Out of the Broomcloset
Our culture certainly has embraced the notion that water from different places is imbued with differing properties, and that somehow the water from “there” is somehow better than from where one resides. The quality and purity of local supplies is, for a growing percentage of the public, suspect. The more rational solution would be to prohibit homes and industry encroaching on properties set aside as watersheds, and for municipalities to invest in better filtration systems which remove hormones and other pharmaceuticals which we, the public, excrete into the water supply daily. But no, glacier melt or water from Pacific Islands seems to hold greater appeal.
This is all merely an extension of our ancestral ways of thinking about water; every culture and region has earmarked certain bodies of water as being superior, sacred or curative. There really is no conceptual difference between taking the waters at the springs contained by the Temple of Sulis Minerva, which are still visited in Bath England, or of hoping for a miraculous cure by imbibing water at Lourdes France. At some level, our species has always sought not only water, but a superior one.
This being the case, it should come as no surprise that different sorts of magical workings require water from different sources. This may be, in fact, one point where magical and non-magical thinking come closest to having no difference.
In general, magic that requires H20 requires “living,” moving water, from a spring if possible. As various popular varieties of “spring” water are actually locally sourced municipal water, filtered, then compounded with the mineral salts shipped in from the original named spring (I won’t name names), a bottle off the shelf from a WaWa won’t do. In my time, I would haul water home from Roosevelt Park or the Watchung Reservation, but there are pollution issues these days (see the top of the article). One helpful source, if you are not familiar with sources where you live, is www.findaspring.com.
Spring water held in a basin to catch the Sun’s rays is used to make herbal infusions for health and intellect and is an ideal as a base for fluid condensers. A fluid condenser is used like a storage battery, to hold a magical “charge” until it is needed.
Here are several recipes: Fluid condenser/Will in a bottle – Simmer a handful of dried marigold flowers or chamomile in 3 cups of water, let cool, strain out the plant material, then boil down about 1/2 reduced, cool, add equal volume of grain alcohol (like vodka), add 1 drop of gold chloride, bottle, keep in a dark place.
Another formula: Chamomile and Eyebright. When this infusion is cooling the second time, light 5 spears of willow wood (which adds a lunar energy to the solar one of the herb water), and plunge the burning ends into the water, focusing you concentration on this act. You may add several drops of your own vital body fluids (yes, those) to either of these.
Success Rinse: Water from a “living” source (moving water, tap water is fine, but not bottled); make a chamomile infusion, to which will be added water in which angelica and peony roots, laurel bark and leaves, have been boiled. This goes into your bath, or is wiped on hands and face, to improve your appearance at an interview.
Rain from a thunderstorm does have a slight charge, which dissipates quickly, but can be used in a spell as a catalyst to speed things up. The first rain of spring carries luck.
Conversely, Moon water should originate from a hidden source (gather it where the Sun don’t shine. Should you have access to a cave with a spring, all the better). This is to be exposed during a Waxing Moon, then kept in an opaque container; it should be treated like unexposed film (remember film)? This is then poured back into a basin, and used as a scrying surface/crystal ball, for divination work.
Dew gathered from particular plants carry their essential qualities, and can be used in lieu of the botanical itself. Such a method then became popularized in homeopathic practices. Dew gathered from plants on May’s Eve/Beltane was considered particularly efficacious for healthy skin.
To the water of life!