I’ve been thinking lately about the Winning of the Waters myth. In brief, the Winning of the Waters is when one deity hoards all of the blessings and other “good stuff” for themselves. They are often described with imagery relating to dragons, and the hoarding of wealth. Then another deity acts as the hero who fights on behalf of mankind to get the Waters (the blessings, good stuff, the hoard) for us. The hero deity fights the hoarding deity, with the former ultimately winning, and thus allowing the Waters and blessings to flow once more from the realms of the gods to us.
In our common liturgical language, we often refer to the underworld power as “the Waters of Potential” and the upperworld powers as “the Electric Sky Power.” I believe we can associate the Waters of Blessing with the “electric sky power” because the Waters of Blessing are a gift from the Sky Deities (literally *Dyēus and often other thundering/electric deities).
Assuming this association, I’ve been contemplating what kind of connection there may be between the Waters of Blessing that were won and the Waters of Potential that we already have. At a glance it seems as though these are two separate things: the Waters of Blessings being gifts from without, and the Waters of Potential being gifts from within. However, when we do a Two Powers Attunement, we combine all these constituent parts and mix them to become a new bright and shining whole. When I lead a Two Powers Attunement I refer to this mixing and mingling as resulting in “a third power: a Triessence” that we can use to do the work ahead (thanks to Rev. Ian Corrigan for that delightful turn of phrase).
I tend to like this way of looking at it because using just the power of the gods alone, or just the internal potential that we have, means nothing unless we actively engage with those powers, blending them into something tangible that we can use. It is the combination of these distinct wells of power, and their interdependence, that lets us achieve great things.
One of the many hats that I wear is that of a writer and a bard, and like many writers, I tend to collect nice or fancy notebooks and pens. And there is this tendency, that I think most creative people are familiar with, that when we are confronted with our nice materials, we can’t use them. We want to save them for something special, or for when we’re better at art, or for the final draft of a story or song. But this can easily spiral out of control and we end up hoarding our very potential. So when thinking about the interplay between the Waters of Blessing and the Waters of Potential, and our ability to combine them, sometimes we must be the hero in our own story, and wrest the hoard of our own potential away so that we can use it, in concert with the gifts given by the gods, to create a Triessence. I think it’s important that we remember that it is not a waste to use our potential or to use the materials we have, quite the opposite in fact. Our own, and our community’s, well-being depends on us to use our materials, our potential, and our blessings to brighten ourselves and the world.
So, as we approach gift giving season, I’d like to encourage folks to consider what kinds of potential they may be hoarding from themselves: those things you have already been given, but have been hesitant to use. It’s not only the magic and blessings of the gods that lets us create and be a point of light and hope for others, it is also the physical manifestations that we’re able to create and engage in for ourselves that keep us whole. We spend a lot of time giving to others in this season, but please consider allowing yourself to feel the blessings of the gifts you’ve already received. Use the fancy art supplies, write in the fancy notebook with the fancy pen, drink the expensive tea, use the special occasion china, and let yourself enjoy the gifts we’ve been given.
This was originally published in Oak Leaves (ADF’s quarterly journal) and on Patreon. If you enjoy these writings and want to support Rev. Avende’s work, join them over on Patreon.
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