I grew up by the beach in Southern California, and the ocean has always been an essential part of my life.
I remember thinking as a little girl that if there was any sort of spiritual power alive and operating on our planet, it was in the cerulean waves that beat against the shore, sending mists of salt and microscopic plankton into the air.
On summer days, I’d dive into the water and feel myself so entirely powerful and powerless, glistening with salt and light and blue.
These moments were magical and are some of my most important memories. They influence much of how I move through my now (mostly) non-aquatic adult life.
Though I am currently not able to make it to the ocean as often as I would like, when I do go swimming, I still feel this way. It always surprises me. Sometimes I feel so far removed from the world of the beautiful and transcendent, getting caught up in concrete-covered Los Angeles life, and the anxiety that unfortunately often goes along with it.
The feeling I get from jumping into the ocean surprises me, because nothing else, nothing, is as powerful at removing negative energy from my body and spirit.
I guess it’s no revelation that the combined physical, psychological, and spiritual effects of being in the sunlight, hearing the calming sounds of crumbling waves, immersing myself in cool natural water filled with energy-cleansing salt, and being pulled by tides of the moon’s whims would have this kind of effect on me.
Still, as someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety, has been on several antidepressants, seen a few therapists, and does truly believe in the importance of these clinical things, it is magical to know that the ocean’s natural power can calm and ground me as it does.
Not only does it relax me, it helps me to remember who I am. It dissolves the negative voices inside my head and allows the gentle voice of the water goddess to work its way through my psyche.
Goddesses like Amphitrite serve as inspirations; I can summon and honor them, only to discover that they already exist within. Like these water goddesses, I am strong, creative, beautiful, sensitive, and intelligent. I make tempests. I can take sailors down if I choose. I sculpt coral reefs and grow kelp forests that extend five feet a day. I move with the moon.
Wherever I go, I strive to take this with me. Whether I’m able to drive out to the ocean, or if I’m just taking a shower, washing my hands, or drinking from a water dispenser, I remind myself of this power.
The childhood fantasy of myself as a mermaid-like water goddess is more essential than ever. As we plunge further and further into adult life, it’s important not to lose our early dreams like these, as many of them speak to the deepest truths of who we still are.
While I navigate the challenges of school, jobs, relationships, and daily practicalities, the goddess reigns inside of me. My body, seventy-five percent water, pumping with currents of salty blood, is in rhythm with the tides. When things get stormy and painful, I think of a poem written by the witch Gracia Amos, which exhorts, “Weeping is nature’s way of bringing the ocean to us.”
It’s where we came from, after all. And so I remind myself everyday: I am a mermaid, a goddess, a water witch.
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