Living Water

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What is water? We study the hydrologic cycle and know that water is made up of two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen. It is described as a substance that moves in circles - it goes from the ocean and evaporates into the air, becomes rain, falls to the land, and follows earth’s contours in the form of a stream or river to ultimately return to the ocean. We also understand it as an engineering feat such as the impressive dams built across the world to enable our industrial progress or a wastewater treatment plant, how you treat water and the chemicals you use. Or water in terms of, say the Great Lakes, about how polluted it is and what kind of diseases come about. So, scientifically, we know and understand what water is and how we use it, but do we really understand its life-giving distinction?

Water is vital to our survival; all life is totally dependent upon it. People have cured themselves of diseases just by drinking good water. But it is the difference between water that is alive and water that is dead that differentiates a discussion about good water. In using the Drop-Picture Method, we can diagnose water quality and discern this difference.
“The Drop Picture Method reveals a qualitative correlation between water movement and water quality. Water presents an integrative expression of its behavior through movement; the minutest changes in quality register as a change in flow pattern. By photographing movement-forms of a given water sample, the Drop Picture Method provides a direct and replicable image of water quality.”
The Water Research Institute of Blue Hill


Water has a predictable pattern of movement which gives rise to form. This archetypal movement may be found in all flowing media - the galaxies and stars of the universe, the spiral of our double helix DNA, and the flowing, twisting weather patterns that cross our planet. It is repeated and revealed all around us from the micro to macro. Along with the life sustaining molecular properties of water, it is this motion that brings life forward. Amazing.

At a micro level, water seeks to maintain a rhythmical balance between the spherical form and the pull of gravity. It is at this edge of shaping the circle and the directional force of gravity that results in a spiraling form -- the spiral of a river current or the structure of a bone or the walls of our heart. As the spirals occur in differences of speed, a vortex forms. It is in the vortex, the archetypal movement of water, that all life flows and the formative principles of living matter are produced.

So, how does the H20 molecule work so that life is totally dependent on it? A chemist might say that water is two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. That's water. And that is one answer but not the whole picture. Water never moves in a straight line. It is subtle, complex, alive and life-giving and has movement, flowing with a rhythm, always finding a vortex. It is the most flexible molecule in the universe. Every time you put water in a straight line like in a pipe, it deteriorates. In a buried pipe, without sunlight and going in a straight line, it is much more inclined to develop pollutants along the way and those H2O molecules lose some flexibility.

When water can flow more freely, it resists pollution better. It stays cooler, cleaner, with more air and more dynamism, and fish breed in it better. We're only beginning to understand how complex the connections are. In a piece of research, they had never measured what a healthy heart is like until technology made it possible in the early 1990s and they found that a very healthy heart beats irregularly. In fact, if your heart is getting weaker it beats more regularly. There's a sort of biodynamic irregularity.

If you look at a photograph of living water, it has this very dynamic irregularity. It looks like it is moving in the same direction, but it's full of differences. When the water is dead, it has none of that. There's no action there. Living water is the miracle of life! It is the generative miracle.

“So, what does it mean to understand source? When I drank that water, I felt my own molecules expand. It was like they’d been thirsty. I could feel that. So I started telling the local people about my interest in sacred water sites. And they said, well, you should go two miles down there. That water is good for your heart. If you go over there, that water is good for your kidneys. But you should never drink the water up that way. And only wash in this water. I did go to some of the places they told me about and they were phenomenal!

“My parents had a house on a pristine lake in New Hampshire. You just dive in and you’re refreshed. We drank our water from an artesian well. And now it’s deteriorating. The area is getting too built up. Since I was a kid, I’ve been really interested in the miracle of life. I love watching the clouds lying on my back. As a child, I did that forever. Or making things out of sticks and flowers. My father loved walking up valleys along rivers to the headwaters. That’s just such a great thing to do!

“The headwaters of the Yangtze River, where water pours out of a glacier, is like a giant Mother Earth showing her belly. You’re at 17,500 feet in permafrost. To the eye, it’s a wasteland. But it’s the earth pouring forth her waters. That water nurtures probably 2 billion people. Watching that thing that happens at the edge where water and earth meet, whether it’s a salt marsh or a freshwater situation. Watching that interaction between water, earth and plants is so wonderful. We’ve gone and paved these places, mercilessly. That’s what the Army Corps of Engineers does. We pave it.

“Now we’ve gotten so removed that urban populations think they have the right to live off water supplies hundreds of miles away that nourish huge, other ecosystems. Or we think we have the right to extract their water and bottle it and sell it somewhere else. It’s so weird-headed. But how do you communicate this to people?”    Betsy Damon

We have disconnected our hearts from the pulse of life. We have to reconnect it again in order to make the right choices. One wrong choice leads to another one which leads to another one. Living water must always be our choice, our only choice.




“Whether we speak of streaming water or moving air, of the formation of organs or the movements of the human form, of speech, of eurythmy or of the regulating movements of the stars, it is all one: the archetypal gesture of the cosmic alphabet, the word of the universe, which uses the element of movement in order to bring forth nature and man.”

Theodor Schwenk



Resources for this article:
Works and Conversations, An interview with Betsy Damon by Richard Whittaker, December 25, 2009

Sensitive Chaos: The creation of Flowing Forms in Water and Air by Theodor Schwenk

The Water Research Institute of Blue Hill, Jennifer Greene, Founder and Director