(Originally appearing in The Second Road)
Many pagans and mystics work with the four elements in their rituals. They are called upon to aid spells, along with totems, deities, angels and spirits of the quarters. On the altar are symbols of each element, perhaps a stone for earth, a candle for fire, incense for air and a chalice for water. Each symbol is a “home” for the elemental, the element’s physical presence in the circle.
We work closely with these beings, making a home for them in ritual, but not often inviting them into our home. To balance and blend our lives with these four powers and the aspects they rule over, we should make an effort to include them into our home.
My family has recently invited the element of water to be more present in our home, by creating a water fountain. We invite the water spirits to join us on a daily basis. As the fountain runs we invite the powers of emotion, love, peace and healing into our lives. The sound of it is so soothing and really promotes a sense of wellness and serenity. They have gained a popularity in commercial stores, where you can buy them. Or you can make them yourself. Making a fountain isn’t as hard as it looks.
Start with the proper vessel. It must be waterproof, obviously. It must also be deep enough to house the small pump that will go inside. It can be a deep dish, bowl, jar or a really wide mouthed vase. The opening must have enough room to set your landscape and let the water flow. I’ve had some luck at various home goods stores, but have to admit finding a container you like is the most difficult step to the process. I have a friend who’s a potter, and perhaps I’ll be hitting her up soon to make a vessel for me. I found some nice planting pots that I’ve liked, but they have holes in the bottom. If you find one you really like, you can always feel free to seal the hole with plaster of paris or an epoxy of some sort. Consult your local hardware store.
Once you have the vessel, the next step is the pump. I use a small aquarium pump. People have had problems finding the right size pump, since smaller is better. I use the Aquarium Systems MN404. You can get them at a good pet-supply shop. Be careful of items that just pump air into the aquarium. You need a water pump.
Place the pump at the bottom of the container. If it has settings, choose the lowest one. Rest the power cord out the side that will be the back of the fountain. Make sure it works, because you will be very upset if you finish and your pump is defective. The pump will usually have a place for the tube to come out. If it didn’t come with one, or it’s very short, you can obtain plastic tubing from a hardware store. Bring the pump so you know it fits. I’ve cut a v-shaped notch from the other end of the plastic tube, to keep the water from splashing to much on the surface.
Next is the fun part. Have some stones gathered to put in the fountain. They can be polished or rough crystals, river stones, beach stones or ones you’ve found in your back yard. It doesn’t matter. Stay away from rust colored stones that have iron oxide in them. You don’t want stones with a high iron content. They will color the water a rusty brown. But other than that, anything goes. Fill the bowl halfway with stones, to set the pump in place. Begin to curve the tube up so it will be sticking out of the surface and can be arranged to splash water through the rocks. Keep filling with the stones. I’ve used crystals at the top of mine, along with some shards of slate, to give the water a nice surface to roll off of. Place your special stones on top, the ones you will be seeing everyday. New crystals can be purified by placing them into the fountain. You can have the tube come up and over one of the stones, or sticking out enough to shoot up and cause some bubbling. If the water is too forceful, place a stone in front of the water jet to break it up, or cut a wider V notch in the tube to cut down the water pressure.
For the last touch I added some other life to the fountain. I took cuttings from my ivy plant and let them grow in the fountain. They are doing quite well. I imagine this technique works for any house plant that you can take cuttings from. You just have to remember to add a few drops of liquid fertilizer every few months. The plants are optional, but I think they are a nice addition to both the fountain and the home. And remember to add water to the fountain once a week, because it will evaporate quickly.
Have a little welcoming ceremony for your water spirits, nymphs and sprites and plug in the fountain. Enjoy its soothing sounds as your elementals enjoy their new home.