I never used to be able to understand how people could live land-locked. I couldn’t comprehend how people could live in a town or city that was surrounded by itself, or by nothing at all.
And then I moved to Sydney and couldn’t justify the rent to live by the water! Boy, did my opinions soon change!
I couldn’t leave my holidays without seeing the ocean, without standing in it’s beauty, without feeling the waves crash against my legs. Just once. Trips to the ocean are becoming fewer and far between, and each trip I find myself more and more disconnected. It scares me.
But with each trip I find myself more and more connected to land.
Before I find myself more and more disconnected, I thought I’d start the new year off with a bit of “OceanCraft 101”.
NB: Reading through this post it feels like standard basics that we should all follow when working out doors in nature.
Ground and centre.
As children I remember my brother and I would dump our things on the sand as soon as a spot was chosen, and then raced straight into the water with our boogie boards at the ready.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the first time you’ve visited a particular beach, or if you’re a local, it’s always good to ground and centre. Beaches carry a lot of scattered energy, particularly during the summer with the crowds all lending theirs (which is why you’ll never find me at Bondi), so it’s good to ensure that you’re connected to the beach, not to Joe Blow three towels over.
Acknowledge the spirits of place and introduce yourself.
Before you do any form of magick – before you cast a circle, before you call the quarters or call for peace – acknowledge the spirits of place. This generally comes when I ground and centre, but I wanted to draw particular attention to it.
Why? Because it’s good manners.
Spirits of Place are ancient. They are older than the trees and the grass on the hills. Sometimes they take the form of a First Nations identity, sometimes as the crash of the waves, sometimes a voice on the wind. It all depends on you, and how you communicate with Spirit. They communicate in all forms and none. They are – they are the sand between your toes, the rush of the waves, the salty sea air.
If you know of the land that you stand on, acknowledge it. If not, a simple “Hello” will suffice.
“Hello, my name is…”
Be prepared to alter your plans.
Depending on the energy of the land, the spirits of place may be kind or forbidding. You may feel welcomed with open arms, or warned to come back another time (as I was today).
If what you had in mind was dependent on being in the ocean, be prepared with Plan B. If it rains unexpectedly, try to work it into your rite if you’re able (or run for cover if you don’t want to get sick).
Today I failed my own advice and did not have a Plan B in mind, as I wasn’t expecting to see jellyfish patrolling the waters edge. I’m not 100% on whether these are kind or nasty jellies, as people were still swimming and surfing, but the Spirits of Place told me to be careful.
Stay out of the water, stay on the shore.
You don’t need tools.
In Australia, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon. It is illegal to carry a knife. Technically, it’s illegal to carry an athame, especially if it’s sharp.
The beauty of OceanCraft, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, is that you don’t really need tools of any kind as the elements are all around you.
Water – Ocean.
Earth – Sand.
Air – Wind.
Fire – Sun/Stars.
A friend once tried to set up an altar (complete with candles) and it wasn’t necessary. For us that night the wind picked up, made it impossible to set up, and later stole our athames (it was late on a deserted beach – we risked it!). If you DO feel the need, bring a wand. That would come in handy for any spells you may want to write in the sand (especially if you have trouble kneeling/bending) but a stick found in the area works just as well. As do thongs/flip flops if you’re really desperate!
Bits and pieces.
Make sure there’s a towel in the car to dry your feet off, and have plenty of water on you. If you don’t want to take all of your belongings, hide your handbag in the car and just take your keys and mobile phone (for emergencies). I tend to tuck these into my bra as I don’t generally have pockets when I visit the beach.
Always take your rubbish home with you, and have a spare bag in the car (or with your things) to carry anything the beach gifts you. I’ve found feathers, special shells, old crab shells, hag stones etc and a bag for them comes in handy.
If you’ve come a long way for the beach and the weather looks like it’s going to turn for the worse, don’t be scared to ask the Gods while you’re travelling to allow your moment there to be clear. Years ago I had travelled over 100km to go to “my beach” for an August Full Moon (yes, it was cold!). It looked like it was going to rain, so 20km out I asked the Gods if the rain could hold off as I had come a long way.
The rain stopped once I parked my car, and began once I got back to it.
And always say “Thank-you” when you finish.
Respect the place, respect the spirits, and always say, ‘Farewell and good-bye’ when you’re leaving and heading back to your mode of transport.
It’s good manners.
Don’t ever forget.
No two beaches are the same. No two beaches will ever have the same energy, have the same personality, and your experience will always differ. Just as we know that just because two Deities represent the same thing (eg. Athena and Diana) it doesn’t mean they are the same.
When you work with the Ocean, you are not in control. The Ocean works with it’s own set of rules, it’s own agenda, and we are there as visitors. Unlike the altar in your room or the space in the back yard, the Ocean can be an amazing, forceful and destructive element of nature that needs to be respected.
Know the water – keep clear of rip tides, wear sunscreen, and if you’re being told by the Spirits of Place or your own intuition to get out, then you get out. If you don’t feel comfortable there for whatever reason, go.
There have been many occasions were I have visited the beach and I turn and go after a minute or two. I’ve been told politely and not so politely to run. I’ve been told that if I stay I will die. I’ve also completely ignored intuition and almost drowned after I heard the Sirens, walked into the water and had *something* slap me to wake me out of the void.
That said, they are but 10 instances out of hundreds. If you respect the Ocean as a living entity with it’s own personality, then it will respect you.
Most importantly – enjoy the day!
Don’t be in a rush to get there, do your thing, then leave – unless that’s what you absolutely need to do. If it’s a nice enough day, enjoy it. Make a picnic lunch before hand, take a walk up and down the beach.
And don’t forget a selfie!