It’s pretty clear that for me one of the most important transformative rituals involves water, specifically the sea. And no wonder; the Greeks have believed wholeheartedly in the benefits of bathing in the sea for centuries. From ancient cleansing rituals and Aphrodite’s emergence from the sea, to Hippocrates’ first use of the term “thalassotherapy”, the ancients knew intuitively what we now know to be fact. Regular bathing in seawater has countless physical, aesthetic and therapeutic benefits.
Rituals in Transformation: Water
For one, seawater, with its abundance of minerals and trace minerals, is almost identical in composition to human plasma. It is therefore readily absorbed by the body, a discovery that has even lead to the development of therapies for it’s safe introduction directly into the bloodstream. Scientists believe that even a single deficiency of a trace mineral in the blood can lead to a multitude of disease symptoms; dangerous yes, but easily treated. Yet more evidence that the human body, in its natural state, has the ability to heal itself.
So how do we, mere mortals, extract benefit from this gift of the gods? And a gift truly, for what is more sublime than the weightless sensation and salty embrace of a sparkling clear, warm sea? Muscles are stretched and soothed, the skin is hydrated and healed, circulation is improved and tension on the joints and spine are eliminated. The immune system is strengthened, nasal and sinus cavities cleared, and allergic diseases, along with their symptoms, are eased.
I should also mention here, that the benefits on the mind and spirit are just as plentiful. The senses are soothed by the sound of the waves, the soft breeze, the gorgeous azure hues, the silky sensation of water caressing the skin. My mind clears completely as I surrender my body to the support of the sea. Three years ago, in the grip of despair, I would submerge myself completely to soothe my spirit, allowing my cares, along with my physical stresses, to float away. I experienced so much healing that summer, and every summer since, each swim taking me deeper within myself, reconnecting me with Spirit, and making me whole.
The waters here in Greece, and especially in our little villages around Monemvasia, are therapeutic in every sense. They are clean and clear, free from pollutants, and plentiful in cooling currents of freshwater from the mountains. But perhaps it is the solitude here that most compliments any efforts at transformation. There is peace here, and therefore peaceful abiding, making this ritual a truly multi-sensory experience. Join me next year and experience these healing waters for yourself.