Water has many meanings. It is one of the 4 main elements, to which the qualities of emotion, intuition, and adaptability were traditionally attributed. It is also associated with femininity, passivity, and humidity.
In alchemy, the element is associated with the number 2 because it symbolizes the polarities in antithesis to the unity which is instead symbolized by Fire. It is also one of the 4 elements into which the Zodiac is divided which in fact includes water signs, air signs, fire signs, and earth signs. Its liquid state allows it to creep everywhere and take on the shapes of others, creating bridges between spirit and matter.
Water is also associated with birth because it gives life, as happens during gestation when we are immersed in water for 9 months. However, it also has a negative meaning linked to death although the latter, as can be seen from the various traditions, always precedes rebirth.
On the other hand, pregnancy itself is a passage from death to life because life in the womb in a fetal condition dies when the baby comes out of the belly, becoming in effect a human being. In many cultures of antiquity, water was considered the source of life, a feminine cosmic principle, but also Mother as the generator of life.
In ancient Greece, it was said that all seas, rivers, sources, lakes were born from the Ocean, the sheet of Uranus and Gaea. In the myth of Narcissus, water was a mirror that allowed us to discover ourselves, it was Narcissus’ mistake to fossilize in his own image, betraying its positive purpose. And what about water as an element through which future events can be predicted? Many prophecies were in fact revealed through the reading of water.
Water is amazing, but which deities are connected with water? Let’s find out!
4 Poweful Deities That are Associated with Water
Chalchiuhtlique and Tlaloc, gods of the rains
We start with Chalchiuhtlique. Having trouble pronouncing her name? Don’t worry, because this water goddess was also called Acuecucyoticohuati. An important deity for Aztec culture, she rules all waters, from small mountain streams to the vast oceans that cover the world.
Very revered, she is part of the group of gods of the Rain that populate the Aztec Olympus and indeed some texts describe her as the wife of the powerful Tlaloc, the supreme god of the Rain.
Not directly associated with the sea, she had control over the waters and that is why she was feared by the Aztecs. Terrible, she can cause floods and droughts and numerous human sacrifices were offered to appease her. A hateful sacrifice to Tlaloc was that of the children, who were drowned in his honor. They both have eerie appearances with hollow eyes, blue skin, and a large mouth from which two strong fangs protrude.
Unlike Tlaloc, the unpronounceable Chalchiuhtlique did not demand human sacrifices; instead, during the five annual festivals dedicated to her, the austere Aztec priests plunged into the waters of a lake and hopped like frogs, also making the verse. Why? To win the sympathy of the goddess, of course, and promote fertility. It would have been fun to see them.
Poseidon, God of Waters and the Sea
The ancient Greeks were great navigators and the most famous god of the sea in popular culture is certainly Poseidon. Yet, the origin of this god seems to have nothing to do with the sea. In fact, it seems that the first Greek populations lived in the hinterland and it is hypothesized that at that time Poseidon was simply God of the Waters.
This would also explain the bizarre association between Poseidon and two animals sacred to him that can hardly be imagined wallowing in the waves: the bull and the horse. With the colonization of the coasts, then, the God of the Waters finally became the God of the Sea, accompanied by a myriad of marine mythological figures.
Among these, there is also the famous Triton, a sort of mermaid, half-man, and half-fish.
Neptune and Nethuns
Like most of the Latin gods, Neptune is the Roman equivalent of the Greek Poseidon. The Ancient Romans managed to conquer all the coasts surrounding the Mediterranean, so much so that they called it Mare Nostrum, but the sea never represented an identifying element of the Roman people.
Unlike the Greeks and Phoenicians, in fact, the Latins rooted their culture to the earth. It was also for this reason that Neptune never had the same importance as the Hellenic Poseidon. However, there is a very intriguing aspect in him, capable of making him very fascinating: the name. Neptune, in fact, derives from the ancient and dark god of the mysterious Etruscans: Nethuns.
Even more than the Romans, the Etruscans were a people of Earth, and their Nethuns before becoming a god of the Seas was the divinity of the wells. Wells in many cultures represent a mystical place: dark and deep, they slip into the heart of the earth to bring water.
Important for life, they were part of the daily landscape of every house and village, but they also represented the mystery, the abyss, the unknown, darkness, and death.
Subsequently, Nethuns was associated with the sea and its iconography will become completely analogous to Poseidon: on a 200 BC coin found in Vetulonia, for example, there is his crowned profile (without beard) accompanied by two dolphins and the classic trident. The beauty of the Etruscan Nethuns, however, remains in the bottom of the wells, of which it still preserves the charm and mystery.
Yam, the god of the sea
The sea is disordered and destructive and, in many cultures, the primordial chaos starts right from the water. This is why Yam, the god of the sea of the Phoenicians (and of the Canaanites in general), has many negative and evil aspects: to him, we owe the deadly storms and the destruction of the waves. God of Primordial Chaos, is associated in some way with the serpent Tiamat of the Babylonians.
Due to his destructive nature, the other gods drove him from Mount Sappan, the Olympus of the Canaanite deities, and Yam retired to a palace in the dark abyssal depths. The Phoenicians owed their fortune to the sea, so it is astonishing that the divinity of the Sea was associated with chaos and disaster.
But this is more understandable if we think of Yam’s great enemy: Baal. Lord of storms, he is the most important deity of the Canaanite religion. Ordinator and beneficiary, he fought against Yam for the title of Lord of the Gods. In short, the sea represented the disorder to be dominated.
How powerful and mysterious are the deities associated with water? If you are connected with the water elements and you would like to strengthen this connection, even more, using deities for special guidance, choose the deities you feel the most connected to and start from there for a wider, deeper journey of personal and spiritual growth.