Encountering the dry or nearly-dry well of inspiration, imagination, creativity, or passion confronts every artist (of any medium) from time to time. The bucket, pouch, or jar that you’ve dipped into the deep waters of psyche and emotional connection is not bringing much liquid back up. Perhaps, you’ve been traipsing to the well a lot, lugging several jars and intending to fill them all at once. Now, unsurprisingly, the flow seems markedly reduced. Belatedly, you realize you may have been lacking in gratitude, or were in an attitude of projected scarcity.
Or perhaps, conversely, the amount of water drawn up is sufficient, but now brackish, as if your personal sorrows or worries have seeped past your cheeks and through the soils to rest uncomfortably in the clean clear waters of the Muses. Or, as in my case, I hadn’t been the best steward of the creeks and streams that feed the particular well I draw upon. I also became worried that I might not even remember how to find their winding courses again to help clear the flow.
The past few months, I have worked to clear the creeks and streams that I rely on for my well. The particular streams I’ve been tending are my own lymphatic system (which had started to become a bit marshy); sending creek-like tendrils (because still forming) connections toward other scholars in the mythology and goddess studies fields in hopes of joining a larger waterway; learning yin yoga where I am discovering how to physically allow my energies to gather, pool, and restore like widening eddies; trying to offer mental stillness back to the collective well by practicing meditation–calming and clearing my churning mind in order to offer silence and trust back to Self; noticing where I have become like a rock and observing if I am being molded into becoming a container for cool refreshing inspiration, or merely molding part of myself into an obstinate dam.
In a more literal sense, I’ve started actively praising the waters in and around my life: the rains, the rivers, the seasonal springs, the morning dews, the pregnant grey clouds, the sap in trees, the blood in me, the juiciness of happiness, the moistness of concern, and the welcome release of having a good cry. Some of this might seem silly or inconsequential. That might be true. But our waters, both literal and metaphoric, are in need of tending.
As a country and as part of the greater world, we face drought and floods in more severity. Our balance is drastically askew, internally and externally. We pour dehydrating beverages down our throats one right after another and have bought into the idea of “buying” the water we drink. Polluting rivers or streams is still a common practice for too many corporations. Our relations to Nature and her Muses are still often tenuous, because they require respect, reverence and keen observation coupled with a deep understanding that the waters of Life sustain us literally and artistically. The people who become river-keepers, ocean stewards, creek-tenders, and well-watchers serve as a growing awareness that Water is Life and She keeps all of us.
It can be overwhelming and scary for me to dwell on the enormity of water issues in our world. But doing that alone separates me from noticing the miracles of rain, intuition, rivers, imagination, and oceans. Cultures around the world have sung the praises to goddesses of waters and wells, inspiration and passion. Being part of that extraordinarily ancient tradition helps fill me up with hope, with gratitude, and with the knowledge that She of the Waters is great and mighty and deserves my reverence.
Cleaning up my own streams and recognizing the majesty of water goddesses everywhere could be called a homeopathic practice, i.e. like to like cures. Or it could simply be called worship, a practice of filling up the wells.