Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore

Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore by Melusine Draco

Natural tides are an integral part of tradition British witchcraft because these are what empower our magical workings and personal spell casting.  Imagine drawing in the energies we’ve given out today. Pull back the energy that has gone into chatting, encounters at work, the distractions of shop windows, or the emotional pull of others. Ethereal meditation focuses on spiritual transformation. It is a form of conscious meditation that combines powerful visualizations and affirmations to help harness the flow of personal and environmental energy in our lives.  Here we use the natural tides of the Earth to help restore our body when we’re feeling exhausted, weary, and tired. We will feel more alive and filled with energy …

Natural tides are caused by the effect of gravity in the Earth-Moon-Sun system, and the movement of those three bodies.  Let’s consider just the Moon for a minute, and imagine the Earth completely covered in water. There would be two bulges of water – one towards the Moon and another on the opposite side. The rise and fall in sea-level is caused by the Earth rotating on its axis underneath these bulges of water. There are two tides a day because it passes under two bulges for each 24 hour rotation.  This is called the lunar tide.

The Sun also creates two bulges of water called the solar tide – this is about a third the size of the lunar tide. Two Bulges? What causes the one on the side away from the Moon? Most people think the Moon rotates round the Earth. In reality, the Earth and the Moon rotate about a common centre just inside the Earth’s surface. At this common centre, the two forces acting: gravity towards the Moon and a rotational force away from the Moon are perfectly in balance. They have to be otherwise the Earth and Moon would not stay in this orbit. The ‘tide-generating’ force is the difference between these two forces. On the surface of the Earth nearest the Moon, gravity is greater than the rotational force, and so there is a net force towards the Moon causing a bulge towards the Moon. On the opposite side of the Earth, gravity is less as it is further from the Moon, so the rotational force is dominant. Hence there is a net force away from the Moon. It is this that creates the second bulge away from the Moon.

The solar-tidal bulges are about half the size of those caused by the Moon. Like the Moon, gravitational attraction to the Sun creates one bulge towards the Sun and one away from it … These occur during full and new Moons when the gravitational influence of the Sun and the Moon line up with each other. Tides cause daily changes in water levels in many coastal areas. Factors such as local topography and weather contribute to the timing and height of tides, but the primary reason for tides is the gravitational attraction between liquid water on the Earth and the Moon. All objects on Earth experience tidal forces. However, the effect is most pronounced with water because, as a liquid, it is more easily deformed by gravity when compared to solid objects.

Basically, oceanic tides are very long-period waves that move through the oceans in response to the forces exerted by the moon and sun. Tides originate in the oceans and progress toward the coastlines where they appear as the regular rise and fall of the sea surface. When the highest part, or crest of the wave reaches a particular location, high tide occurs; low tide corresponds to the lowest part of the wave, or its trough. The difference in height between the high tide and the low tide is called the tidal range.

A horizontal movement of water often accompanies the rising and falling of the tide. This is called the tidal current. The incoming tide along the coast and into the bays and estuaries is called a flood current; the outgoing tide is called an ebb current. The strongest flood and ebb currents usually occur before or near the time of the high and low tides. The weakest currents occur between the flood and ebb currents and are called ‘slack water’ or ‘slack current’. In the open ocean tidal currents are relatively weak. Near estuary entrances, narrow straits and inlets, the speed of tidal currents can reach up to several kilometers per hour.

The solar cycle is the cycle that the Sun’s magnetic field goes through approximately every eleven years. Our Sun is a huge ball of electrically-charged hot gas. This charged gas moves, generating a powerful magnetic field.  Every 11 years or so, the Sun’s magnetic field completely flips. This means that the Sun’s north and south poles switch places. Then it takes about another 11 years for the Sun’s north and south poles to flip back again. The solar cycle affects activity on the surface of the Sun, such as sunspots which are caused by the Sun’s magnetic fields, and as the magnetic fields change, so does the amount of activity on the Suns surface.

Atmospheric tides are ubiquitous features of the Earth’s atmosphere. They are the persistent global oscillations that are observed in all types of atmospheric fields, including wind, temperature, pressure, density, and land height.   Tidal oscillations have periods that are some factor of a solar or lunar day. Atmospheric tides have been studied for many years, since they are evident in both surface pressure and magnetic observations that date back to the early part of the twentieth century.  Atmospheric tides are further characterized by their sources.

The Moon’s gravity forces the lunar atmospheric tide, while solar atmospheric tides can be excited in several ways, including the absorption of solar radiation, large-scale latent heat release associated with deep convective clouds in the troposphere, the gravitational pull of the Sun, and as secondary waves due to nonlinear wave-interactions. The restoring force that acts on atmospheric tides is gravity, so tides are a special class of buoyancy or gravity waves. Solar atmospheric tides are generally larger than lunar tides and dominate the tidal motions in the middle and upper atmosphere, that is, the  stratosphere, mesosphere and thermosphere. [NASA]

Earth tide is the displacement of the solid earth’s surface caused by the gravity of the Moon and Sun. At ground level, atmospheric tides can be detected as regular but small oscillations in surface pressure with periods of 24 and 12 hours. The largest body tide constituents are semi-diurnal, but there are also significant diurnal, semi-annual, and fortnightly contributions. Though the gravitational force causing earth tides and ocean tides is the same, the responses are quite different.  In coastal areas, because the ocean tide is quite out of step with the Earth tide, at high ocean tide there is an excess of water about what would be the gravitational equilibrium level, and therefore the adjacent ground falls in response to the resulting differences in weight. At low tide there is a deficit of water and the ground rises. Displacements caused by ocean tidal loading can exceed the displacements due to the Earth body tide. Sensitive instruments far inland often have to make similar corrections. Atmospheric loading and storm events may also be measurable, though the masses in movement are less weighty. Volcanologists use the regular, predictable Earth tide movements to calibrate and test sensitive volcano deformation monitoring instruments. The tides may also trigger volcanic events. [Wikipedia]

The pole tide is the response of the ocean to incremental centrifugal forces associated with the Chandler wobble – a small deviation in the Earth’s axis of rotation relative to the solid earth.  It amounts to change of about 30 ft in the point at which the axis intersects the Earth’s surface and has a period of 433 days. This wobble, combines with another wobble with a period of one year, so that the total polar motion varies with a period of about seven years. The tide has a potentially important effect on the period and damping of the wobble, but it is at present not well constrained by observations.  In regard to ocean tides in particular: the South Pole is on land so there are no ocean tides; and the North Pole is frozen so it is hard to see the Ocean tides! It is true that tides tend to reduce with increasing latitude, but there are many other factors including the shape of the coastline. [Navipedia]

Tides have an effect on the atmosphere surrounding the Earth and can be used magically to our advantage to enhance our rituals when each individual tides is at its highest/strongest. Here’s an energizing yogic meditation we can do for just thirty seconds that will fill our body and mind with a smooth, natural energy. This is also great for increasing our immunity and clearing our mind. Try doing this in the morning or mid-afternoon to fill ourselves with an intoxicating natural buzz as we plug into the natural tide.

While this is a simple meditation is also a mental practice that allows us to connect back to our physical bodies, slow down, and calm our thoughts when they are racing or frantic. Like all forms of meditation, doing even a quick exercise can train us to press pause on our swirling thoughts and focus, even for a few seconds, on the moment.  The internet can help us to pinpoint the apogee of the tide on which we wish to focus, so that we can concentrate on that precise moment in time prior to engaging in any magical working.

Once we have discovered how to syncronize our routine with the various natural tides by consulting any one of a number of apps or local tide charts available we can literally drop into the exercise anytime, anywhere. If we’re stressed at our desk, or even slipping into negative thoughts while at the gym, we can sink into this mini-yoga exercise any time we feel the need.

  • First things first, get comfortable – whether we choose to cozy up on a couch or step outside into the sunlight. Keeping our feet firmly planted on the ground can be helpful for greater connection and grounding.  On the go or not at home? No problem.
  • Take a few deep breaths . . . like, all the way down to your belly (four seconds in, four-second hold, and four seconds out is a good place to start). Without trying to change what we observe, let’s simply notice the sensations in our body. Do we have clenched shoulders? A tightened jaw? Tightness in our neck?
  • Simply observing what we feel may be shocking once we stop and notice just how tense we’ve been without even realizing it. Once you’ve become aware of sensations, take notice of a few other things like:

The temperature of our hands

The feeling of clothing against our body

The ground under our feet

The smells and feeling of the air around us

  • All of these objective observations can help increase mindfulness – like when it feels like as though our anxiety is taking control. Gently allow our body to relax, from head to toe.
  • Start by relaxing the facial muscles and jaw, neck, and shoulders. Even our tongue and throat might be holding anxiety, so let them go limp. Continue to breathe deeply as we relax all the way down to your toes.  Think of nothing.
  • New to meditation or finding this all a little abstract? As with all types of meditation, there’s no right or wrong way. So if sitting in silence with yourself feels good, you’re doing it right!
  • We can always take it up to the next level and go for five to 10 minutes, or longer! This is a good way to begin our day, self-sooth over your lunch break, or wind down before going to sleep.  Or even focus our thoughts prior to beginning a magical working.

Let this pure thought, the recognition of our pure existence, center you and draw you deeper inside. To find our place of peace in our mind. To be at our most calm mindset and think clearly. Think of this practice as an exercise in meeting our invulnerable core. It can give us the strength we need to open up to our own vulnerability without being overwhelmed by it and connect with the Universe as it manifests in natural tides and rhythms.

Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books ISBN 978 184694 426 0 : 150 pages : Price UK£9.99/US$16.95

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