Note: This is something I’ve come up with by combining my American folk magic practice with Heathen cosmology and prayer. While some modern Heathen magic is based on spells found in historic sources, that’s not what this is. This is 100% modern and 100% of my own creation.
As someone who practices Southern/Appalachian folk magic but is not Christian, I sometimes have to get creative when replacing the Christian elements in my rituals and spells. Holy water is one of the elements that has had me stumped for a while.
In a Christian context, holy water is water that has been blessed by a priest or other member of the clergy. Holy water is a mainstay in Catholic churches, but it’s made its way into several American magical traditions, even those that are more Protestant-leaning. Holy water has a wide variety of magical uses, from purification to healing to protection from enemies.
This presents a problem for pagan witches, because many of us don’t feel comfortable using Christian elements in our practices. Personally, I feel that using water blessed by someone else is less personal and thus less powerful than using water that I have blessed for myself.
I’ve seen other witches substitute moon water, sun water, crystal water, or just water that has been charged with their positive intentions. I think all of these are great ideas, but I like the idea of using water that has an explicit connection to my religious beliefs and the gods I worship.
I got this idea after we had a thunderstorm followed by a freeze. An empty flower pot had filled with water from the storm, then frozen over. I realized that this water was now connected to some seriously powerful Heathen forces — thunderstorms, which are associated not only with Thor but with Odin and, to a lesser extent, Freyr, and ice, which is one of the two primordial forces in Heathen cosmology. I decided to save some of the water in a jar and add the other Heathen primordial force, fire.
My method for infusing the water with fire energy is based on the process my partner uses to make khernips (Hellenic holy water) in his Religio Romana practice.
This stuff has some powerful vibes, so I thought I’d share for any other Heathens who might want to try!
You will need:
- Water collected during a thunderstorm
- A way to freeze your water
- Matches or a lighter
- *optional* Sacred wood of your choice (I used redcedar, which is native to my area and which I find to be strongly cleansing and protective.)
- *optional* a very small amount of bleach — 1/4 tsp for every gallon of water, or 4 drops per quart.
Collect rainwater during a thunderstorm. If you want, add a tiny bit of bleach to the water to keep it from growing bacteria or algae. (Note: Even if you add bleach, I still don’t recommend ingesting this water.)
Freyr is associated with rain, as well as with sunshine. Thor is, of course, the god of thunder and lightning, but Odin also has associations with thunderstorms through some his kennings: Þundr (“Thunderer,” from Gylfaginning, Hávamál, and others), Viðrir (“Stormer,” from Gylfaginning, Lokasenna, and others), and Hveðrungr (possibly “Weather-maker,” from Óðins nǫfn). You may choose to invoke any or all of these gods in your blessing of the water.
Speaking of blessing, the one I would use is: “I honor the spirits of this water. I honor and thank the spirits of rain and the spirits of thunder who have blessed this water. I honor and praise Thor, Odin, and Freyr, who have touched this water with their power.”
If this blessing doesn’t quite work for you, feel free to use a different one!
Now, you need to freeze your water. Ideally, you could simply leave it outside overnight and let it freeze naturally. If it is too warm to do this, place it in a freezer indoors. Just be careful — remember that water expands when it freezes, and you don’t want to shatter your container!
Once your water has frozen, speak this blessing or a similar one over it: “I honor and thank the spirits of ice who have blessed this water. Ice of Niflheim, primordial power, bless this water.”
Now, thaw out your water. Once the water is room-temperature, it’s time to add the energy of fire. If you are using sacred wood, set the tip of the wood on fire, then quickly douse the flame by dipping it in the water. If not using sacred wood, simply light a match and then douse it in the water.
Follow this up with this blessing or a similar one: “I honor and thank the spirits of fire who have blessed this water. Fire of Múspellheim, primordial power, bless this water.”
You now have water that has been blessed by the storm gods and by the two primordial elements. You can use this water in the same ways Christian witches use Christian holy water. I find it especially useful for purifying a person, object, or space.
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