Who Has the Power to Bless? Water Ritual and Blessing

We hope that in the coming days and throughout the year you will return to the water ritual and blessing from our Water Ingathering service. Below are the instructions and blessing for you to repeat or make your own.

I invite you to get the following items for this water ritual:

  1. A vessel
  2. water
  3. salt
  4. sugar or honey (anything sweet)
  5. herbs or spices
  6. something lovely that floats
  7. a stone
  8. a utensil for stirring.

“Who has the power to bless?” asks poet John O’Donohue. “This question is not to be answered simply by the description of one’s institutional status or membership. But perhaps there are deeper questions hidden here: What do you bless with? Or where do you bless from? When you bless another, you first gather yourself; you reach below your surface mind and personality, down to the deeper source within you. Blessing is from soul to soul.”

I invite you to turn your attention to the vessel you chose. This container is not about confinement but about embrace. Feel the shape, the temperature.
And now, if it doesn’t already hold your water, please pour your water in. Give attention to this elemental connection, that which is essential to us, that connects all.

Find the salt in front of you. Feel it between your fingertips. Taste it if you’d like. The salt you have in front of you is used in many earth-based traditions as a symbol for protection or purification. Your salt may represent tears or lament. Perhaps it brings forth the flavor of life just as it does the foods we eat. Consider what this salt might symbolize for you today, what you carry into this hour, a need, a recognition, an honoring, a wish. And then, add the blessing of salt to your water.

And now, the sugar or honey – your something sweet. Touch and taste if you’d like. This is a reminder to look for delight, to find pleasure in the tiniest grains of time, to claim joy as resistance, and as necessary for our flourishing. What memory does it bring to the surface? What need does it represent? Add the blessing of sweetness.

Find your herbs or spices. Some say chamomile stands for patience and grounding; honeysuckle for bonds of love; chive for usefulness; basil for good wishes; thyme for courage; mint for virtue or goodness; rosemary for remembrance; salvia for connection; black tea for wakefulness; green tea for clarity. Whatever herbs or spices you’ve chosen, may these represent healing, represent growth, represent intensity or passion — all of which could mean many things to you. Add spice or herb to our water as a blessing for your particular soul.

Your water likely looks different than it did when you started. Your body, your heart, your mind may feel quite different than when you started.
Gaze upon your water, or bring it into your imagination, your mind’s eye, and add a blessing for wisdom, for clarity, for discernment in bewildering times.

Take the utensil you chose for today. And as you stir the water, consider it a blessing of purpose, or energy, or direction.

Let the water slow down and then add a stone: A blessing for grounding. See the water ripple and then wait and watch as the water settles: A blessing for calm, for peace, for rest.

Take that something beautiful that floats and add it to the water. Watch as it seems to rest. So may you. Even in these hard times. There is beauty all around us. May it rise to the surface. May it be held aloft.

And now finally, I invite you to put your hands in the water. Let the water run through your fingers.

Rub your hands together, and then, gently bring them up to your head. As your hands rest here, atop the hair, skin and bones that protect our brain, dedicate your thoughts to that which promotes life.

On the days when fear or irritation or frustration pull us away from the person we want to be, may the love of our community and the goodness of the world help us remember to speak and act with integrity, care, and bravery.

Pour a little more water into your hands, rub them together, and gently lay them on your belly. This is the home of our intuition and our emotions. Breathe deeply into your belly, and feel your hands rise and fall.

In the moments when grief and anxiety try to steal our breath away, may the love of this community and the goodness of the world help us remember that we are strong and resilient. May we remember that even though we may have to face loss and calamity, we will never be alone in our struggles.

Put a little water into your hands, rub them together, and lay them on your heart. Feel the gentle pulse of the muscle that pumps blood through your whole body. This is where the still, small voice whispers, where our spirit lives.

In the moments when we feel alone, ugly, flawed, or broken, may the love of this community and the goodness of the world help us remember that we are precious and beautiful and perfect in our imperfection. May we rest in the knowledge that we are enough, and that we’re not meant to be anyone but the exact person we happen to be in that moment. May we know ourselves held in a love that holds all that we love.

Mind, heart, and spirit, we are with you. You are with us.

Mind, heart, and spirit, with all that we are, we are here for you. We are here for one another.

Blessed be.