So, it’s probably totally unsurprising that tap water is widely regarded as being kind of sucky for a lot of ritual applications. Some traditions expressly call for water that hasn’t ever passed through a pipe. Some practitioners point out that the kind of things that are routinely added to tap water may influence it in not-entirely-great ways. As with anything else I’m still very much of the “Does it work for you? Well, okay then” school of magick, even when it comes to water.
That said, my tap water could peel paint and makes me break out in a rash every time I take a bath. So, eff that.
I use rainwater.
Now, this might not be an option for everyone out there– some people live in areas where the rain is pretty much distilled and condensed vileness, and others might live in areas where rain collection isn’t strictly legal. Still (from a historical and folklore perspective) catching rainwater for Reasons has been a thing for pretty much ever, so it’s worth exploring.
According to some sources, the magickal potency of rainwater depends on the circumstances in which it was caught. Water caught during a thunder and lightning storm is said to be the most powerful, while the season influences its effects:
- Spring rain is good for youth, beauty, and renewal.
- Summer rain is good for success.
- Autumn rain is good for enhancing one’s personal magnetism and shadow work.
- Winter rain is good for protection and preservation.
If a thunderstorm coincides with a solstice, equinox, new moon, or full moon, that can further “flavor” its rain.
Personally, I use thunder water for washing tools, adding to baths or washes, or pretty much any other purpose that calls for water and won’t be ingested by another person. To catch and keep it, I set out a group of mason jars and filter the contents with cheesecloth or a coffee filter to catch any grit. It’s important not to drink rainwater– it may carry bacteria, viruses, parasitic larvae, and any other goodies that it washed out of the air.
Alongside rainwater, some old bits of folk magick call for collecting dew. There’re a few ways to do this:
- Shake it down out of trees or bushes.
- Collect it from tarpaulins set out to gather it overnight.
- Wring it out of towels or sheets set out to gather it overnight.
It’s important to do all of these things very early in the morning– it doesn’t take very long for the sun to cause dew to evaporate.
The historic use of dew, particularly May dew, as a beauty enhancer has been well documented. Some sources say that the user had only to wake early on the first of May, stand under a tree (some specify the kind of tree), and shake the dew down onto him or herself. Others detail a much longer preparation, involving catching the dew every day for months, wringing it into a jar kept on a sunny window, and saving it for a year.
Do you use water in your practice? What kind of water works best for you?