Not far from where I live is a beautiful nature preserve. The trail follows the creek, leading you past small falls and incredibly serene pools where fishermen spend their time. Along the paths, you encounter great rocks that have been moved over time by the water. This is a landscape dominated by water and stone. Eventually, you reach the source, a great falls of incredibly cold, clear water. Beyond that, there is mystery.
I’ve hiked here several times in the past months, alone and with others. On my last trip, I tried my hand at witching water.
My first attempt at witching water last summer was entirely unsuccessful. I was told it was an innate talent — something that you either could do or couldn’t. I watched another do it with ease. The instructions were easy: find a Y-shaped branch from a tree, hold both ends, and walk up and down a path; when there is water, the branch will bend downwards. I took branch into my hands and waited to see if it would move for me as I passed over areas with water underground.
I felt nothing.
I was not one of the lucky ones gifted with this magic. It felt as if the universe had turned its back on me.
There, along the winding path towards the falls, I gave it another try. There was part of me so desperate for the magic of witching water, and another part of me so sure I could do it, even though I had failed before. So I took another Y-shaped tree branch into my hands and began to walk.
There was nothing at first, not even passing over the tiny streams from rain runoff that made their way down to the creek.
Something then shifted: me.
As I walked, I connected to the water. I felt the water in my body, the water in all of my cells. I imagined a whirlpool of water circling down my right arm, through the branch I held, up my left arm, and across my chest, returning to its origin to repeat its path.
Suddenly, I was witching water.
The sensation was incredibly powerful. I held onto the branch tightly, wrists straight, and it kept bending, down, towards the earth, towards the unseen water underground.
It was then I understood the incredible power we have, and how easily a simple shift can unlock that potential.
And what amazing magic exists in this world.