Unleashing my Inner Mermaid & Reclaiming Water Wisdom
Our bodies and the Earth itself are comprised mainly of water. We are born into it, birthed from it, and rely on it for survival. Water can smooth rough edges, slip through the cracks, cleanse while moving, grow life while stagnant. It can heal and purify or it can engulf and destroy. Water is hard to grasp, contain, analyse, hold onto, or control. It is equally loved and feared, respected and abused. It is the blood that flows through our veins and from our uterus, the sweat of our work and our lovemaking, the tears of our joys and sorrows. It is always there to help us cleanse, process, let go, renew, revitalise, nourish. Its power is great.
I have been on a watery journey for the past several years, my whole life in hindsight, but especially since giving birth to my daughter. The process of pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding and mothering is an especially watery ride. We can lose our sense of self to such a degree that we feel we may disappear. Bodily fluids are at their most abundant. Emotions are heightened to such a degree it can be crushing. There’s a preciousness, fragility and depth to small every day tasks that is mind boggling. The things that used to be small and insignificant become heavy with feeling, and the things that were important before are small and superfluous. Time feels different. Life becomes more of an flow, with a palpable undercurrent of awareness of life and death. It is challenging, beautiful, and alive. (Just now, my daughter’s school’s Safe Arrival Program just called saying she wasn’t there. I said she should be…while they put me on hold to check I vascillated between a calmness of knowing she was there intuitively and a mother bear anxiety attack. She was there. Whew).
Water is the element of our emotions. Society doesn’t really value sensitivity or emotionality in people- men or women. It is seen as unproductive, self-indulgent, ‘crazy’, irrational. Water brings the urge to merge- emotionally, sexually, physically. It reminds us of our origins in Oneness, the womb, love and connection. Water is our collective unconscious, the world of dreams, and visions. Passion, love, desire and fear, are all under its rule. It threatens order in a one way, but restores it in another with its healing abilities.
Our society prefers that we all stay separate in little compartments, contained and in control. This creates a thirst and longing for love and connection, or a subdued resignation touted as safety. Emotions, merging, intimacy, feeling, and connecting on a deep level with people and living a passionate life is deemed destructive and dangerous. So we think, rationalise, protect and guard our heart and impulses until we don’t even know what’s in there anymore, we fear unlocking a floodgate to such a degree that we become paralysed and not even know it, because in our regular mundane world we appear normal, rational and in control, and so we think we are. But really, we are just walking dead, and we wonder why we are uninspired, miserable, and unable to sustain relationships.
Some of us can go through life like this without much consequence. Others, like myself are here to live the fluid, passionate life because our body and mind get very ill if we don’t. Our feelings speak loudly and we have to listen.
I have had all kinds of signs that water holds the key not only to my personal healing but in the reclaiming of the power of the Sacred Feminine that this planet so desperately needs. The Sacred Feminine to me, is mainly about water wisdom. The ‘Holy Grail’ itself is a water symbol. The womb is our personal chalice of emotions that fills and empties itself each month. It is where life begins, just like the ocean. Each month we have the opportunity to dive into our emotional depths, retrieve inspiration and bring them out the light. We dive down, and come up, dive down, and come up again. Women are all naturally keepers of water medicine.
Some pieces of my watery journey over the last several months…
Last spring, I was at the Native Canadian Center for a Full Moon Ceremony. I was in the gift shop, and this large white shell drew me. I picked it up and just brushed it against my cheek, breathed it in, stroked it, and felt a feeling of coming home, and a longing to return to the ocean. I have never actually physically been to the ocean. But I know it, somehow. The elder holding the ceremony explained that women are the stewardesses of water, it is our responsibility to care for it. Water blessing is always a part of these ceremonies. This resonated with me deeply, and with several of the other women there. We sang an ojibwe water song, and honored the water spirits. I took home my shell and made it the centrepeice of my main altar. Now it sits on my Water altar. A place where I honor specifically the water element, send prayers for Her and for healing.
Around the same time, I was going through emotional turmoil and change in my relationships, health and sexual life. I was lucky to be studying shamanic healing with Daniel Leonard, a talented shamanic healer and water-wise man. He did a soul retrieval (A shamanic healing technique to bring back a person’s power that was previously lost through trauma) that brought back a load of feminine power and lost gifts from the watery realms back to me that I had lost in other lifetimes and in childhood. I felt so alive with a newfound energy.
Soon after, a fellow shamanic student Karen did another soul retrieval on me as practice, which also involved much water imagery and reclaiming my gifts as a water spirit. These healings were only a week apart and neither of the practitioners knew what the other had seen but their visions were strikingly similar. I was advised to swim some laps at the pool, do cleansing baths and buy myself a mermaid doll as ways to integrate this healing. So I did. And things shifted inside me.
Suddenly the most important relationship to me was the one I had with myself. All else was completely secondary. The swimming helped me feel strong enough to navigate my powerful feelings, so they did not overwhelm me. The mermaid doll revived a childlike innocence and power of sensitivity I had rejected and needed to accept as a strength if I was to truly connect with people from the heart. The baths helped me let go of old wounds and fears that kept me bound to situations and people who stole my power. I vowed to live true to my deep feeling, intuitive, empathic self from now on and stop doubting and giving my power away to others, or putting expectations on them to fulfill my needs for emotional intimacy. The love, depth and acceptance I seek is within me.
Over the summer, I spent a lot of time in healing, sacred bodies of water up on Manitoulin Island, gave offerings and sent prayers for peace and healing. I received a lot from those waters, and any time I did a shamanic journey I was taken to the realms of water spirits and creatures. They helped melt some of my protective walls that were not serving me and reminded me of the power of just letting tears flow and letting go of fixed ideas about how things should be, and surrender to what is.
Now this fall, I am seeking to reclaim my watery gifts as an empath and intuitive who holds a wealth emotional wisdom, even if that wisdom is often misunderstood. I always thought of my extreme empathy, sensuality and depth of feeling as a weakness- a painful liability. It only seemed to get me hurt, make me feel isolated or like I do not belong here in this world. In order to survive, I developed tactics of detachment and defense. But I am in a life where I can no longer do this. Through shamanic healing I am reclaiming my wounds and sensitivity as my source of power, and am finding the hidden gems of abilities, to be gently held, coaxed, nourished, embraced, developed- not pushed aside, rejected, rationalised, glossed over, or ignored.
I can’t tell you how often I have asked women ‘What does your intuition say?’ and they reply ‘Oh, my intuition is never right’ grimly.
I empathise. I know the feeling. But it’s a trap. Its easier to belittle ourselves than believe in our intuitive power. What if this time you were right? What if you always were, you just didn’t see the full picture? What is ‘right’ anyway?
What about all those times you listened to someone else, or did the acceptable thing and then regretted it and wished you had listened to that little internal nudge, voice, feeling inside your gut that said otherwise?
Sometimes it takes practice to catch it, to respond to it, but its there, and its right, and valid. All our feelings are valid. We may react to things, say things we don’t mean, hurt people we love by following our feelings, but those interactions will teach us the noble art of forgiveness, letting go, and compassion.
Those times where you made a mistake, guessed wrong, or went on a tangent from your straight and narrow path- did it not teach you a valuable lesson? Are you not wiser now? Did you not glean a gift from that experience? If it led to a situation of loss, disempowerment and pain- we must remember that is a fertile place of growth, of opportunity and compassion- for ourselves and others. If you are feeling broken, trapped, like there’s no way out, don’t be afraid seek out support for your healing. Others have tread in those dark places too and are willing to help you, empathise, hold your hand. You are not alone.
One thing I am discovering is that I am never being led the wrong way by my feelings. I am simply being led down a path of wisdom from experience that makes me a deeper human being. And along the way I often bump into magic, love and joy I never thought possible.
I find I just have to shift my perception to a place of honouring myself as the authority in my life, from there I liberate my feelings, dreams and sensitivities trusting them as wise messengers of my Soul- powerful allies that are steering me ON course. The oceanic path may appear tumultuous, chaotic, mysterious, sometimes unworthy or unproductive, but I believe it is completely WISE beyond belief and my higher self is the spiritual captain taking me exactly where I need to be.
This is an invitation to honour, sit with or express your feelings- without rationalising, analysing, withholding, rejecting or denying. Some feelings are more comfortable for us than others. Sometimes we can only open the door to our heart just a little bit- and that’s okay. Being gentle yields more results than being tough. Like any other muscle, the heart cannot be forced to relax. Then you can open just a little more until it feels uncomfortable, a place where you can unleash a tear or two, or even a whole flood and just ride the wave and see where it takes you.
What does your heart say? What does your womb say? I often place my hands on each of these areas to access my deepest truths. Keep checking in, notice your breath, your thoughts, your impulses, and TRUST that its messages will steer you in the right direction.
I married a strong, Earthy man who is a source of stability and warmth for me. His love reminds me that I am ok, that I am not crazy. He allows me my tides, even if he doesn’t understand them himself. He looks on patiently and adoringly at this creature from the watery depths. Holds my hand in case I drift too far from shore. Through my many transitions, fits and tears, he is always there, stable as a rock. I am incredibly lucky to have him- he balances me , while helping me to develop my inner strength and independence. We teach each other.
But there are times when I need to relate with others of my own kind… Merpeople, I shall call them- Women and men who understand and work with water wisdom. The path of surrender, chaos, change, healing, transformation, depth, pain, love, gentleness and boundlessness. People who choose the life of tumult over safety, feeling over intellect, turn wounds into art, dive for treasures and relate from a place of compassion, gentleness, empathy and heart- who know and feel that being sensitive is not a weakness, but a strength, and aren’t afraid to be vulnerable.
Thankyou to my ‘merpeople’ friends and warriors of water who are helping heal the waters in us and the planet. I have had the pleasure of dancing with Roula Said, creatrix of Seven Waves Bellydance method, and Ioana Timaru, founder of Undine Dance Company- you ladies keep my waves flowing when I need it, mermaid priestess Kia of Ravenheart Healing Arts, and Stacie Noel of Mermaid in Canada who are inspiring me to embrace the mermaid power in daily life. Alex Collas of PeruFlow, a good friend and oceanic woman of many talents; My long time watery friends who always hold compassionate space and love without judgement, no matter what mess I have gotten into over the years- Rose and Amanda; Fellow witches; Erica Ross and Nan Keyser, founders of Dance our Way Home, a sanctuary of dance medicine for sensitive women, Daniel Leonard of The Medicine Circle- a brave man who is an example of the immense healing power of vulnerability and my fellow Medicine Circle ladies; my family, who all carry water medicine to varying degress, my sweet daughter Zara who keeps me in my heart every day and all you other sensitives that have touched me through the years, thank-you. And thank-you to the waters of life itself- the lakes, rivers, creeks and streams that feed me, nourish me, cleanse me and its creatures that visit me in my dreams and journeys. Blessed be the water and may She flow through us into new ways of being, accepting, and relating to each other, in heartfelt ways. I am still learning so much from the water element, and look forward to the experiences to come.
How can you reclaim the power of your feelings today? What role does water hold in your life? How can you honor it in yourself or your environment? Do you feel there is a connection between water and the Sacred Feminine? Is there an area in your life in need of healing or transformation?
A chant for you: