I put myself out there this weekend just past, and set up my handmade wares under an aqua canopy, on the Salem Commons, for the Haunted Happenings Marketplace 2023. It was nerve wrecking to say the least. I've never done anything like it, so I had no idea what to expect. We're entering the height of tourist season here in Salem after all, and that can be a lot - people from all over the world, and all walks of life, converging on our small city to celebrate autumn, the spooky season, and whatever else it is that moves them.
Part of me realised that I cater to a rather niche segment of witchcraft. That is, after all, what moved me to start The Sea Wych Salem. Simply put, there are no other stores like it here - online or off. With that in the back of my mind, I honestly didn't expect much traffic. I was, at least on that score, very pleasantly surprised. I saw quite a lot of traffic. More surprising though was the question that I got over and over again - what is a Sea Witch? Part of me just didn't expect people who weren't practising or at least attuned, to take much interest otherwise.
How do you even begin to explain that? I found myself fumbling, at a loss for words to adequately, accurately, and succinctly convey what that is. After all, it isn't Wicca which is, in fact, a recognised religion, nor is it Asatru, Druidism, Voudou... you get the point. Moreover, when you get a group of sea and water witches together in a room, you'll also find that no two witches practise alike, and that difference grows exponentially when you start to factor in practitioners from different parts of the world, working with different oceans or inland waters. Really, it seems that beside some very basic agreements, such as tidal energies (which transcend the waters and can be felt in every element and season) and the ideas that sea and water witchcraft really and truly honour all of the elements, as well as lunar and solar energies and phases, not one of us practises alike.
Some believe in spirits, sprites, deities, and mythical beings of the sea. Others, like myself, are non-theist altogether. I don't even gender the ocean or water. Sometimes it is feminine, sometimes masculine, but most of the time, it simply is. It is an element, the lifegiver to this planet and all of the creatures that inhabit it (land, sea, and air). My practise does not look like yours, and yours likely doesn't look like mine, but that doesn't make me or you better or worse, more correct, or wrong.
So, I tried as best I could to convey the idea that elemental magic in general looks very different from more organised practises such as Wicca or Asatru, and tends to be personal to the practitioner, while at the same time noting reverence and use of tidal energies, different waters for different intentions and working, and so on. I will have to think more on this before next Monday comes, as I'm sure I'll be answering this question again, but I'd love to hear how you would answer. What would you say to someone who wants to know what a sea or water witch, and what sea or water witchcraft actually is?