of the world as they move in and out with the tide.  The water is cool and pleasant, and a shade of deep blue.  Around you are bountiful seashells of pearl and peach and blush.  Among them are chips of onyx glittering smooth.  As you walk along, picking them up, you notice they lead you right up to the rocky part of the beach.   The land slopes upward from the rocks here, and inside the slope, you see a cave mouth.

The floor of the cave mouth is damp and smooth.  Through the middle of it runs a little stream that begins deep within the cave.  The little stream is lined with rocks that make perfect stepping stones. You step from rock to rock, following the stream.

As you go deeper into the cave, it becomes lit from within with phosphorescent colors.  Pay attention to the colors your subconscious picks for this exercise. Pink is innocent and happy. Yellow is sunny, but can also be sickly to indicate fear.  Green may be dark and cool, encouraging calmness and objectivity.  It may also be oozy and gangrenous.

No matter what the color, you are not afraid. You feel a sense of well-being, and excitement about what you will discover.

You reach the end of the path, to the mouth of the stream, and find yourself in a magnificent grotto, lined with precious gems and stones, stalagmites and stalactites, and looking at them is like finding shapes in the clouds–quick! what form do your stones shape? Are they castles? Dragons? Reclining mermaids? Monsters with wide jaws, or wolves with wise eyes of amber?  What do these shapes tell you? Do you see a humongous cluster of rubies in their pure state, forming what you swear looks like a Ferrari?

Do the stones sparkle, or are they dim?

Waterfalls flow down the walls and into the pool.  Droplets spray up and land softly on your lips and cheeks. It tastes like ice wine–sweet and cool.  Looking at the surface of the pool, you see the colors that swirl around the edge.  Are these colors greens, yellows, and blues?   Or are they the colors of the sunset? Maybe the water is murky, and yet, no matter how murky the water is, you still are not afraid.

You step into the pool and swim until your feet can’t touch the ground. And then you dive.

You swim deeper and deeper, and as you go you realize you can breathe.  This is a relief, and it gives you confidence. If you feel a little nervous, that’s okay. Just keep breathing deeply. The deeper you go, the more you feel yourself relaxing into sinking deeper, and deeper.

Deeper……

Deeper…..

Then, you’re at the bottom.

Now, what do you see?

What does it look like?

What is waiting for you, or who?

What do they have to say?

Is there an object? Can you take it back with you?

Spend as much time here as you need.  Then, gently breathe yourself back up. Imagine that each breath brings you closer, and higher, and closer to the surface.  You see the lights of the grotto getting brighter, and brighter.

When you break the surface and swim to the rocks, take a moment to enjoy the feel of the water. This is your subconscious. It is a safe, nurturing place, even when it seems scary.  It can be tough, but once you explore it, and trust it, it will be your wise coach, your friend, even your savior.

Once you are out of the cavern, stay as long as you’d like in a relaxed, meditative state.

 

Energy and Elements: Air

Air

Air is a masculine energy.  It is the energy that compels us to soar, to dream, and to see the big picture. In my mind, Air energy is exemplified by birds, particularly hawks, eagles, ravens, and crows, because these are birds, according to mythology, that have been credited with being messengers of the gods and escorts to the underworld.

It will behoove us to remember this.  Air is so often associated with the mental, with the objective, and the reasonable and the rational. Air is indeed the intellectual element, but these birds remind us that people with Air energy have a birthright to the subconscious and the spiritual.

The creatures associated with Air are the sylphs, tiny fairy creatures that ride the breezes.  They are  known for their slender figures and large eyes. Although they are associated with a masculine element, they are all female.

Air is the energy to harness when things are feeling obscured.  It blows away the fog. It is the energy that will help you find calm and objectivity in times of stress and sorrow.  It is the view from the mountaintop, with the breeze clean, and the view clear.

Air energy is also like a blade. It cuts away pain, and rents holes in obstacles. It is the knife that Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction and rebirth, wields, uses to slice away Illusion.

Air is also the energy to use when you need a boost in communication. Mercury, that winged messenger of the Gods (as things with wings are wont to be, going back to the hawks and eagles) isn’t associated with the Air sign Gemini for nothing. Air is energy that grants the gift of blarney.  People with Air energy are well-spoken and charismatic. They are consummate at the art of persuasion, and have a gift for wit and the turning of phrases.

I associate Air energy with the eyes.  Air energy can be used to see the big picture, and the little details. It is this gift for intense scrutiny that helps solve problems. The creativity of Air energy is that of inventiveness.

Air is also good to tap into with travel matters.  It will ensure swift, safe motion.  This travel can be literal or metaphorical, such as the movement through the five stages of grief.

Healing Visualizations

Air energy is good when you have an excess of Earth and Water energies–when you feel murky, weighted, and lachrymose. In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of health, Air/Ether energy is called Vata, just as Fire/Water energy is Pitta, and Water/Earth is Kapha. Here are some visualizations to increase Vata.

To bring Air energy into your life, there are a couple visualizations. Before these visualizations, make sure you are in a place where you can be uninterrupted, a quiet place where you can feel safe. Spend a few minutes progressively relaxing your muscles, letting your breath slow and deepen.

Now, imagine you are in a wide open space. The air is clear and clean. Imagine you have wings. These wings can look however you want them to look–angelic, butterfly, raven, hawk–and these wings are strong.  These wings can carry you high and far.

Now imagine moving those wings. With each beat of these wings, energy and power builds, traveling all throughout your body, up your spine, lighting up your heart and third eye.  As this power rises, so do you, and soon you are soaring.

As you soar, you look ahead and you see your goal in front of you. As you fly closer to it, you can see the path to get there. It is clearing and opening for you.  You can see the steps to take.  You see where the shadow ends and the sunlight begins.

The sky opens to you, and it welcomes you. You feel expansive and light.  What does your sky look like?

In another visualization you can try, picture yourself standing on a mountain. You have a 360 degree view, an eagle’s view. You have scaled this mountain. You have earned this vantage point. You are now above your pain and confusion. It is down in the foothills. Up here, you can see past the current difficulty, and over the fog that surrounds you.  Enjoy this moment. What does you see, down at the foot of the mountain and beyond? What is above you?

Excessive Air Energy

Excessive Air (or Vata) energy can make you feel anxious and jittery, and even give you insomnia.  It can also make you dead to your emotions, over-rational, and distant from others. Here are some meditations to help you balance this out. The best way to counteract Air is with Water and Earth.

Again, before any visualization, make sure you’re in a quiet, safe place, with no interruptions. Center yourself first with progressive muscle relaxation and mindful breathing.

If you feel you need to connect with your empathy and your subconscious, you might want to try this Water visualization:

You are entering a moonlit glade. In this glade is a pool. The water is clear and clean, and the perfect temperature. You sink into it.  As you float, the moon and stars play on your face.

Or, perhaps it is a sunlit glade, and the shadows and sunshine flit across the surface of the pool like fish.

The silky water is soothing. You duck under the water, and swim through the grotto. What do you see below the surface? Are there fish? Anemones? Or perhaps just jewel toned sand? Feel the water slide and sinuate around you.

Also, on a more concrete plan, you can take a nice hot bath, or jump in a pool and do some laps.

If you need to be more grounded, try an Earth meditation:

After becoming centered, put yourself in a forest. The forest is made of trees that tower over you, forming a protective bower. They are ushering you, with a flourish, to your destination–the entrance to a cave. However, spend as much time with the trees as you’d like. Let your imagination pick whatever season it wants to settle into.  You may feel an incredible relief just being among the trees. Let it happen.

When you get to the cave entrance, you find that it is the perfect size for you to enter. The cave is cozy, warm, and sweet smelling, like a Narnian rabbit warren, or a Hobbit hole. Everywhere is a soft glow.

As you curl up, or stretch out, on the soft, comfortable bed of earth, you feel a gentle sound, infinitely familiar. It is the sound of a heart beating.

Spend as much time as you need to feel grounded and secure.

You can also increase this experience by making yourself a little hidey hole and curling up.

Energy and the Elements, Part I: Fire and Earth

I have noticed, writing this blog, that the energy of each element has the potential to be creative.  However, they are creative in different ways. I’ve been wanting to post about how each element manifests the creative force, and when to focus on a specific elemental energy. Also, I wanted to write about how to neutralize out of control elements.  Part 1 will discuss Fire and Earth.

Fire

Fire is masculine and rules EXTERNAL action. It can be driving and burning. You want fire energy to help you take that first step to making your dream real. It is also indispensable when courage is needed. In love, fire is the element that brings passion–this applies not just to romantic love, but to any pursuit that gives you intense feeling.

The elemental for Fire is the salamander, a dragon-like creature which is sometimes depicted as being aflame, but unharmed. More recently, salamanders have been depicted as being made out of flames. The salamander can be large, or very tiny.  An interesting origin story for the legend of salamanders is that real salamanders like to live inside logs.  When the logs are tossed on the fire, the salamanders, naturally, run out of the flames. (source)  Salamanders symbolize grace under fire (literally, in the salamander’s case) and faith that cannot be extinguished (source).  You might like to visualize a salamander as a companion during your meditations.

 

Of course, the phoenix (one of my personal spirit animals) is also aligned with fire.  It represents the necessary burning away to make room to rise stronger, better, and more beautiful than before.  This concept is also seen in the fact that there are some tree seeds that only sprout if they have been exposed to forest fires.

Fire is also cleansing. It can burn away sickness and negative energy.

To bring this courage, passion, and driving force to your endeavors, sit or lie down, and focus on your breath.  Just relax and notice it.

Imagine a small fire kindling inside you. This fire starts right in the middle of the area where you sit (your root chakra) and flames through your lower spine (the sacral chakra) and into your belly (the solar plexus chakra).  The color of these chakras are red, orange, and yellow, respectively.  The red root chakra concerns sexuality (making this exercise excellent before a big date) as well as security, which is necessary for courage and moving outward.  The orange sacral chakra is about enthusiasm, creativity, and joy.  The yellow solar plexus chakra (so called because it is the center of the body, like the sun) governs personal power, expansiveness, courage, and growth.  Visualize these chakras igniting, and the flame moving up the spinal column.

Imagine the fire burning away all negative emotion, all pain, and changing anything that torments you into heat and light.  Imagine this heat and light filling every single cell of your body.

Stay in this warmth and light and flame until you feel cleansed and energized.

Fire is useful for healing if channeled as a gentle heat. This is especially nice for sore muscles or frost bite, or just when you’re feeling chilly.  A good visualization for this is to imagine red, orange, and yellow liquid energy, or light energy, flowing into the effective area.

If fire gets out of control, it manifests as anger and manic behavior.  There is intense activity, followed by a crashing burn-out.  Physically, this shows up as infections.  It is helpful, then, to imagine cooling energy of a green or blue color–either as light or as liquid–and picture it “washing out” and cooling the affected area. If the excess fire is emotional, imagine the entire body filling with this blue/green liquid light.

Earth

Earth lends practicality and patience. It brings abundance and fertility. It moves slower than fire or air energy, with a great payoff.  Soil is not the only component of Earth–flowers and trees are also part of the Earth, and so are useful to meditate on.

Earth is a feminine element, and is very nurturing and calm.  However, this is deceiving. There is a lot of activity in the Earth and its flora.  Think of sap rising, or flowers stretching toward the sun. It takes time, but it is steady, constant change, not the flaring of fire or quicksilver air.  It is associated with the Mother goddess, who gave unconditionally.

The Gnome is the Earth elemental.  Gnomes look like tiny humans, and live in the earth.  Fittingly, they are very practical, and are known for their agrarian and craftsman skills.   They have individual personalities, and are usually depicted as helpful.

Other creatures associated with the Earth are the beautiful dryads, or tree nymphs, and brownies, mischievous elves who live in the trees and in the earth.

Earth energy is helpful is you feel adrift and insecure. It is an energy that gives a feeling of safety, so it is also good for anxiety or any other type of nervous energy. It helps you stand tall.

Earth is also very good for transforming painful memories or thoughts into something healing and valuable.

If you’re feeling anxious, sit or lie down, and just breathe for a few moments. Simply notice your breath, and how it feels going in and out.

Imagine energy in the form of roots growing down out of your body, and up out of the earth. Imagine these two energies meeting. These roots may be dark green, gold, or pink. You are now connected to the Earth element.

Imagine this energy gently supporting you and enveloping you.  It can feel warm, or cool, whatever you need. It wraps you like a blanket or a mother’s arms. The energy is also flowing into your body, strengthening you, and giving you power and endurance, like sap in a mighty oak tree.  Imagine it fortifying your root chakra, located by your tailbone. Feel your spine lengthen and grow tall.

When you need endurance, visualize this energy traveling up your spine into the top of your head.  Imagine yourself growing, growing, growing toward your goal. When the energy reaches the top of your head, visualize yourself having reached your goal. Imagine how wonderful it feels.

Sit in this visualization until you feel warm and secure, or until you have a boost of confidence.

To cleanse and transform negativity, sit and breath as before.  Relax.  Imagine the negative emotion as something you can see–you may choose to make it a monster, or sludge clogging you.  If it is a negative experience, imagine the experience being played on a big movie theater screen. Imagine it shrinking down until it is tiny.

Get the Earth energy flowing through you again.  Then, imagine the Earth’s roots sucking away the negativity, the tiny screen, the monster, the sludge. Imagine it getting sucked down out of your feet, or out of your back, if you are lying down, and into the Earth.  Visualize the healing energy, in the color you chose, being taken into your body through your energy roots.

Now imagine the Earth turning this negativity into soil. This soil is nutrient rich. This soil can now produce positive, healing energy. It has been transmuted.

The shadow side of Earth energy, or a sign of having too much, is sluggishness, lethargy, and depression. Things are stagnant, and there is no motivation. The best way to counter this is to look to the fire and air elements, which are more kinetic.  I highly recommend doing the kindling visualization, described in the fire description, or this air visualization.

Lie down or sit with your feet flat on the floor.  Pay attention to your breath. Don’t force it, just notice it.

This is the element of air. This is what keeps you alive.

Visualize it filling every nook and cranny of your body, every cell.  Imagine it filling all the deflated parts of you.  Imagine it lifting your chest, your shoulders, and your heart. Imagine it surrounding your brain through your nostrils.  Visualize your brain waking up in every cell.

Now, we will go further.  Imagine flying on a stream of air. This air supports you and propels you, just like water. Feel it rushing into your face, into your lungs, refreshing you.  This air is taking you places.  Give yourself the wings of your dreams, if you’d like.  Look down.  What beautiful scene do you spy rushing underneath you? You have an eagle eye view of it.  There are opportunities as far as the eye can see.

Look around you. If you see clouds, or things look murky, imagine a gentle but strong breeze blowing them away.

Tell yourself, I have the energy and foresight to achieve what I want to achieve.  

 

Stay in this space until you feel clear, refreshed, and energetic.

 

This visualization will be reprinted in Part 2, when I discuss Air and Water.

highly recommend Caroline Myss’s Anatomy of the Spirit for further discussion of the chakras.  It is fantastic.  It is in-depth, and accessible without being condescending. It’s also a fascinating read. It not only discusses the chakras, but the Kabbalah Tree of Life and the Christian Sacraments.