The Magic of Water
An investigation of the esoteric meaning and hidden properties of water
Encouraged by the enthusiastic response to our article on the magic of salt, we have decided to investigate another important compound familiar to us all: water, to see what magical things we can discover about this everyday substance. As in our previous article, we will consider water from many different angles to obtain as complete a picture of it as possible, some obvious, some less so, and some completely unknown to material science, but not to occult science.
We will begin with the Bible—in which water is mentioned no less than 636 times, proving, if proof were needed, how very important water was to the compilers of the Old and New Testaments. By the time we conclude our investigation we hope that you will have learned not only why water was chosen to represent the primeval substance from which the universe arose, but also why it is truly magical in the highest sense of this much misunderstood word. So—let us make a start by looking into the Old Testament, starting with Genesis, basing our reading as usual upon the King James Version.
Water in the Bible
In Genesis, Chapter 1, verses 1-10, we may read: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good."
We have quoted these ten verses in full to save you looking them up, though they will be familiar to many of you. It is important to understand that they do not describe the creation of our physical earth, but rather the manifestation of our particular Kosmos, or solar system. The second point to bear in mind is that almost all the words mentioned, such as 'heaven', 'earth', 'void', 'light', 'darkness', 'deep' and 'light', are allegorical and symbolical. None of them should be interpreted literally. This is especially true of 'waters' which does not mean our familiar chemical compound H2O, but something quite different, as we shall see later. We will examine each of these words in detail, in order to uncover their hidden meaning. We shall also refer to the ancient Egyptian and Babylonian creation myths, for all the accounts of the creation that have come down to us are derived from the same source; namely, the occult scientific teachings of Atlantis.
In the ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, which date from around 2,500 B.C., we may read how Khepera, the Creator, brought our Kosmos into being from the waters of Nu. Now, Nu stood for the boundless ocean of primeval matter out of which everything that exists has been brought forth. In choosing water to represent the primeval matter, the ancient Egyptians were not so foolish as to imagine that it was water, but because terrestrial water corresponds to the nature of this invisible substance, as enshrined in the oft quoted but poorly understood Universal Hermetic Law 'as above, so below.' The female counterpart of Nu, the Goddess Nut, represented the sky, which we may also regard as another kind of water, just as we may regard interstellar space as the waters in which the planets of our Kosmos swim and from which they have obtained all the atomic elements that give them material form.
The Spirit of God moving over the face of the waters in Genesis is the same spirit the ancient Egyptians symbolised in the God Khepera moving over the primeval watery mass of Nu. Every statement in Genesis finds its parallel in the ancient Egyptian record. 'Heaven' corresponds to the Egyptian Goddess Nut, whilst 'earth' corresponds to Geb, or Seb, the Egyptian God of the Earth. The oldest company of the gods formulated by the Priests of Heliopolis, comprised eight deities, each of which stands for one or more of the words employed in Genesis to describe the different stages of manifestation. Water finds its counterpart in the first pair of Egyptian deities—Nu and Nut. The second pair, Hehu and Hehut, corresponds to the Light which was divided from the Darkness, or Kekui and Kekuit—the third Duad of deities—which words mean darkness in Egyptian. The Pyramid Texts further tell us that Khepera separated Nu from Nut, which act is paralleled in Genesis when God separates the "waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament." We shall explain what is meant by this enigmatical sentence shortly, but in order to make our meaning clear, we must first conclude our brief survey of the Egyptian Cosmogenesis.
The fourth and final pair of deities in the Heliopolitan Theogony consisted of Gerh and Gerhit. Now, the meaning of 'Gehr' is night, so we may say that here we have a concealed reference to the spiritual Light which is darkness to our material senses, and our material, physical light which is darkness when regarded from the vantage point of spirit. This contradiction is enshrined in the enigmatic verse from John 1:5: "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." In the Babylonian account of the Creation we also find an ogdoad of creative deities who closely mirror the qualities and attributes of their Egyptian counterparts. This account relates that in the beginning nothing existed except the Duad Apzu-Rishtu, which words mean a boundless, chaotic mass of watery matter. In other words these two deities represented the male and female powers (or positive and negative polarities) of the primeval waters that contained the germs of all life, just as Nu and Nut represented these same powers in the Egyptian Cosmogenesis. There then follow three further pairs of deities, just as they do in Egypt, proving the common source for both myths that we referred to earlier.
The division of the 'waters' mentioned in Genesis can be viewed from many different and equally correct perspectives. In one sense it may be regarded as the division of the manifested universe from the unmanifest. In the Secret Doctrine, H. P. Blavatsky describes the separation of the seen and known from the unseen and unknowable in the following words: "Behold Him lifting the veil...He shuts out the Above and leaves the Below to be seen as the great illusion." We may liken this veil to the curtain that hides the actors and scenery of a play from the spectators. However real the play may seem to us, it is an illusion, just as the manifested universe is an illusion.
In another sense, the division refers to the separation of our earth from the finer, astral realms which surround it, as you can read in The Quest of Ruru. It will then be clear that the 'gathering of the waters' into one place, refers to the creation of our planet and these finer dimensions in which it is encased, much like the heart of an onion within its skins. Not for nothing is the astral world often referred to as a sea, as you may also read in the aforementioned book. So 'dry land' simply means our seemingly solid earth, and not its physical characteristics such as continents, which a literal reading of these verses suggests. Remember: the account of the creation is primarily allegorical and symbolical and can only be understood if we learn the meaning of the various symbols employed and are able to read them correctly.
Having shown that the Biblical account of the creation is a copy of much older records, and examined the words used, you will now have a clearer idea of just how much is concealed in Genesis. Time and Space prevent us from saying any more for we promised to discuss the magic of water, not creation, though it is true to say that there can be no creation without water, in whatever form or way we may regard this mysterious substance. So, let us now see what other good things we can discover about water in the Bible. We will begin with Psalm 69, in which David, the Divine Singer of Heavenly Harmonies and Seer of Truth, laments: "I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me." Clearly, it can be no ordinary water which he fears and pleads to be rescued from. And what are we to make of the 'pit' which threatens to engulf him? A literal reading of these verses cannot provide the answers, but occult symbolism, allegory and correspondence can, as we shall see.
The 'deep waters' David refers to are the lower astral light. We say 'lower' deliberately, for there is a higher astral light too, in which we find those great beings we would regard as Gods, and rightly so, for from our perspective they are possessed of unlimited power and wisdom. Not so the dwellers in the lower astral light among which we find both discarnate human beings and elemental beings of all kinds and grades, as you may read in our occult studies course article on the Astral World. So David is quite right to fear these beings, many of which are very evil indeed, especially those that dwell within the 'pit', the lowest of these low astral regions. You may wish to regard that 'pit' as hell, and it is hellish indeed to those who belong there, or descend into it through their attunement with evil.
David clearly knew all this, for he tells us: "But—"The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea" (Psalm 93:4). And so he is if we place our full trust in him and his ministers, who will rescue us if we have deserved such rescue and earnestly desire it, no matter how low we may descend in the scale of being. Proverbs tells us to "Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well" (Proverbs 5:15). This means we should not rely on the knowledge of others but seek it out for ourselves, a point we emphasise continually in so many of our articles. "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation" (Isaiah 12:3). Have you guessed what those 'wells' are? No? Then we will tell you. They are the wells of Heavenly Wisdom; this is the wisdom we have endeavoured to introduce you to in all our articles. It is not 'our' wisdom, it belongs to all mankind, and all may freely drink from those living waters of Wisdom, according to their need and capacity for receiving them.
Let us now turn to the New Testament to see what else we may learn about water. In the Gospel of John we may read: "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John: 3:5). Now, what on earth does this mean? If you remember what David says about the 'deep waters', the 'flood' and the 'mire', the meaning of this verse will become clear. Has it? Think. Do you not know people who have gotten into 'deep waters', whether financial, emotional, moral, or any other kind of difficulty? Do you not know others who have sunk into mire, whether it is the mud of immorality or merely criminal activity of some kind? Perhaps you have been in such waters yourself? We know that we have! Now do you know what that 'water' is Jesus and David refer to? It is simply a metaphor for the vicissitudes of earthly life. In other words, we cannot enter into the higher realms of Light unless we have learned our lessons of material existence in a physical body on earth.
Only then can we be 'born' of the Spirit—that is to say—receive the living waters of Wisdom, for otherwise we would neither recognise nor benefit from them. We have now learned that there are many kinds of water, though each of them share certain attributes in common. There is a 'first' water, or primeval substance out of which everything has arisen. There is the water of the lower and higher Astral Light. There are the waters of experience. And finally, there is the living water of Life, Light and Love Jesus refers to in the following verses from the Gospel of John. "The woman saith unto him (Jesus), Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4: 11-14).
Here we have a clear reference to those earthly desires which are never satisfied, no matter how many times we drain the cup of pleasure, of fame, ambition and wealth. Only the water of Wisdom, drawn from the fountain of Truth, can bestow the gift of life everlasting. This is not physical immortality—though quite why anyone would want to live forever on earth is beyond our comprehension—but everlasting continuity of consciousness in the Spirit. "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:1 and 22:7). With those sublime words we must conclude this part of our investigation and move on to the next.
The science of water
Although we drink it, wash, fish and swim in it, and cook with it (although usually not all at the same time!), we nearly always overlook the special relationship water has with our lives. There are a hundred times as many water molecules in our bodies than the sum of all the other molecules put together. Although water is the most familiar of liquids, it is also the most mysterious and least understood. Water is the only common substance to exist as a solid, liquid and gas in nature. It performs many functions such as dilution, transportation, lubrication, reaction, stabilisation and communication, and can be considered as the medium which connects and sustains all life. Water consists of an oxygen atom bonded to two hydrogen atoms to form a molecule (H2O). This molecule has the shape of a tetrahedron, a three-dimensional triangle consisting of four faces. The oxygen atom sits in the heart of the tetrahedron whilst the hydrogen atoms point at two of the four corners. The positively charged hydrogen of each water molecule attracts the negatively charged oxygen of another molecule, giving rise to a hydrogen-bond (H-bond) between two or more molecules. Although water is by far the most studied chemical compound there is still a great deal material science does not know about it, as we shall now see.
In 2004, a scientist from the University of California, Berkeley said: "We think we understand everything there is about a single water molecule. What we don't understand so well is how they interact with each other." One of the peculiarities of water is that the solid form floats on the liquid form. This explains why water pipes burst when they freeze, which is the exact opposite of nearly every other simple substance. Mercury thermometers, for instance, do not explode when the temperature drops below the freezing point of mercury. Water can take in a lot of heat without its temperature increasing very much. This makes it an especially good coolant for car radiators and is the main reason temperatures are moderate around coastal areas.
If you ask a chemist what happens to water when it escapes as steam from a boiling kettle, they will tell you that it turns into vapour. This only begs the question: what is water vapour? Ten to one the answer you will get to that question is that water vapour is invisible. Please don't tell us that when you see a cloud, fog, or mist, these are water vapour, for they are not. What you see are tiny droplets of liquid water, not water vapour. So where has it gone? Science says it has entered a gaseous state. Occult science teaches that it has passed from the objective to the subjective plane. Science only knows of three states of matter, the solid, the liquid and the gaseous, whereas occult science knows of seven, the higher four states all being differentiations of Aether. The higher the state, the more freedom the individual atoms of a water molecule have.
Science has an inkling of this law but so far has not realised its implications. Chemists now know that solid water typically has four hydrogen bonds around each molecule. The difference in the liquid form is that, at a given time, approximately 10 per cent of the hydrogen bonds are broken. Some scientists now believe that water may adopt a new structure when ice melts, in which a molecule essentially grabs on to only two of its neighbours. At room temperature, 80 per cent of water molecules are in this state, while the rest have the traditional four hydrogen bonds. The implication of this new theory is that liquid water may be made up mostly of such interconnected chains, as opposed to the tighter network of solitary tetrahedrons we discussed earlier. This leads us to one of the most puzzling properties of water: its propensity to form what are known as 'clusters,' first discovered in the 1960s.
Water clusters are small groupings of water molecules that differ in many ways from 'bulk' water, such as we find in a glass of ordinary tap water. The biggest difference is that all or most of the molecules in a small cluster are on the surface, where they have fewer chemical interactions with other water molecules than do the molecules in bulk water. Recent research has shown that water in living systems naturally gathers into clusters of 14, 17, 21, 196, 280, or more molecules. It is thought that these intricate geometrical structures play an important part in operations ranging from molecular binding to turning on and off basic cell processes. They may also be responsible for the high surface tension of water that allows it to climb up the sides of a drinking straw and provide a firm footing for certain insects, such as the pond skaters we have all observed performing the Biblical miracle!
So far, no limit has been found to the theoretical size that these clusters can grow to. If you have read our articles on why matter matters and the occult Sun, you will recognise the correspondence between this microcosmic phenomenon and the clustering of solar systems and galaxies in the macrocosm. Here we see the Universal Hermetic Law: 'As above—so below' in action. For, as we explain in the aforementioned articles, an atom is a solar-system in miniature. If you remember your science classes you will recall that a molecule is the smallest particle in a chemical element or compound that has the chemical properties of that element or compound. From this it follows that a molecule corresponds to a galaxy. Just as some molecules are very small—like water—others are very large, containing billions of atoms, such as DNA. The next step up in scale, but not size, for size, as occult science teaches, is an illusion, is the simple cell, such as the bacterium Mycoplasma gallicepticum. This, in turn, corresponds to a cluster of galaxies, or a universe in the macrocosm, but not to THE Universe, which is the ultimate container of all manifested life as we know it.
Science does not know why water clusters in this way, any more than it knows why galaxies cluster in the way they do, but occult science does, and the answer is intelligence. Now, this does not mean that your martini is a thinking entity, but it does mean that water has the ability to respond intelligently to the forces acting upon it and the changing conditions it encounters. Remember what we said earlier when we drew the analogy between an atom and a solar system. Both are subject to the same universal laws and these laws are set in motion by intelligent beings of all kinds, from the lowest elementals to the Logoi who rule the vast galaxies we see through our telescopes. It is the innate intelligence within atoms, molecules and cells which allows them to respond in the ways that are so puzzling to scientists. When these same scientists lament that "bugs are fighting back", that is just what they are doing. But so long as science clings to its mechanistic theories of matter it will continue to lose this battle, just as it will never understand why water does the strange things it does.
The hidden properties of water
Water sample exposed to prayer from Messages from Water by Masaru Emoto (see sidebar)
The floods which have devastated so many different parts of the world in recent times illustrate the destructive power of water, but few stop to consider the metaphysical properties of this remarkable substance. As long ago as the 11th century, a Chinese scholar wrote: "Of all the elements, the Sage should take water as his preceptor. Water is yielding but all-conquering. Water extinguishes fire, or finding itself defeated, escapes as steam and reforms. Water washes away soft earth or, when confronted by rocks, seeks a way around. It saturates the atmosphere so that Wind dies. Water gives way to obstacles with deceptive humility, for no power can prevent it following its destined course to the Sea. Water conquers by yielding; it never attacks but always wins the last battle." Here is wisdom of the right sort sufficient for a lifetime.
From our study of water in the Bible we have learned something about why it was chosen to represent the primeval substance from which the universe arose. The Book of Sa-Heti, published in full on our website, has a great deal to say about this primordial substance. In chapter 33 we may read: "For know that all that IS has come from the heavenly well, which is an Emanation of my Father, the Holy Lord called Vishnu, and from my Mother, his Heavenly Queen, Devaki, known on earth as Maia, the Maiden, and she the Spouse of God Supreme." This teaching finds its counterpart in the Secret Doctrine in which we may read: "Father-Mother spin a web whose upper end is fastened to spirit—the light of the one darkness—and the lower one to its shadowy end, matter; and this web is the universe spun out of the two substances made in one, which is Svabhavat."
The Theosophist, Gottfried de Purucker, tells us in his Occult Glossary that "Svabhavat is a state or condition of cosmic consciousness-substance, where spirit and matter, which are fundamentally one, no longer are dual as in manifestation, but one: that which is neither manifested matter nor manifested spirit alone, but both are the primeval unity...the cosmic reservoir of being, as well as of beings, therefore of consciousness, of intellectual light, of life...and the Hebrew Old Testament refers to it as the cosmic 'waters." Chrishna goes on to explain to his disciples that: "Water, First created of all things, contains the fire of Vishnu and the moisture of Maia", or in other words the fire of the Father and the moisture of the Mother. Note what we said earlier about the polarity of water and its ability to hold a very great deal of heat. Remember too that what is above is like that which is below, but after another manner, as Hermes stated in his famous axiom. We cannot stress the importance of the Hermetic Law of Correspondence often enough, for when rightly understood and applied, is one of the most important keys to unlock the mysteries of water, both in its material and metaphysical aspects.
Before we conclude this investigation, we would like to say a few words about the healing and purifying properties of water, about which a good deal of nonsense has been written by those who have little or no understanding of either water, healing or purification. In our review of Masaru Emoto's Messages from Water in our afterword, we make mention of the water obtained by the author from the famous healing shrine of Lourdes. Unless we wish to dismiss the testimony of the many thousands of believers who have been healed of their various infirmities by this water, there must clearly be 'something' in it. Although Lourdes water has been chemically analysed many times it contains nothing we would not expect to find in wholesome spring water anywhere in the world. So if it does not possess any detectable medicinal properties, how does it work? The clue is in the word 'detectable'. As we discuss in our afterword, water, in common with all substances contains the life force, and it is this which, if supplied in a sufficient amount, can and does heal the body of a wide variety of diseases and disorders. Faith plays an important part too, for as H. P. Blavatsky tells us in Isis Unveiled: "With expectancy supplemented by faith, one can cure himself of almost any morbific condition. The tomb of a saint; a holy relic; a talisman; a bit of paper or a garment that has been handled by the supposed healer; a nostrum; a penance, or a ceremonial; the laying on of hands, or a few words impressively pronounced—either will do. It is a question of temperament, imagination, self-cure."
What about 'holy water' such as we find in churches? We hope we will thoroughly shock you when we say that mostly it is nothing but tap water! Holy water, if it be worthy of the name has to be prepared in a special way by one who knows how to do this. Very few occultists possess this knowledge, and even fewer among the clergy. Those who do may perform what the ignorant regard as miracles by the administration of such specially prepared water to the sick. Here you have one explanation of what the so-called 'Elixir' of Life really is, but there are other meanings attached to this term too.
We have often been asked if there is any virtue in the rite of baptism. The answer is that it depends upon how the rite is performed. To be effective as a cleanser of spiritual and moral contagion, baptism must be performed in running water, such as a stream or river and the person being baptised must be fully immersed. In addition, the baptiser must know the secret of how to expel the contagion within the person being baptised, and there are very few who do, either within the Church or outside it. But it is not much use undergoing baptism if days, weeks or months afterwards we return to our evil habits!
We have now learned that water is the first principle of all things. We have also learned that there are many different kinds of water, both from a physical and metaphysical point of view. We now know something of its hidden properties and virtues and how it may be employed to improve our health and well-being. But there remains a very great deal we do not know about water. We may be certain that when the time comes for us to leave this world, and if we should be so fortunate as to find ourselves in a higher realm, that we will be given the opportunity to learn just how great our ignorance of this most magical of substances is! Until then, we hope that this article and our afterword have given you some enjoyment and food for thought.
NOTE: If you have enjoyed this article, you may also like The Magic of Salt: an investigation of the esoteric meaning and hidden properties of salt.
© Copyright occult-mysteries.org. Article published 17 August 2016. Updated 5 April 2023.