Working with Sea Spirits

 

After moving to Cornwall and living near the sea, I discovered the ocean played an important role in the reason I came here and working with sea energies has produced remarkable results in my work. I have researched the connections between the moon, the tides, the shore life, the plants and most importantly the history of ancestral wise women working in unison with sea spirits. I am also intrigued by the myths and legends of the local merfolk and sea monsters.

Image – Gweniver Exton

The history of Sea Witchery is intriguing and I discovered the following article from “In The Chime Hours”:

It has been told by word of mouth that if a person was suffering from dark energies or illnesses and they wished to be free of this there was no better solution than to immerse themselves beneath the waves of the sea. The best time for this was at sunrise, just as the sun began to appear on the horizon and then to stay immersed in the waters until nine waves had passed over them.
This also applied to other waters, whether it be from a holy well, a spring or a stream with nine being a significant number. Many have gathered together at certain times and dates to draw upon the healing powers of the landscape according to ancient folklore of Britain.
The Sea Witches of Cornwall, Scotland and Sussex would present the superstitious sailors with a triune knotted rope “selling them the wind” the untying of the first knot would release a good breeze, the untying of the second would release a wind that was high and a fierce gale would be released by the untying of the third knot. Ancient Mariners had learnt this ability from sea witches to “whistle for the wind”. This would rely on direct action of the seafarers to do a strong invocation to the “Prince of the Powers of Air” to work on their behalf.
Spiritual invocation with the sea was considered by sailors as highly treacherous and was used as a last resort at a time when there was no wind to fill their sails. It was believed that any seafarers who whistled for the wind without good reason would invoke “ill winds” causing terrible storms that would damage or even destroy their vessels.
One of the sailor’s most treasured possessions would be a triangular fish bone in the shape of “Thor’s Hammer”, considered a charm for safe journeys and protecting against storms etc. so that he would never be in a position where he needed to “whistle the wind”. Another was the “caul” the piece of membrane covering the face of a newborn which was sold to seafarers to prevent death by drowning.
Sea Witches and sailors would invoke the wind and sea spirits, Saints and even the Devil. It was said that a Sea Witch Trotternish invoked such a fierce gale she drowned her victim by capsizing his boat.
Fishermen bring new nets, or repair their old ones on the shore at the time of the rising tides; they would drink whisky as a libation to ensure good luck on their excursions.
A form of divination that can be used is to place a bowl of sea water in the sand. If the reflection of the rising sun is glistening and rippling in the water, then the magical work is still in process of completion. If the reflection is steady, then the work has been completed.
Using water for scrying has developed with Magicians and Witches through the centuries. This can be done with a receptacle filled with water which can be used anywhere, or sitting by a lake or by a rock pool on the beach. Being out amongst the elements will add more energy to your work as well as being in such a wonderful place.”

Here is a powerful poem by Katherine MacLintok:

I Remember Her So Well:
Waves, Her raging stallions
Rising, crashing, on our shore;
Out there squalling, dancing;
The Sea Witch at our door
Her eye is fixed,
Her path is steady,
And her hand will not be stayed:
The wind, it is her gauntlet
Her standard, “Heaven’s Maid”
While mighty men, now fodder,
Scramble from her path
The Sea Witch, she comes calling,
She bears Poseidon’s wrath
Far off watchers bow their heads,
To whisper silent prayers of thanks
That they dwell far and distant,
From the landing of her ranks
The dolphin, they have scrambled,
Abandoning their play
For every creature flees,
The Sea Witch on Her way
Wrapped in Fury, cloaked in Wind;
Mocking man with all his error,
The Sea Witch marches onward,
Commanding hosts of squalling terror
No army can bar her passing
No ship withstand her might,
The Sea Witch, she comes howling,
As surely as the night!
Lift thine eyes to heaven;
Pray for them she’ll scatter!
For where they dwelt in safety,
Shall now be naught but tatters
And fools will find no mercy
Who dare to face Her wrath,
They’ll die like sheep at slaughter,
Those who mock Her furied path
Waves, Her raging stallions
Rising, crashing, on our shore;
Out there squalling, dancing;
The Sea Witch at our door
Her eye is fixed,
Her path is steady,
And Her hand will not be stayed:
The wind it is Her gauntlet,
Her standard:
“Heaven’s Maid”!

Nothing compares to the wonderful taste of sea salt on your lips, the feel of sea water on your feet and the cool sea breeze blowing through your hair. Listening to the voices of the sea as the waves crash against the rocks accompanied by the haunting cry of seagulls is nourishment for the body, mind, soul and activates deep healing.

Image- John Isaac

Lamorna, Sennen and Penberth Coves in West Penwith are sublime. Fowey, Mevagissey and Polperro hold special childhood memories. Tintagel, St Nectan’s Glen and Boscastle are steeped in ancient history that compels me to visit frequently. The spectacular views from the cliffs of Tintagel and Boscastle are stunning.

Here are images of the Sea Witchery display in the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Boscastle.

I recommend visiting the Museum there is an abundance of artefacts associated with all aspects of the Craft and in such an enchanting location. Not to be missed!

 

Image – Stuart Wood

Read more about the history of Sea Witches

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