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Monday, October 11, 2010

Symbolism: Water


This week the symbol I will be dissecting is: WATER.


Some Burlesque Routines with Water:
Dita Von Teese does Perrier Ad
Also a Cointreau Performance in Tokyo (skip to 2.00 to see the performance)
Lovely Male Burlesque Cirque Aerial and Bath Act
1953 Bettie Page having a Bubble Bath

Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.
  • Bruce Lee as quoted in Bruce Lee : A Warrior's Journey (2000)

Classical Element
 As a classical Greek symbol, Water was said by Aristotle to be both Cold and Wet, placing it between Air and Earth. In Ancient Greek medicine, each element was also ascribed a humour, Water was ascribed to 'Phlegm', symbolising feminine attributes, the Brain, Winter Cold and the Alchemical element of Mercury.

The Enuma Elis, a textbook written in the 16th or 18th Centuries BC, ascribes the element of water as the Sea.

'Ap' is the Vedic Sanskrit word for Water. In the Rigveda, several Hymns are dedicated to water.
1. MAY we obtain this day from you, O Waters, that wave of pure refreshment, which the pious
Made erst the special beverage of Indra, bright, stainless, rich in sweets and dropping fatness.
2 May the Floods' Offspring, he whose course is rapid, protect that wave most rich in sweets, O Waters,
That shall make Indra and the Vasus joyful. This may we gain from you to-day, we pious.
3 All-purifying, joying in their nature, to paths of Gods the Goddesses move onward.
They never violate the laws of Indra. Present the oil-rich offering to the Rivers.
4 Whom Sūrya with his bright beams hath attracted, and Indra dug the path for them to travel,
May these Streams give us ample room and freedom. Preserve us evermore, ye Gods, with blessings.

In Hindu philosophy, the term refers to water as an element, one of the Panchamahabhuta, or "five great elements". In Hinduism, it is also the name of the deva, a personification of water, (one of the Vasus in most later Puranic lists). The element Water is also associated with Chandra or the Moon, and Shukra or Venus, who represent feelings, intuition and imagination. Water is also linked to the north east direction.

Those born under the Signs of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are said to have Dominant Water Personalities. People with Water personalities are extremely sensitive souls and natural healers. They have strong intuition, compassion and feel emotional energy in all forms.


Water signs always bring their water and their emotions into their surroundings, and into others. Unless there is a fine balance - they either are known for exposing their sensitivity, or burying what they feel. Water rules sensitivity and emotions, and its elements find it necessary to "touch" or "feel" what is going on around them. This can be both physical or emotional. Too much fluid or feelings can make some water signs appear to be moody, needy, or controlling. Water is naturally a deep and cool element, and it is also tasty, moist, soothing, intriguing and beautiful. Too much water or emotions can be forceful, stormy, tormented, overwhelming, and dangerous. But on a balanced energy - their intention is always good and meaningful, as they are care-givers.

Trying to control a Water God or Water Goddess - can be like trying to control the forceful ocean while sitting in a rowboat. Water is strong and focused on what others do and how it makes them feel.
Calming those tidal waves and raw emotions does not happen instantly or easily. It takes alot of time until Water is able to control their own fury. Like the sea, the they are serene and gentle... but under pressure, they represent the Perfect Storm, consuming and destructive. Should you hurt them or their feelings, they will become revengeful, vowing to wipe out anyone or anything that stands in their path. Like the captain of his ship, the captain doesn't try to test or challenge the strength of the waters, but accept that it is easier to go down with the ship - rather than to fight. He understands and appreciates the overwhelming depth and it's dangerous force. Water is to be enjoyed - but also respected. Water God and Water Goddess need love, and you need to really communicate and express that if you REALLY want to know them. Like the seas, they are deep, mysterious, and always pressured by some sort of outside influence. They are constantly changing their unsteady moods, and their rough seas always seem to be brewing something deep inside of them... which eventually rises to the top. Changing WITH their bouncy emotions, will make the rough waters alittle easier to deal with until the storm ends. They offer unconditional love and understanding, but if you don't appreciate what they offer - their waters will dry up, as they turn off the their faucet.... to walk away and replenish what they feel you have taken advantage of them.

I am a Scorpio water personality, and this description fits me to a tee.

Water is one of the five elements that appear in most Wiccan and Pagan traditions. Common Wiccan attributions for water include:
  • Cardinal direction:West
  • Season: Winter
  • Time of Day: Dusk/Twilight
  • Time of Life: Adulthood
  • Elemental Being: Undine
  • Colors: Ocean Blue, Sea Green, Dusky Violet, and Grey
  • Magical Tools: cup
  • Tarot suit: Cups in the Minor Arcana
  • Energy, inspiration, passion
  • Altar Tool: Cup
  • Feminine energy
  • Other correspondences include emotions, love, compassion, healing, dreams, divination, intuition, psychic abilities

The manifestations of the element of water are rivers, oceans, lakes, wells, fog, all drinks, and the rain. Animals, especially the dolphin, seal, turtle, frog, and all types of fish, are also thought to personify the element of water. Other mythic and legendary creatures of water include the Mermaid, Oread, Naiad, Sea Serpent, and Dragon.
Water's place on the pentagram is the right hand point.

is the low point of matter, or the matter's dying or hiding stage. Water is the fifth one of Wu Xing. Water is the most yin in character of the Five elements, its energy is downward and inward and its motion is stillness and conserving. It is associated with the planet Mercury, the north, winter and cold, darkness, night and the colour black. It is also associated with the moon, which was believed to cause the dew to fall at night. It governs the Kidney and Urinary bladder and is associated with the ears and bones. The negative emotion associated with water is fear, while the positive emotion is calmness. Its Primal Spirit is represented by the Black Tortoise.

In Chinese Taoist thought, water is representative of intelligence and wisdom, flexibility, softness and pliancy; however, an over-abundance of the element is said to cause difficulty in choosing something and sticking to it. In the same way, Water can be fluid and weak, but can also wield great power when it floods and overwhelms the land. In the birth and nurturing cycle, Water spawns Wood, and is spawned by metal. In the conquest cycle, Water overcomes Fire, and in turn is overcome by Earth.
Water also plays an important role in Chinese Astrology. In Chinese astrology water is included in the 10 heavenly stems (the five elements in their yin and yang forms), which combine with the 12 earthly branches (or Chinese signs of the zodiac), to form the 60 year cycle. Yang water years end in 2 (eg 1992), while Yin years end in 3 (eg 1993). Water governs the Chinese zodiac signs Pig, Rat and Ox.
  • Translation: There is nothing softer and weaker than water,
    And yet there is nothing better for attacking hard and strong things.
    For this reason there is no substitute for it.
  • Laozi, Tao te Ching, Ch. 78.
Water usually represents wealth and money luck in Feng Shui, although it might differ in some subjective scenarios. Black, White, Grey and Blue colors represent Water.

Tangaroa,Tangaroa,Tangaroa, Siva in Cook Strait by Michael Tuffery

In Maori Mythos, Tangaroa (also called Takaroa) is the God of the Sea, Son of Ranganui, God of the Sky and Papatuanuku, the Earth Mother. He joined with his brothers in forcing his parents apart so the world could begin. There was tension between Tangaroa (the sea) and Tane (the forest). Before making sea expeditions the Maori would make offerings to Tangaroa to soothe any anger there might be against them, being Tane's people.

In Mangaia (Cook Islands), Tangaroa is a child of Vatea (daylight) and Papa (foundation) and the younger twin brother of Rongo. Rongo and Tangaroa share food and fish: Tangaroa's share is everything that is red (the red taro, red fish and so on). Tangaroa is said to have yellow hair and when Mangaians first saw Europeans they thought they must be Tangaroa's children.

Modern World
Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

 Common Round-About sign, same shape as Alchemical Water Symbol; also used as a Yield road sign.

TLC - Waterfalls
1994. Me and my sister used to dance and sing to this song over and over and over. Because we are cool like that.
"Peace" fingers making a downward V shape.
Modern Religious Education can ascribe many meanings to many symbols, and they all work, because that's how powerful Symbols are.

In Dan Brown's Book "The DaVince Code", the V, or 'Cup' also symbolised the Holy Grail.

The Water Cycle, as I was taught in school.

I want to finish this post by saying that Water, is one of the things we take for granted in the Modern World. We are so so lucky that we have a tap that will give us safe drinking water, that we don't have to sorry about parasites or human excrement in our water. So many people around the world do not have the Luxury of Clean Drinking Water. Be Grateful.

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