One of my best (and pagan!) friends from back in college was a fellow named Allen. After graduation, Allen eventually moved to San Francisco, and appears to be having a most excellent time, which makes sense because this move was essentially Allen returning to the Mothership. I don’t know if this is a San Francisco gay culture meme or not, but many of Allen’s friends constantly refer to people who sassily don’t care about a given person or situation as “Honey Badgers.” I believe it is in reference to this YouTube video:
Now why am I bringing up the bad ass honey badger in reference to water and the power to dare? Well, that honey badger does nothing but dare: if a honey badger wants bee larva, it doesn’t give a shit if it has to go into the bee hive and get stung like a hundred times; nothing can stop the honey badger when it’s hungry ’cause honey badger don’t care. Water don’t care either. If something happens and it’s got to redefine its barriers, it’s gonna. Floods don’t care if they mow down villages; water’s just tryin’ to find it’s own level. The ocean don’t care if its tsunamis wipe out half of Japan: it’s just moving its mass ’cause that mass has to go somewhere. Bodies of water move their own way and don’t take shit from no one or nothing. It responds to itself, and itself only. Water is fearless and fierce.
Returning to my typical diction, we can basically view the honey badger of water as a power that pushes around artificial barriers: that’s daring, the ability to be the pioneer who gets outside of the box. If we dare as water dares, we move beyond those cultural limits that tell us something is disgusting (like eating a snake) or wrong, and we can experience a heretofore unknown richness. Maybe that’s why we adore artists like Oscar Wilde, David Bowie, and Lady Gaga: they actively question and redefine things that seem like ‘hard barriers’, things like ‘gender’, ‘sexuality,’ ‘performance’, ‘reality.’ I think we all can agree that the world becomes better when these surreal artists force everyone else to question the permanence of their quiet little definitions and limits.
This force, this daring, that is water. That’s probably why it rules all the things that allow us to imagine our limits away, things like our dreams and visions and our empathy and compassion. It allows us to cycle between polarities and find a spectrum, so it’s also that element which rules cycles and lunar mysteries. No wonder we consider counselors, story tellers, social workers, narrative creators, and psychics as having water occupations: things that require a sensitivity to the multifaceted human experience need water’s daring.
But I suppose even daring has its limits: with too much left undefined, it is hard for others to relate to you. Therefore an excess of water energy can cause sadness, depression, brooding, fixations upon the past, emotional hyperbolism, and an inappropriate excess of empathy.
Roderick asks us to think about our own relationship to water by responding to these questions:
- In what ways do you feel you are connected to the power to dare?
- In what ways do you feel disconnected from the power to dare?
- Have the outward qualities of water been an important part of your life? Your culture? Your upbringing?
- What part does daring play in your life today?
You know, I think I’m far more disconnected to daring than I am connected. In theory, my profession at least should bring me some power to dare because cultural critics are all about deconstructing barriers and uncovering innovations and transgressions. Studying something no one has ever studied before is, in itself, a daring proposition for you necessarily change the previously known boundaries. But academia has its own clearly defined boundaries and containment boxes, and you must be skilled at negotiating them in order to succeed.
Moreover, my core personality is one that really honors strong delineations. I like having places for everything and putting everything in its place. I go ballistic when people change furniture around and are content to let things sit in awkward positions just for the sake of change. (Probably the one thing that most perplexed me about my friend Johnathan was his need to rearrange all the furniture in his bedroom at least once a season…if not move rooms altogether!) I live a pretty quiet, domestic life with fairly little upset. I don’t even like to be impolite: I care that others would freak out if I dared to eat a snake like the honey badger! Maybe I inherited this from my upbringing; after all, I recall that I was quite the innovative little hellion as a child, but that my parents eventually succeeded in feminizing my actions and reactions.
On the downside, changing up my life’s little boxes is really hard. It would probably take the cosmic equivalent of a tsunami to get me to ask someone on a date. I don’t even seriously consider moving away from my house because it ‘fits’ me just fine. And don’t even get me started with the lack of daring professionally: I’m scared as heck to even begin thinking about dissertating and taking that first DARE step. Never mind that I’m pretty much emotionally stunted. (Emotions are for the inefficient!)
I’ve got some steps to take, I believe.
Practice: Rebalancing Daring
When you notice that you are too emotional, dreamy, and lacking in boundaries, take time to practice this grounding exercise. Go to a place in nature where you can find water. If this is impossible, fill up the bathtub or sink with water. Place your hands lightly on the surface of the water. As you do this, exhale onto the water. Close your eyes and imagine that a blue field of energy leaves your body through your hands and out through your breath. Now imagine that it enters the water on which your hands are placed. Continue with this process until you feel calm and emotionally centered.
Well, this sure isn’t my water imbalance, but I can see how it could go both ways. Instead of imagining that the energy left my body, I could imagine it going into my body. It might be worth trying someday.