Water is apo-dhatu in Pali–Buddha’s language. Water is the external form of our inner selves. One drop of water into a body of water spirals out to everything and everyone. The rivers that we are lead to the one ocean of life.
We go to the waters to gather strength during troubled times, to make peace, to heal our inner fire, or to re-introduce ourselves to the expansiveness of our lives. We go to the water to pray or to simply play in the waves pushing back and forth. In essence we make journeys to the ocean, seas, rivers, waterfalls, streams, lakes, creeks, or hot springs to feel the peace of water, to hear the voices. We listen to water songs. We journey to water to reacquaint ourselves with the experience of fluidity when things in our lives appear stuck. We return again and again to the water that we are mostly composed of and fiercely related to.
Great Mother came before Mother Earth. Great Mother of Water is the spirit of water. The word “Great” honors all that water gives and has given living beings. Great Mother is the essence of the feminine divine because Great Mother spirit has given birth to all that we experience. Feminine divine is not necessarily that which is female, just as masculine is not necessarily male. Feminine divine is difficult to define, as it is an ever-evolving energy within all things on Earth. That which has been labeled feminine in our culture has been limited and often left empty of spirit and divine purpose. Feminine divine and therefore Great Mother of Water is everything that has been given birth and nurtured. Great Mother is everything all that has been brought into existence, manifested, and created, from unseen natural forces of nature.
At the water we might call out a pray. We might make an offering and call out one of the many names of the Great Mother. In African spiritual traditions she is called Nut or Isis in Egypt, Maam Coumba Lamba Ndoye in Senegal (Lebu), Mami Wata or Naété in Benin and Togo (Fon/Popo), or Yemoja in Nigeria(Yoruba/Ifa) in relations to Olokun (Ifa). Her daughters, who are often united with the Mother, are Hathor in Egypt, Ndiare in Senegal, Afrekete in Benin and Togo, and Oshun in Nigeria (Ifa). In Igbo there is Idemili, Ogbuide, Urashi, Ava. In Japan there is Suijin. In ancient India you might hear of Nagini. In the Shinto tradition there is Benzaiten. Or maybe you know Poseidon, Neptune, Pan, or the Nymphs.
What a fine mirror the Great Mother is, as she reflects all of us from everywhere, within and without. There is no better Dharma.