Category: Awakened Lifestyles Written by Semele Xerri
Rivers and all water was sacred to the Celts. They knew water was the source of all life, so it was closely associated with the goddess, birth, and the gateway to the Otherworld.
It was appropriately honoured and appreciated as such. The current mass pollution of water happening worldwide couldn’t be further away from this natural philosophy. In the ancient Welsh story How Culhwch Won Olwen, the salmon (specifically the Salmon of Lyn Llyw) was sought out for advice on a vital quest because it was known as the oldest and wisest of all animals.
I wonder if this is because there was some ancient primal memory of our aquatic origins, or perhaps because our ancestors observed the salmon’s annual swim upstream against the current as a literal return to Source; the place of birth. These are my own conjectures of course.
With my love of all things Celtic, it’s not surprising I’ve been guided to work with rivers before, as described in my 2017 article Crafting ripples on the water. So when I heard that a local group had met to discuss the terrible and destructive pollution of my local great river Teifi, I knew immediately I wanted to get involved.
I live in a row of old mill cottages that has a small river, the Esgair, running in front of it which joins the Teifi a couple of miles further downstream. If you’re interested, you can read more about the Teifi and its route in this lovely article History and flow of the Teifi. In November last year, we were on our way out on a walk with Finn when we enjoyed a serendipitous meeting with a representative from the West Wales Rivers Trust. He was inspecting the Esgair with an eye to conserving and supporting wildlife and encouraging natural flood management, and spoke about the Trust’s intention to reduce the height of the weir to assist the salmon in making their upstream journey easier. A couple of years ago we had experienced problems with the force of the river eroding its banks considerably after prolonged heavy rainfall, so we’d got together with neighbours to reinforce them with rock cages. We were able to share all this with the Trust, along with extra information as observant and invested residents, and it was perfectly clear that what was good for the river and its wildlife was also helpful and protective for our homes nearby. Assist nature and you benefit yourself too; it really is that simple.
Meanwhile, let’s return to a week ago when my friend contacted me about a meeting she’d attended at which local people were voicing mounting concern over the pollution levels in the Teifi: see the newspaper article Mystery smell Cardigan sparks fresh sewage concerns). She currently lives near to me but is in the process of moving into a new home right on the banks of the estuary where the Teifi flows into the sea in Cardigan Bay. Her watery Scorpio sun couldn’t be happier about the new location, or more grief-stricken to learn of the danger to her beloved river. So I met with her and another healer/energy worker in her home on Sunday 9th October, where we tuned in to the spirit of the river to ask her what was going on and what she wanted us to do. It was heart-breaking to feel the level of suffering and pain she was in, at the same time as we all felt an incredible resilience and upswelling of indomitable lifeforce within her. As a result of that meeting, we were guided to organise a walk to the source of the Teifi up in the Cambrian mountains, to perform a ceremony of healing, blessing, gratitude, and honouring for the blessed Teifi. It’s planned for November 9th on my friend’s birthday (and the Sagittarius ascendant in me can’t help but notice the repetition of the number 9; as a triple three it’s a sacred number and often present in Irish and Welsh mythology).
To top everything off and to tie these two river stories together in the magical way that’s a frequent occurrence in my life, we heard the clanking and scraping of diggers early on Wednesday morning just gone. It was two days after our first Teifi meeting and almost exactly a year after that accidental encounter with the West Wales River Trust on the banks of the Esgair. A walk down the track confirmed that it was indeed the Trust at work, reducing the height of the weir and shoring up the river banks with stones and rocks! You can see the results in the photo top right; the weir was previously twice the height. The weir that had been put in place centuries ago to speed up the processing and production of wool at the mill opposite our cottage; to appease the insatiable greed of humankind for more and faster, perpetual growth at any cost and damn the consequences. Now doesn’t that sound like a certain PM you may know of?! Even with the low water level after the summer drought we could see that the speed of the flow was considerably slower, meaning the possibility of future erosion is now drastically reduced.
With the current Government’s free for all on dumping sewage, our rivers are becoming dangerously contaminated, choking on our filth. So if that distresses you as much as it does me, please reach out and connect with the rivers and streams near you. If you’re an energy/spiritual worker add in to your practice a conscious and regular thanking and blessing of your nearby water sources for all they give. Find out what the immediate problems are and ask what the waters require of you to help prevent further contamination and regenerate cleanliness, knowing that you will benefit just as much from any assistance you give. Contact your local River Trust to see if there are any projects you can contribute money, time or energy to, write to your MP about your concern over waste dumping, or at the very least sign this Dirty rivers petition (or a similar one) from the wonderful Good Law Project.
All the water we have on the planet now is the same water that’s been here since the beginning of life; it’s all we have. Water IS life; our own survival depends on sustaining it.
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