Earth Wisdom Tarot Sacred Art

Weekly Wisdom: Cleansing, Sacred Waters

in Card of the Week, Place, Tarot

Gaian Waters

“Blessed be the precious and preserving water,
the water of life, our cleansing guest.”
– Caitlin Matthews

This week, over in my “Gaian Soul Practices for Candlemas” e-course, we are considering the theme of “Cleansing and Purification.”  So there’s a water theme weaving its way through the material.

Today’s journal prompt is:

What bodies of water (lake, sea, river) do you hold as sacred? 

For me, the waters I hold as most sacred are:

  • The waters of the Salish Sea, especially around Lummi Island and Orcas Island.
  • The Nooksack River, as it winds its way down from Komo Kulshan (Mt Baker) to Bellingham Bay.
  • Bellingham Bay itself, where we left a cedar wreath symbolizing my father, thrown from a US Coast Guard cutter, a few days after his memorial service in August of 1996.  (USCG would not allow us to scatter his ashes.)
  • Chalice Well in Glastonbury, England.
  • The beach near Merlin’s Cave, Tintagel, Cornwall, England.
  • The waters off the California coast between Monterey and Big Sur.

It’s not so surprising then, that many of these waters found their way into the imagery of the Gaian Tarot.

The Ace of Water shows a young salmon emerging from a deep pool in the Nooksack River.

Gaian Tarot Ace of Water

The Elder of Water shows a man in a skiff in Hale Passage (in the Salish Sea) between Lummi Island and the mainland.

Gaian Tarot Elder of Water

The Nine of Water shows me in Merlin’s Cave, Tintagel, Cornwall.

Gaian Tarot Nine of Water

The Four of Water shows a woman kneeling by the side of Chalice Well.

Gaian Tarot Four of Water

In the Gaian Tarot, the suit of Water stands in for the traditional suit of Cups. Water in the tarot embodies emotions (bliss, love, sorrow, joy, grief, disappointment), inner depths, dreams, fantasies, imagination, healing, spirituality and mysticism.

Oh yes, and — cleansing.

When it comes to our relationship with Mama Gaia and Mama Ocean, it’s all about reciprocity.  So yes, Her waters cleanse us — and we have a responsibility to protect and cleanse Her waters as well. So we get to know our own watersheds, and we contribute to organizations we trust who are doing the work. We get our hands dirty (literally) and do what we can.

I love Dr. Emoto’s simple prayer for the waters of the world:

We’re sorry, Water.
Please forgive us, Water.
We thank you, Water.
We love you, Water.

Dear Reader, what bodies of water do you hold as sacred? How do they cleanse you, and how do you, in turn, protect them?

Thoughtful, sparkling comments. . .

  • Danielle Mon - Feb 06th 2012 6:34 pm

    Lovely! I, too, have always felt a strong sense of connection to the waters where I live, and their tremendous power to heal and cleanse us, and have always felt a sense of responsibility to make sure I do my part to cleanse the waters in return. To me, the waters of the Jersey shore are so special, in part because over the course of my 27 years growing up spending my time with them, they have taken such a journey from the stereotypical vision of muddy smelly water and syringes in the sand to the beautiful, clear water and silky white sand that make up the Jersey shore beaches today. And as someone who has always fought hard to keep them clean and safe, I can really take ownership in that fact, which makes me appreciate them more! There really is that sense of reciprocity you were talking about, and I love that!

    • Joanna Tue - Feb 07th 2012 9:48 am

      Danielle, this is lovely. I remember now, you do environmental work, don’t you? I’ve never been to the Jersey Shore. Maybe someday I will make it there!

  • Gabriel Kingsley Mon - Feb 06th 2012 7:46 pm

    I hold: Salmon River, Pulaski NY; Onieda Lake, Bridgeport NY; Onondaga Lake, Syracuse NY: Moss Lake, Adirondacks NY sacred.
    How they cleanse me: Especially Salmon River…

    They cleanse me as I sit near them. I take in there beauty, the smell of the air that wafts off them, the coolness as I sit in them (except Onondaga polluted), its like a meditation you can approach a body of water with any amount of stress or concerns, and even grief and as the water flows over your body its like a soothing body peel, it takes one layer off at a time and you just feel refreshed, lightened, and re-energized.

    In re-turn how I protect them: As sad as it is I don’t do anything big (IMHO) but I pray for the cleansing of our water, and that ignorant people/corporations don’t ruin them or ruin them any worse than they are…. I do pick up debris I see lying around and remind people whom I am with why they shouldn’t toss stuff by the way side and if they don’t pick it up I do. I also thank the water for it being here for us, for helping me, and for faithfully continuing to flow and nurture all that flourishes with in!

    • Joanna Tue - Feb 07th 2012 9:49 am

      Gabriel, every little bit helps, IMHO, and especially having the kind of *consciousness* you have, is so important. Blessings!

  • Arwen Tue - Feb 07th 2012 3:58 pm

    Bayous. I hold bayous sacred. I grew up in north Louisiana where I was blessed to have a 17′ canoe available to me. My mother’s boyfriend created a trailer for it out so I could easily wheel it down to the bayou that was only a block and a half from my house. I spent a large part of my life on that bayou in that canoe.

    • Joanna Wed - Feb 08th 2012 7:09 am

      Mmm, bayous! Lovely.

  • Gabriel Kingsley Tue - Feb 07th 2012 8:01 pm

    Canoes and Kayaking are the best way to travel the water!! No toxicities going in the water, no noise pollution, and serine.

    • Joanna Wed - Feb 08th 2012 7:10 am

      I agree. Probably no surprise that I love kayaking and canoeing so much.

  • Danielle Tue - Feb 07th 2012 8:37 pm

    I agree! I love gliding through the water on a kayak! Yes, Joanna I am an environmental scientist, and I love it!
    I hope you can get the chance to visit the beautiful Jersey Shore! If you ever do, you have an open invitation!

    • Joanna Wed - Feb 08th 2012 7:10 am

      Thank you Danielle! 🙂

  • Madeline Hill Sat - Feb 11th 2012 9:04 am

    The week is almost over! But I am still contemplating cleansing, and the element of WATER. I connect with all waters! It is the MOST ESSENTIAL ELEMENT to my well being!!! Wherever I live,I find the water.I grew up in South Jersey and was married on the beach in Ocean City. I lived in Houston at the edge of a misty, spooky moss-laden bayou called “Armand’s Bayou..” Here in Arizona ,(yes, we have WATER!) my husband and I have hiked miles to find all the secret waterfalls. We drive 4 hours to Puerto Penasco to bathe in the Sea of Cortez (dolphins!) and can also drive to San Diego where we relax at the foot of the Ocean Mother. I have a swimming pool in my yard that looks like a pond, and even the BATHTUB offers Her solace after a long and wild day! WATER WATER EVERYWHERE. As a Cancerian, (m husband is one too!) I go to water for peace, to cleanse, to renew, to play, to celebrate.

    Thank you for all your sharing!

    • Joanna Sun - Feb 12th 2012 7:57 am

      Ah, such a lovely list, Madeline! I love all the different kinds of water that engage you!