Around the Cauldron · Pagan Blog Project 2014

Sea Witchery & Sirens

Sea Witchcraft, Ocean Witchcraft and Beach Magick is the most beautiful, at times simplistic, but ultimately the most powerful magick and ritual I have ever practiced. And I miss it!

Let me get this out of the way: if you are lucky enough to live by the sea/ocean/beach, I envy you. I miss it. It’s too expensive to live near water in Sydney (but this is where my work is so here I stay). I don’t like the beaches around here because there’s too too too many people, too much energy flying about, and it’s harder to feel the energy of the land.

Without trying to insult people, sea witchcraft is not for the feint hearted, or for the fluffy. It is a completely different experience to stand at the water’s edge, or knee-deep (or further if you wish) than standing or sitting behind an altar in your room or backyard. I say “or the fluffy” because there is no “love and light” at the water’s edge. Water is nourishing and tied to our emotions, yes, but it is powerful and destructive and when it is not contained in a bowl or glass on your altar, you can be taken back if you are not properly prepared. If you are not prepared, or if your mental state is walking a thin line between happy and sad, and depending on the energy of the land…Sirens. That’s all I’m going to say.

And it steals things, like torches and athames, but that’s an entirely different story.

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Can you sense anything here?

Sea Witchcraft is centred around the moon and tides. Different phases of the moon effects the waves, the tide times, the motion and the essence of the land, just as the moon affects us. As we are primarily water, we share this connection with the ocean. Just as choosing to perform at the beach during the day is entirely different to at night, there’s very VERY big differences with the phases of the moon. New moon (or dark of the moon) is like rebirth – the sky is dark, you can’t see where you’re going, and you need to know the area very well to ensure your safety (if you’re alone, which many of us usually are). The full moon, on the other hand, is like dancing under your own street light!

There are books on sea witchcraft and sea spells, and the majority of the ones that I have read are based on the use of shells. If there are shells to use at your local beach, that is wonderful! Use them! I know of one shelly beach near me in Sydney (but it’s all broken shells) and there’s one fabulous beach that I know of near where I grew up for shell collecting. But if you can’t find shells? Have no fear!

Sometimes the most powerful spell in sea witchcraft is the simplest. Draw a rune, or a sigil, or a word in the wet sand and ask for the waves to chase the shore. Once it’s gone over your writing, the spell has been cast.

The beauty of sea magick is that you don’t necessarily need tools. It’s awkward to use an athame because people are scared of anyone wielding “a knife” in public, especially during the day. You don’t need candles, or incense, or bells, or anything other than yourself, comfortable clothes, and maybe a towel back at the car. People may not agree with me on this, and having a quick google search I’ve noticed people do say you need specific things…but I never found the need for them.

There’s no use for candles because during the day, the fire is the sun; at night, the fire is the stars. There’s no use for incense because the air is the wind, and the smell of the sand and the waves, and the seaweed. Carry a crystal if you feel the need, but the earth is there beneath your feet, and the waves are crashing in.

After a while it feels like your pulse and the waves are in tune with one another. You become one essence, an extension of each other. You begin to feel the pulse of the land beneath your feet as they sink into the sand, the water greets you as it laps at your feet, your ankles, your knees before occasionally being very cheeky and splashing your bum. You giggle, raise your arms and greet the spirits of the land, of the water, of the place.

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In my time practicing Sea Witchcraft I never called upon Gods and/or Goddesses of the sea. I don’t know why, it just never felt right to. I would talk to Herne, which I guess is odd as he’s more land-based but he’s always been the one I connected with. Rather than the Gods I would always talk to the spirits of the land, and to those of the water, but never Deities. I tried to call upon Poseidon once. I don’t think I did it right…the energy became wrong and I didn’t stay.

Those pesky Sirens…

So! When the Muggle and I were on our “we can’t afford a honeymoon” honeymoon near Taree on the New South Wales Mid-North Coast, it was a full moon. The timeshare we were staying at backed right onto the beach, so I decided to go down to the beach, introduce myself, and honour the moon.

The energy was wrong: it felt menacing. But I persisted and went on with my rite…and I heard the Sirens call. It was beautiful, and dark, and melodic, and enveloping, and strong – so strong. They were beckoning me to come into the water, to join them, to play with them, to dance on the waves with them. I wanted to! I The urge was so overpowering that I found myself walking further and further into the waves.

I don’t know what made me come to. I don’t remember if there was a sound, or a feeling, but I realised what was happening. If I could run on sand, I would’ve done that. I left the water, walked back up the beach, picked up my thongs (flip flops) and went back to the apartment. I didn’t go back to that beach after that.

Where I heard the Siren's Song.
Where I heard the Siren’s Song.

Related: Beach Magick and Spellcraft.

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13 thoughts on “Sea Witchery & Sirens

  1. I was born on an island. My grandfather family came from yet another island 1/2 world away, his father born in the family cave there. It calls to me too. I feel the power and have never fathomed to call upon it. I would be but the small gaggle of frothy foam floating on its enormous body. Thank you for writing this post. It is filled with its salted kisses and expansive horizon and magick of its thick aboding air.

  2. Awesome post just found you via Love by the Moon, the Ocean is certainly beyond enchanting. I can almost feel the energy of the sirens coming off the picture you posted. I do think there is a danger in referring to people that worship at home as fluffy because it kind of plays on the ‘fluffy bunny’ stereotype, and stereotypes are never very reliable. Just some thoughts.

    1. Thanks! I honour at home these days sitting behind my altar as I work 11 hour days and study part time. Fluff was a separate thing, a warning for those who think all Magick and witchcraft is light and airy. The energy is entirely different at the water, and if you’ve only practiced in an environment that you have some control over, be prepared! That’s what I was trying to get at. I love practicing inside these days. Sydney public space energy is awful and crowded!

  3. A beautiful piece, and yes one does not really need tools as in nature and yr body are all the energies tools just make manifest anyway. I feel in nature it is not good to work with iron like athames and only use them indoors. Out in nature if doing a formal ritual i use wood, water, incense of fresh herbs and crystals. I live in mountains of the northern Appalachians in the US so i am fairly far from the ocean and have not been able to go there for years. But i have a stream behind the house and work withe Nagas and Naginis (Hindu / Buddhist / native SE Asian shamanic version of mermaids and sirens) and i can hear their beckoning voices in the bubbling waterfalls. Somehow i stumbled upon this blog in my Reader and will now follow it as i love following MM at Love by the Moon. And i am reblogging this post so TY. Blessings. Lee / Shawnus

  4. Reblogged this on Blau Stern Schwarz Schlonge and commented:
    A beautiful piece, and yes one does not really need tools as in nature and yr body are all the energies tools just make manifest anyway. I feel in nature it is not good to work with iron like athames and only use them indoors. Out in nature if doing a formal ritual i use wood, water, incense of fresh herbs and crystals. I live in mountains of the northern Appalachians in the US so i am fairly far from the ocean and have not been able to go there for years. But i have a stream behind the house and work withe Nagas and Naginis (Hindu / Buddhist / native SE Asian shamanic version of mermaids and sirens) and i can hear their beckoning voices in the bubbling waterfalls. Somehow i stumbled upon this blog in my Reader and will now follow it as i love following MM at Love by the Moon. And i am reblogging this post so TY. Blessings. Lee / Shawnus

  5. I had an experience like that once when I was younger. I was staring out into the horizon and didn’t realize I was already knee-deep in until I heard my mother shout for me. It was the scariest experience I had with the ocean and it definitely made me more cautious when dealing with open water, but I still go to the seaside when I can. I just make sure to give back if ever I get something 🙂
    – Jill @ kyaruandbunnies.wordpress.com

  6. Reblogged this on The Twisted Tree Shoppe Blog and commented:
    I have been lucky enough to live near the ocean for the last almost 12 years– as long as I have been practicing as a pagan and a witch– but I have only practiced Sea Witchcraft actively for perhaps the last 4 years about I think. I love living near the sea, I cannot imagine living much farther from it which has made things quite difficult since we’re trying to find land and move from this place.
    I definitely agree that ultimately, though tools and herbs and candles are lovely– and useful!– you should be able to practice magic with nothing but your Will and your Breath, and the things you find around you. (Of course it is definitely polite to give offerings when you’re working out in nature!) I love writing runes or spells in the sand, or whispering things into shells and sending them on their way with the waves. This is something I have actually got my toddling son to do– whisper into shells and send our wishes to the mermaids. He doesn’t really say anything into the shells (he pretends to whisper) but he loves the idea of the whole thing.
    And she’s right: the Ocean Mother and the spirits there and at the shore and in the storm off the sea– they are Primal (read: really f*cking old) and made of darker things than most of us have (or care to) encounter. I don’t always, but often when I go to the shore I call on Yemaya. We have had a working relationship that sways like the tides over the last few years. And most associate her as a very ‘light’ and loving diety. Which She is. But she is also destruction and her act of protection can come on violent and primal like Kali. Hell, one of her Aspects is Pirate Queen ruler of the predators of the sea.
    And I too have heard the Siren’s call…
    I work sometimes in the realms of the Sea Folk, I feel very strongly even that one of their lines is in my blood– and one Full Moon night I was down on the shore, walking along and singing. And then the air shifted, and I could hear another song, singing out from in my bones rather than audible on the air. And my eyes drooped and I felt the tug. I felt the incredible melancholic longing, the dire urge to step into the waves– and keep going. I have never been one to swim in the ocean at night. I know we have sharks in the breakers in the day time, so I *know* they are there at night. But I felt this wrenching in my heart, this pull at my ankles, to just keep walking and put my head under the surface and swim and never return. I fought the pull, and kept to the shallows, and forced myself to walk parallel to the beach instead of out into the water. But it was the most intense draw I have ever had– and I have had instances before where I had this melancholic yearning to join the sea, like it was where I belonged. But unfortunately, this selkie lady has not a seal skin to take her past the breakers and into ocean depths unfathomable.

  7. Unfortunate enough not to live near the ocean anymore, but I do live near Lake Michigan in the Midwestern United States. I consider myself a sea witch, though perhaps it would be more accurate to call myself a lake witch. Interesting piece. I have definitely felt the call you spoke of, swimming out much farther than I thought I had.
    And yes. Sea magic is rather solidly in the gray and definitely calls for an extra helping of caution.

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