Water is an easy element to work with, since we tend to come across it in our daily lives pretty frequently. Water represents flow, surrender, release, and the depths of our emotions and our subconscious. It's closely tied to the moon, as the moon affects the waters of the earth as she moves through her cycles.
Work with water in order to keep yourself on an even emotional keel, or to bring up powerful feelings that need to be released and washed away. Water altars are generally in the West, as the West is the direction of the setting sun, and the passing of the day. Water is also a great medium for incorporating essential oils into your life, whether you bathe with them, diffuse them, or clean your floors with them. Just be sure to use a high-quality essential oil; we get ours through Arbonne and Sage Goddess.
Here are a few ways to work with the element of water, and the important difference between them:
CLEANSING: We do this daily in a literal manner when we wash our hands. You can make washing your hands a small ritual by doing it at intentional points of the day (in addition to when your hands just happen to be dirty) and imagining the stresses and any accumulated negative energy of the day washing down the drain with the dirty water. You can also use special scented soap, and take a few moments after drying your hands to bring your hands to your face, and take a moment of presence to inhale the scent.
PURIFYING: This is a little more intense than mere cleansing. Many people shower before doing ritual, shamanic journeying, or doing their daily devotions. This is usually a full-body thing, aka a shower. You can use smudging soap, or a special scrub to thoroughly treat yourself. As opposed to a quick cleansing, which is like a damp-mop, you can view this as a a deep clean of your house, kind of like a Spring cleaning. You can either do this at the beginning of the day in advance of your rituals and devotions, or at the end of the day in order to really clear out your energy field so that you can sleep well.
DETOXIFYING: Some people imagine that a quick shower will wash away negativity and stuck energy, because that's what water does, but that's not quite right. Water will wash stuff away, but only what's on the surface. If you really want to deep clean, you need a good soak in the tub to bring the toxic stuff held within you to the surface so that you can get rid of it. It's always a good idea to take a quick shower after you've had a bath for this reason--so you're not just walking around with all the dirty water stuff still on you.
We'd love to hear some of your water rituals!