Back during the early days, I would often mention, though not in any deep way, my affiliation with the nymph, Daphne. And although Daphne, in my understanding and doxa, was a hamadryad, it should be remembered that originally, and before her transformation, she was a naiad, a nymph of fresh Water.
So, as a tree, Water remained an important element in Daphne’s well-being, probably as much as the Earth she was rooted to. I imagine that being grounded in the way that she was, receiving her nourishment from the Earth below, was not exactly the same type of grounding that we understand today in our modern spiritual practices. I also imagine that when the sky opened up to shower her and the other trees with rain, from which moisture was needed, that it helped to wash away her troubled emotions, cleansing her and freeing her of much of the hurt and trauma she was subjected to during the pursuit from Apollon, which itself was the traumatic result of the vengeful Eros’ ire toward the God.
Water is often lauded as a carrier of emotion, and I have found this to be true in my own doxa and experience. Returning for a moment to the lore of Daphne, it is not surprising for me to realize that the pain and fear she experienced during her trial had to somehow be removed if she were ever to truly succumb to Apollon’s will. This necessarily happened after her transformation, because the perspective of a rooted tree, or hamadryad, rather than that of a free-roaming nymph allowed her to finally be embraced by Apollon’s fierce love.
Daphne must have underwent a series of dramatic purifications before she was able to accept Apollon’s love, and thus accept her fate as the vehicle of purification, through Him. In her final state, we see her in a sort of elemental convergence, where Water joins with Earth, and in turn joins with Fire as her leaves are burned to release the virginal essence still residing within her. This essence is then carried up to the realms of the Divine by Air, in the form of smoke lifting away impurities.
This, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of purification, for it is the convergence of all these elements together which fully expresses Daphne’s innate purity, which is then shared with us through the process of simply burning the bay leaves, or in another way by the preparation of khernips, which itself requires Water, sometimes salt, and usually burning herbs or bay leaves, which results in a small amount of smoke before being plunged into the Water, thus joining all of the elements.
So, in these examples, we see the importance of Water as the carrier of the pure essence of Daphne, and the vehicle through which impurities, both physical and emotional, are washed away.
For myself, as one who identifies in many important ways with Daphne, it is little wonder that Water should be so necessary in my own grounding efforts, for it is not only about the cleansing of impurities, but also the release of stagnant emotion, which through Earthen grounding alone I am unable to dispel. Thankfully, however, I was able to figure this out through meditation, trial and error, and some conversations with Apollon in which He all but hammered it into me that I am not, in fact, attuned to the Earth element in any significant way. This is made more evident in the make-up of my astrological chart, which sadly, contains zero Earth.
I’ve known this for a long time, but only recently have I put two and two together. I believe it is important for us as practitioners to be aware of the nuances of our elemental natures, and to take these nuances into account when attempting even the most basic of spiritual activities, such as grounding and centering. If we try to adhere to forms which are less compatible with our natures, we may likely find our efforts wasted, leading to more feelings of inadequacy and other negative emotions. It becomes a cycle of self-deprecation that can never help to improve our capabilities in the areas we wish to improve upon.
So, what does grounding through Water (for lack of an appropriate Water-based term) look like? For me, it may begin with visualization, as do many Earthen grounding techniques, but instead of visualizing a connection to the Earth itself, I see a pool of ground Water seeping up to cover my feet, or my entire body if I’m feeling particularly needy. I then try to synchronize the movement and flow of this visualized Water with that of my blood. Through concentration, the Water which comprises so much of my physical form then becomes inseparable from the visualized Water. It is at this point where I am able to release the pent up emotion, which is washed swiftly away, soaking deep into the Earth, along with the visualization.
There are other, more immediately physical ways to engage with Water in this way, such as running cool tap Water over one’s hands, then releasing the unwanted energy; or swimming, particularly in the ocean and other natural bodies of Water; and even standing outside during a heavy rainstorm. All of these I’ve found to be effective, and I will continue to experiment with other techniques as they present themselves, and as the need arises.