I currently live in a small city; I prefer living in large cities, but many of the mechanics of living in a smaller one are essentially the same. When I fill my bath (on occasion, I do have a bath), the whole bathroom smells of chlorine, “city water”. Still, this water, though heavily treated, comes from a natural source.
In my kitchen, despite numerous attempts to have maintenance employees for my apartment complex here to fix it, has a dripping sink faucet. It drips, well, a lot. I also buy a lot of springwater cos I have a mild intolerance to ingesting fluoride, which makes the dripping faucet even more trying on any guilty feelings I had about it in the first place, since I’d rather not drink this water. It does, though, render me with an abundance of 1-gallon water jugs which has inspired me to put this dripping water to good use. Unlike a rural person, my water is not coming from a well and is not very easily recycled back into the earth (though, unlike what some oddly seem to prefer believing, it does get recycled).
Basically, I keep one jug positioned under the kitchen sink faucet to catch drip. When one jug is filled, I quickly place a new jug back under it and put the filled jug in the area with the rest of my water reserves. I use these reserves of water for many things around the apartment. Some of it, I clean with. I’ll fill up the cats’ water dishes with it. Water my plants with it. Use it in cooking. Fill my humidifiers in the winter. My room-mate drinks it, and in an emergency, I will, too. I prefer to use locally-bottled spring-water for rituals, as well, but this will do in a pinch, as well.
Though treated, I don’t believe that this treatment can remove the essential “essence” from the nymphai at its source. Some rural-inclined pagans I’ve spoken to seem to lean toward thinking so (though, I admit, this is a conclusion I’ve come to based on some round-about answers from them, when asked) or just stand mute on the subject, but I think that such thinking implies that humanity can be more powerful than these “lesser Goddesses” or terrestrial spirits/daimones, or whatever one prefers to think of the Nymphai as.
I don’t believe that there is anything that humanity can do to remove their divinity from that which is sacred to them, the Naiades, I believe, do not abandon this chlorinated, fluoridated water as it leaves the processing system and enters the city water system, I believe that perhaps they cannot more than simply don’t. It’s still freshwater from a freshwater source, and thus I believe that they still want it to go to a good use, so to honour them, I do what I can to put it to good use. If I just let it drip down the sink drain and let it recycle back into Ann Arbor’s water system, it would be like saying “sorry, Naiades, but I had no immediate use for this water, so I couldn’t be arsed to do anything with it! Better luck next time!” It would also be dishonest, as there are obviously many things that I can do with this water, so I save it for those things.
The more I think of it, the more I realise how considering my inclinations towards cities has enriched my reverence of the “natural” Theoi and daimones of the Hellenic pantheon. As I’ve said before in this blog, I don’t believe that human cities are more “unnatural” than rustic areas, no more so than a beehive or an ant colony, anyway. I believe that it’s all interconnected, and that they each benefit the other, in their own ways. If anything, this has made me realise how inherently Apollonian my practises are, as my beliefs in the context of being a city worshipper are about seeking a balance, a moderation if you will, between the human worlds on Gaia’s terrain. As much as I love the bustling metropoloi of this modern world, I’ve simply become more-conscious of how interconnected these worlds within this world are connected to the rustic worlds of this world. That’s such a beautiful thing to see.