sea

Interview with Annwyn Avalon: Water Witch

June, 2019

Dancer, artist, author, witch, priestess; with this many titles and roles, it’s clear that Annwyn Avalon is kept busy. Fresh from a workshop at Pantheacon, Annwyn was kind enough to talk to Mabh here at PaganPagesOrg about her new book, Water Witchcraft, and other aspects of her work.

Mabh Savage: How would you describe the concept of water witchcraft to a complete novice?

Annwyn Avalon: Water Witchcraft, simply put, is Witchcraft that uses water as the main modality for their magic and/or they may use water related items, work with water spirits and deities and perform many of their spells or rituals with, on, or near water. A Sea Witch is a very popular example, but it goes beyond just the ocean. It is a draw to the natural watery world, the subaqueous realms and all the water on the surface of the planet. Many of us have our own favourite body of water and they range from small springs and creeks to lakes, rivers and oceans. A Water Witch will often choose to cleanse with water rather than smoke, and may choose a cauldron, cup or bowl over a candle or ritual knife. They may work with gem elixirs, teas, sacred baths and many, many other types of watery magic!

MS: What first inspired you to write the book, Water Witchcraft?

AA: This is a long and complicated answer so I will try to keep it short. It was a combination of being drawn to the water, loving water, an obsession with folklore surrounding water and the major lack of information there is out there. There are so very few books that focus on Water Magic and some of them are very well done while others feel very rushed, but there remains only a small number of books on the subject. They also seemed to only focus on one body of water, the ocean or sacred wells. Water is so diverse and there are so many types that I wanted to put something together that would not only cover all types of water, but that was full of information that would be useful to everyone. This actually ended up starting as a 9-month course on water magic and by the time the book was in full swing it was being narrowed down to focus specifically on Brythonic magic.

MS: And what initially drew you to the magic of water and watery beings?

AA: I have always been a very watery person. I was born under Cancer with a Pisces moon, I grew up in Florida and spent many days in the fresh water springs, swamps and along the sea shore. Water has always been a strong presence in my life. Later, I was intensely drawn to Pre-Raphaelite paintings and literature many of which feature watery women and faery women. I realized later that it was the strong draw to the water, the water nymphs, mermaids and other watery creatures that was part of the draw. The other was the feminine form, a call to remember the Goddess.

MS: Is there a water spirit, being or deity you feel closest to?

AA: Yes, I think the most prominent spirit in my life at the moment is Sulis, the Thermal Springs Solar Goddess whose temple is found in Bath, UK. However, I work with other Goddesses and Watery Faery Women such as the Gwragedd Annwn, Morganna, Melsine, and Aphrodite. I also honor the masculine in the forms often found near sacred springs such as Belenos, and Gwyn ap Nudd, who is honoured at the White Spring in Glastonbury. Sulis and the Gwragedd Annwn have been with me since I was a child. I have always been deeply connected with Springs and the spirits that dwell within.

MS: What are the benefits of deepening our connection to water?

AA: Right now, our waters are in so much danger. Each day it is polluted and contaminated, and more atrocities are done by oil companies, over-farming, and the dolphin slaughter. When we deepen our connection, we wake up to these horrible things that are happening, and we are called to take action; to help form a better, cleaner, more awake world that understands how precious these natural wonders are. We are 70% water, which means that we must protect the water of this planet or we ourselves will become endangered and poisoned, much of which we are already beginning to see. Beyond that, water is the element of emotion and it urges us to connect deeply with our emotions and often works as a mirror showing us how to refine and conquer our shadow. It also lends wisdom, and the power of immense change.

MS: Who is the book aimed at? Who will get the most out of it?

AA: There are many people that are watery natured, drawn to the water or are called by water spirits, mer-folk and deity to connect with the water. This book is for them, but also any witch or magical practitioner that may wish to connect with water, wish to use water in their practice or has a mission to protect and get closer to the natural world. If your practice involves activism, and a deep connection to the Genius Loci, then there will be much value in this book for you!

MS: You do several courses as well as mentoring. What’s your favourite course that you teach and why?

AA: I offer several classes on my Water Witchcraft website, as well as through my tradition Triskele Rose and I am currently working on 2 more that will release in 2019-2020 on the Water Witchcraft website. However, if I had to choose a favourite it would be the 9-month Water Magic course. I think this course offers a good introduction to my own personal practice and really offers so much to the student that everyone regardless of path, location or ability gets a really good heaping handful of information. Everyone walks away from the course with so much knowledge and experience; it really bursts my heart open to see people work so hard and become so passionate about water and the magical practices that surround it.

MS: When did you discover that you had a passion for teaching? How did this come about?

AA: I think I have always been a natural teacher. As a teen, I was always teaching younger children. I spent several years in my late teens and early twenties learning to belly dance, and after I became proficient I had an opportunity to start teaching it to others. This is where I truly began to blossom as being able to provide a space for my students to explore and learn was so fulfilling for me. In my own experience I have learned that when I teach something, I become so familiar with it that while I significantly deepen my own connection with the material. I have also discovered that working with students one on one provides me with options and experiences from other perspectives that I learn to deepen my own knowledge, experience and mental reach on the subject. Not only that, not everything works for everyone and so I am able to work with students to adapt things to help make it work for them and future students. There is so much joy in this for me, making these practices accessible to those that may have never had the experiences before, watching the insecure witchling blossom into a powerful, confident witch; there is nothing better than that!

MS: You’re also an oracle- tell us a little bit about what this means.

AA: I was given my first tarot deck when I was 19, it didn’t take me long to learn how to read them and to find out I was quite good at it. Over the years I practiced and read for friends, then I began to branch out and read for everyone I could. While living in Arizona, I worked for a party planner and was able to do large gigs for corporate events. They were quite fun actually and I read for many, many people in one night. I don’t do this anymore, but I still love to read. Currently I run a monthly special, and have several types of readings available on my website. I also do Live Stream Water Witch Wednesday which happens every Wednesday 11:00 am PST on Instagram Live (@annwynavalon). I am on for about an hour, we talk about Water Magic, have Q and A time and then I take small prayer/spell requests as well as pull oracle or tarot cards to deliver messages from the water spirits to those that tune in and ask. I really enjoy this because I get to interact with many people and offer free readings for those that usually couldn’t afford to have a private appointment or take classes. While my time is important to me, I really value getting the messages that the water spirits want out into the world for those that need it regardless of transaction.

MS: Where is your most sacred place, or the place that means the most to you in terms of your magic?

AA: This is hard. If I am speaking locally then it would be the little space in my yard that I have set aside for a water temple. I am lucky enough to have a creek that runs through my property and there is a little waterfall, hawthorn and hazel trees, and a little secluded place where I have my outdoor altar. However, if you are asking about worldwide then it would be Scotland or England especially around Glastonbury, Cornwall, and Sulis’s temple at Bath as they have all had profound impacts on me and where I feel most connected to the land, spirits and the cultural practices. England has always held a piece of my heart and soul and I try to make it back as much as I can to visit.

MS: You’re also an accomplished artist. What is your favourite piece that you’ve created to date?

AA: Oh, this is hard because I really like all the art I release to the world! However, there are two paintings, one of my best friends and one of Sulis that I made for her, she owns both the original pieces, but they are my favourite because they were done with love and passion. Of the paintings I still have in my inventory I recently did a painting of Thalassa that I really like as well as a painting of a Water Priestess that I believe was channelled from an ancient past life. While it is not the most technically correct piece, there is something about it that makes my heart sing.

MS: And what’s your favourite piece of art by another artist, and why?

AA: The Lady of Shalott by J.W. Waterhouse remains by far my favourite painting of all time. Though there are many more by him and other Pre-Raphaelites that also capture my heart. The Lady of Shalott has been a source of inspiration for me since I was a very young girl, through the various paintings by Waterhouse and others to the poem by Tennyson as well as sung by Loreena McKennitt. La Bell de Sans Merci is a close second as well, in both painting by Waterhouse and poem by Keats.

MS: Do you have a favourite season or festival?

AA: Yes! The fall by far is my favourite, especially that period right between Samhain and Yule when it’s getting darker and colder. Don’t get me wrong, I love the spring as well, but if I had to pick between the two, the cooler darker days, the fall leaves and all the festivals and celebrations really make me happy, especially after all the heat of the summer. This dark mysterious time is most welcome. I am obsessed with flowers though and so spring time comes in so very, very close; it is hard to choose!

MS: How was Pantheacon this year? What did you enjoy most about it?

AA: Pantheacon this year was great! I love this event and look forward to it each year. I think my favourite part was reading in the Weiser Suite. It was a bit surreal to be there next to people whose work I have admired for such a long time. I was also blessed to have presented several times this year and was able to share information I am very passionate about as well as promote the call to action to pay attention and to sacredly attend our waters. I am looking forward to next year!

MS: And finally, what are you looking forward to most in 2019?

AA: There are several things I am looking forward to in 2019. I will be lecturing at Mystic South followed by a trip back to North Carolina to dance, teach and make magic! I am also working on a few secret watery projects that I am really looking forward to spending in creation mode getting them ready for release. I also find myself in a place of having more time on my hands and so I am looking forward to having time to spend painting and playing in my garden.

You can find out more about Annwyn and her work on her YouTube channel, her website, and via FaceBook. Her book, Water Witchcraft, is available now.

Water Witchcraft: Magic and Lore from the Celtic Tradition on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors & Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

GoodGod!

May, 2019

Meet the Gods: Neptune

Merry meet.

Neptune, the god of the sea and earthquakes, was one of the 12 major deities of the Roman pantheon. Poseidon was his Greek counterpart. Neptune was the son of Saturn. When Saturn was defeated, the world was divided among Neptune and his two brothers, Jupiter (Zeus) and Pluto (Hades). Jupiter got the sky, Pluto took the underworld and Neptune was given the sea.

Neptune is known for his violent nature and volatile temperament. There are many stories portraying him as unpredictable and somewhat vindictive – and this is associated with the nature of the sea. Those characteristics also associated him with earthquakes, because the ancient Romans believed earthquakes came from the sea, occurring when Neptune was angry.

He is described as lustful, enjoying sexual relationships with sea nymphs, goddesses and mortal women. When he wanted his sister, Ceres, she fled, turning herself into a mare and hiding among a pack of horses. Not to be denied, Neptune transformed himself into a stallion and eventually mounted her. She gave birth to their child, a black mare.

He was also persistent when pursuing Salacia to be his wife. According to an article on mythology.net by Prof. Geller, their three children are “Benthesicyme, the nymph of the waves; Rhodes, the namesake of the island; and Triton, the infamous merman and fabled father and leader of 3000 mermaids, and 3000 triton (merman).”

Neptune is often depicted as an older man with a long beard, holding a trident, a long three-pronged spear used by fishermen. The dolphin is closely related to Neptune and he is often shown surrounded by dolphin, fish, whales and other sea creatures – sometimes riding a seashell chariot drawn by seahorses.

Neptunalia was a festival to honor Neptune; it was held July 23, during the hot, dry season when water was scarce.

When you want to call Neptune into your life, you might make an altar with a picture of him or the ocean, shells, pictures of mermaids and a jar of seawater – perhaps on an altar cloth the colors of the sea. Neptune can help you open your heart and get in touch with your emotions. In astrology, he rules Pisces, making it all about imagination, ideals, inspiration and compassion. He can dissolve boundaries and barriers, enabling us to connect with the universe.

Try listening to a recording of the ocean and anointing yourself with saltwater as part of your ritual. Ceremonial baths and vision quests would be fitting, as would dreamwork.

A vintage piece of needlework I found decades ago reminds me often to turn to Neptune with the words: May your heart be like the sea – ever open, brave and free.

Another thing that comes to mind about this god of the sea is the naval line-crossing ceremony known as the Order of Neptune. The seafaring tradition is an observance of a mariner’s first crossing of the equator; the often elaborate rituals vary by country and ship. Paying homage to King Neptune, initiates would become a son or daughter of Neptune.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

November, 2018

SEDNA

(Image Credit: yousense.info)

The story of Sedna, the Mother and Mistress of the Sea, the Goddess of marine mammals, is, to me, one of sadness and betrayal.

In the Arctic Ocean of the Inuits, Sedna lived with her family. She was very beautiful and was wooed by many in Her community. She refused them, one and all. Her father, taking matters into his own hands, gave Her to an unknown hunter, in return for fish to keep the rest of his family fed. This unknown hunter was, in reality, a bird-spirit, and whisked Sedna away while She was asleep.

Another version states that Sedna went with the unknown hunter of Her own free will, as he promised Her a life filled with everything She could dream of – warmth, and food.

Either way, to Her dismay, Her new home was not as promised, as She found herself awakening on a high cliff, in a nest, surrounded by birds.

She got a message to Her father of Her plight. Her father, Anguta, attempted to help Her by putting Her into his kayak to return Her to their home. The birds, seeing this, flew after them, surrounded the kayak, seeking vengeance for the removal of Sedna from the nest.

To save himself, Anguta, threw his daughter overboard. She reached for the side of the kayak to save Herself and Her father cut off her fingers. As She brought her arms up to reach into the kayak, he then cut off Her arms. Sedna sank to the bottom of the sea.

(Image Credit: Hanie Mold/Pernastudios – Deviant.com)

She became the Queen and the Goddess of the Deep, Her fingers and arms becoming the seals, walruses, whales, those ocean mammals most hunted by the Intuit.

Sedna lived, then, beneath the waves, in the Kingdom of Adlivan, the Intuit Land of the Dead, in a home-made of stone and the ribs of whales. She was responsible for sending the sea creatures to the human hunters to feed their families. She took Her responsibility seriously, but She had a provision that when one of them died, their souls would stay with their bodies for three days, whereupon they would bring news to Sedna of how the people behaved. If any of Her laws were broken, She would not send the food to the hunters. This brought Her pain.

When this happened, a Shaman had to visit Her, by passing through terrifying lands and tests, to heal and soothe Her, until Her pain had passed and things were put right once more.

Sculpture of Sedna in Nuuk, Greenland

(Image Credit: alamy.com)

**My fingers were cut off then

I was kicked

I was hurt

I was wounded

I was lied to

I was betrayed

I was abandoned

My suffering was great

but down below in the deeps

in the heart of the ocean

where I was left to lie

I realized my powerlessness

the way my life was lived

helpless and afraid

always being done to

instead of doing

and saw what I did

As realization expanded my

consciousness

fish and sea mammals

grew out of my cut fingers

I became “old food dish”

She who provided for her people

Victim no more**

**From “The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky. Image credit also goes to “The Goddess Oracle”.

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

My Name is Isis (Volume 4) on Amazon

Witchcrafting: Crafts for witches

July, 2015

Sea shell for Sea Salt

Merry Meet.

July brings beach weather just about everywhere in the Northern hemisphere. Among the objects I associate with the beach is shells. Chances are you’ve collected some over the years that have been relegated to a drawer or a box. This craft is meant to inspire you to make your a salt dish or an offering bowl.

sea

Select an open shell and others with which to decorate it. Use two-part epoxy, hot glue or other craft adhesive to attach smaller shells, bits of sea glass, charms and pieces of jewelry as desired. Small shells, beads or pearls can be used as legs to keep the shell from tilting.

If you have an abundance of shells, you might also consider:

forming them into a wreath.

gluing them around a bowl, vase, frame, mirror or planter.

dangling them to form a wind chime.

filling a shadowbox or a lamp base with them.

… wrapping fabric around a metal tiara and adorning with shells.

melting a tea light, pouring the wax into the shell, and inserting the wick and its holder.

sea1

I hope you’ll share your shell stories.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

Musings of a Hereditary Witch

June, 2015

The Sea Witch

When I think of the Sea Witch, I see her standing upon high cliffs, arms upraised as she harnesses the power from the waves crashing against the rocks below. Sometimes I see her walking barefoot along the beach whispering words of magic while the light of a full moon casts a soft glow around her.

She makes use of the things cast up by the sea; shells, hag stones, glass fishing floats, hooks, rope, sea glass, fishing net, driftwood, sea weed, bird feathers, as well as using sand and sea. Her magic is tied to the tides, the moon, fog, storms and the bright sun. She controls the winds.

There are two high tides and two low tides a month. Her most powerful spells would be performed during the high tides, while banishing spells would be worked when the tide was ebbing or low.

Weather magic is the domain of the Sea Witch. She could tie up the wind in a rope or a handkerchief. Sometimes she would give or sell these to sailors. Sometimes, sailors would bring a length of rope to her and ask for favorable winds and a safe journey. She would take the rope and depending on the ships destination, would tie 3 knots into the rope, harnessing the appropriate winds for the journey. When the sea was calm and no wind furled the ship’s sails, the sailor could untie one of the knots to release the wind the Sea Witch had captured there.

Never anger a Sea Witch for she could raise the fog for concealment or a tempest causing ships to wreck on the jagged rocks. The power of a storm could be channeled into a glass fishing float and later smashed to release the power and aid her in her magic.

If you were to visit her home, you might find wind chimes made from bird bones and seashells, or shells stung to make curtains. Shells are protective as they once protected the creatures that lived in them. A hag stone (a stone with a natural hole) may hang from the rafters or from around her neck; another protective amulet.
On her altar might be a starfish or sand dollar (pentacle), a piece of driftwood for a wand, shells to hold sand, salt and water. She may have a glass fishing float to use for scrying and another hag stone for seeing spirits. She might have a bowl filled with odd objects like sea glass, bones, shells and other bobbles for use in divination.

Fishing net may be draped over the back of the door for protection or she may wear a shawl in a fishnet pattern for the same purpose. Fishing nets are used to ‘tangle’ up the energy of another or used to ‘capture’ a goal.

The Sea Witch works with the chaotic forces of nature, her emotions tied to the sea. She walks the path alone, taking a lover when she feels the need, but the sea will always have her heart. Not many choose the path of the Sea Witch today.
Wishing you calm seas

Mystical Sea

August, 2010

Spiral down
Dive down
Womb of the Mother
kiss from a stranger

And it’s gone

Cradle me
Drown me
Lift me up
Higher and higher

To the shore

Like your voice
Soft and sweet
Beauty that decieves
Mystical Sea

A sea secret

Chills in the waves
Turning black
Hardening in the foam
No going back

What we took as our own

Four billion sirens
Screaming unseen
No stone unturned
Till Death has dreamed

Still the sea secret

Journeys on and on

No one can stop it
The damage is done
What have we lost
Only the Sea knows

And she’s not speaking anymore