Offering good, clean water can be one of the best offerings you can give. It is clean, life-giving, purifying, and cleansing. It can clean you within and without. I give water as an offering on a regular, everyday or every other day basis to all of the Gods, Ancestors, and spirits who I worship and work with. I appreciate Water as a Being unto Itself, a holy Being that helps to give us life. Yet, even having this mindset I became complacent with Water’s place in my life because it is all around me. I live in water-rich Michigan. I am literally surrounded by water. There’s ice outside, rainfall is excellent here most years, and our family has a well. I’ve never hurt for water. Till the water pump completely died on us.
For a few days we were without running water. If we wanted water to flush the toilets snow was brought in and melted. If we wanted it to drink we needed to melt down snow or do with bottled water. Dad affectionately called the process of melting snow for water Snow Soup, since he had to use the largest pot we had to get enough snow to melt for our needs. Until the well pump was completely replaced, a costly thing to have happen just before Yule and Christmas we could not shower, drink, boil pasta, or do many of the normal, necessary things we were used to. Water keeps us moving, keeps our parts lubricated and in good working order. It keeps us in balance. Water purifies, it enlivens. To be without it is to die, and quicker in that regard than going without food.
What I went through was small, but it made me think on things in a sharp contrast. Where my family was just a repair away from our steady, clean water supply, water scarcity is increasingly becoming a problem the world over. The situation for potable water is even worse. Several places are just starting to understand what much of the world, parts of the world that aren’t part of the G8, G20, and so on, go through. Indeed, many Southern States here in the U.S. know water scarcity firsthand as their crops withered and died from lack of water. Michigan, along with a good chunk of the country, went through a drought (with some places still feeling the effects) a few years ago that significantly hampered the growth of crops, especially our yearly well-known foods like cherries and apples. Couple that with nasty frosts at the beginning of planting time, and it has been a hard couple of years. The local farms and orchards (as in, a 5 minute drive from us at most) had poor yields and the costs for all their produce doubled or tripled. Fishing has been hard hit because of lower lake levels and the various algae blooms, chemical and oil spills, overfishing and invasive species. Then there’s fracking which is trying to sink its claws in here. In short: the stresses on water are immense.
There is hope. Species of fish are starting to make comebacks, and people are more turned on than ever to environment and the impacts on it. People are doing their level best to consume less. People are pushing the biggest institutions and companies which waste and use natural resources to then dump them in water, to amend their ways. People are pushing back against exploitation of our water sources for things like bottling companies to sell our sacred Lakes and other freshwater sources as bottled water. There is a growing awareness of resource scarcity, especially potable water. Could there be more, should there be more done and hoped for? Absolutely. This is just a start.
There a few ways I make Gebo with Water, even as I use water as a regular offering for other Gods, Ancestors, and spirits. I make regular offerings to the spirits of Water, such as taking garbage out of bodies of water or places near water when I find it. I also give offerings such as herbs or food, breath, song, and prayer. One of the offerings Water seems to appreciate most is prevention as an offering, such as not allowing people to throw garbage into a body of water, or being careful in the use of water.
If wine or mead are good offerings, so too is water. Without water containing the elements necessary for fermentation and delivery of the alcohol, all you would have is rotting fruit or a pool of honey. Water gives the medicines and powers of the plants, animals, and spirits ways to come into our body, to become one with us that is similar and yet different than eating a given plant or animal does. Soup to help a sufferer through a cold, a potion to ease nightmares, a drink to gain the gift of poetry, all given through water’s form. If blood is a good offering so too is water; without water our blood would not flow, life would not be.
So is water a good offering? Yes, especially provided you respect Water itself. Without this vital substance we are so much a branching skeleton and trace elements. When Water is offered, what is offered is what allows us to live. A cup of Water is a cup of life.