I Am Haunted By Waters

“An indicible arcanum is one that is impossible to reveal. Crowley spelt out that particular tautology in Liber 777: one cannot express the inexpressible or say the unsayable… What is seen in the coils of the serpent, in the caverns of the noumenal, is literally, unspeakable. If there are apparent exceptions – books subsisting in potentia within the unmanifested – then the mind must be prepared to grasp that which has not been seen, the evanescent impressions of a glance in a dream”

– Scales of the Serpent: What is seen in the mirror is not in the mirror: Edward Gauntlett [1]


I am haunted by waters. I never seem to be truly at ease with the world unless there is a body of water within my vicinity. Maybe there is too much earth in me and I crave the wetness. Perhaps my love of swimming is borne of my desire to retreat or to be immersed. Sailing into the dark. It was approaching the dog days of summer, and the surface of the river appeared to have been enamelled in delicate strokes of blue and gold. I ditched my belonging under a tree and skidded down the bank, towards the beckoning waters, not stopping for a moment to think, streaking my thighs with rich, gritty mud. I lowered myself into the water, my feet sinking deep into the clay, sighing with elation as I pushed off with one smooth movement, carving the water in front of me. “By her spells she invoked the Scarab, the Lord Kheph-Ra, so that the waters were cloven and the illusion of the towers was destroyed[2]”. It enveloped me softly, caressing me coolly, eddying in the wake of my soft strokes until I reached the middle.

Here, the fierce sun beating down from above, I closed my eyes and let myself drift. Those weightless moments, my eyelids shimmering orange from the sunlight overhead, were drawn out as soft ripples lapped at the sides of my face and exposed breasts. The coolness was a welcome companion and seemed to ease the aching in more than just my limbs and provided a temporary relief from the oppressive summer heat. “When it hurts”, wrote the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, “we return to the banks of certain rivers”, and I took comfort in his words, for there are rivers and waterways I’ve returned to over and again, in sickness and in health, in grief and in happiness, in desolation and in joy. Twin crows clashed overhead in a frenzy of shriek and plummet, bringing me sharply out of my reverie as I feared I had been caught, and imagined the frantic swim back to the bank to don my clothes. Shoals of swimming stars littered my vision as my eyes adjusted to the brightness and my surroundings, making the world seem unstable, an illusion flaring up out of the glittering shards spearing my retinas. I was indeed alone, only the damselflies flitting and circling about me, their wings of powered blackened-blue shining as iridescently as the scales of the serpent.

Lady Relic of Vast Antiquity

Stories of shapeshifting water spirits, under a variety of names, were common to all Germanic peoples. The word ‘Knucker’ comes from the Old English ‘nicor’ which means “water monster” and is used in the local dialect of Sussex to mean water wyrm/dragon. This is a typical case of oral tradition continuing and local versions of old names, as popular awareness of their supernatural denizens faded, transmuted to more familiar similar words. Knuckers are only found in Sūþseaxna rice, the Kingdom of the South Saxons. Sussex was the last Anglo-Saxon kingdom to be Christianised and subsequently has a centuries-old reputation for being separate and culturally distinct from the rest of England. Until fairly recent times the county has been relatively isolated due to the sea to the south, the forest and sticky clays of the Weald to the north and coastal marshes to the east and west. The Germanic culture of the South Saxons remained much more intact than that of the rest of England. The lairs of these watery serpents, are small, round, bottomless, perpetually cold-water-brimming ponds called Knuckerholes and they dot the Sussex landscape. Immensely deep, and considered bottomless, these pools are fed by strong underground springs. As no one could explain the numerous disappearances of those who entered these ponds, substantiate the similarities in stories from various locations across Sussex or understand why these holes remained at a constant level, it was said that they were linked to each other by hypogean channels.

Hypogean channels, labyrinths of aquatic tunnels and waterways, subterranean rivers and deep springs have echoed through my dreams for as long as I can remember and in fact flashes of remembered vision and dream memories would dictate my words, forms and movements as I danced in an eddying dream state – not quite asleep, not quite awake, caught in the neither-neither – that very night. By utilising the power of dreaming and the process of creative fantasy, through trance work and the focusing of our attention, we can access deeper, wider, and less apparent components within consciousness. My plan for the day was to have carried out a simple recce for a rite which was to be performed here once darkness had descended, but here I was laying about in wonderfully cool water, in the middle of nowhere after what had meant to have been just over an hours’ walk, that had turned into two and a half of missed turns and backtracking, crow caw and Orthopteran stridulation under a savage sun. The waters around me shifted and I sent my mind down beneath them in fanciful imaginings in search for these serpentine beasts.

On returning to the spot just before the sun set sun, the surface has lost its jewel and had been set alight in molten ripples, flecked with purple and gold. It was blessedly cool on the bank and I had found a spot where I could sit and peer into the waters, without fear of slipping in within the next few hours. Usually upon these banks I cannot help but think of the River Styx, or any other river that separates the Land of the Living from the Land of the Dead. However, that evening as the sun approached its final leg of the journey, a solitary cawing crow whirling above, the river seems more like the river Cocytus; The River of Lamentation, where the unburied are said to wander for a hundred years. It had been a very long time since the Spirits of these waters have been remembered, let alone had offerings and petitions cast upon their currents; but here a lone Witch, the solitary priestess, a dreaming woman performing in her twilight state, approached these waters with reverence, ‘Her feet go down to death and her steps lead into Hades’[3] I lay back on the bank, waiting for darkness to cast it’s cover of secrecy, listening the sounds of late summer evening, the breeze stirred the trees and I could hear a soft splashing near the water’s edge, perhaps frogs or toads. As I let my gaze wander I caught by the fact that, from the position I was laying in, the sun was sinking slowly between my thighs “…the towers of the dayside tarot path of The Moon have transmogrified into the spread legs of the priestess grown into twisted mangroves guarding the gate of the Black Abyss”[4] As I was about to close my eyes to while away the time and relax down into the moment, my suspicions were confirmed by a large Natterjack Toad padding down beside my head. He looked up at me and seemed to cock his head inquisitively, our glance meeting momentarily, before he hopped back off and into the water. Dark widening rings where sent across the surface, giving the impression of subterranean tunnels beneath the blackened waters, lacquered with licks of slug slime. The secret pathways[5] here show themselves as hypogean channels infested with iridescently scaled Knuckers, and within which reside prophetic dreams and artistic visions. The dark waters were to be my Magic Mirror this evening; “the magic mirror is the sole item of equipment in the lunar temple when Qulielfi is evoked”[6]; the temple in which we are given the power to enter the “storehouse of dreams”[7]. Her sigil was traced in silver upon a shell, and the invocation began to the accompaniment of the raspy call of my new amphibious friend.

"She Sees" Giselle Bolotin


The hair rises over her body, her skin tingling, as she feels those familiar eyes upon her. Old eyes. Eyes that stare from the unfathomable watery chasm beneath the earth, from whence the primordial waters flow, piercing to her very core. Eyes you cannot hide from once you have revealed yourself. The air thickens still, murmuring is heard, and dark figures meander in her peripheral vision. Swiftly flickering. Entrancing. Beckoning. She waits. She listens. As she felt herself growing ever closer to the borderlands of sleep, the tempest’s storm within her head swirled with a red hot heat, beads of sweat trickled down the small of her naked back, regardless of the ever increasing chill of the night.

The river had turned to swamp, the atmosphere heavy, the ground spongy beneath her feet. The sun-dried bank, now all moss and tendril. A large toad-shaped woman sits squatting beside the waters; grotesque in form, her large pendulous breasts touching the ground. The approach is one of caution and reverence, her demeanour demands nothing less. Her warm slimy tongue snakes against bare skin as the woman is devoured whole. Suffocating. Confined. All is in total blackness.  

Dim stars appear one by one, a vast inner-space spreading out as far as the eye can see; dizzying and sickening in its proportions. Distant galaxies and clusters of stars whirl in the vast expanse. Only one was brighter than the others, more of an insipid glow. The glow grows brighter as it travels in the star-strewn darkness, and soon one realises it is but a tunnel, the end drawing ever closer.

Rebirthed from the amphibious mother-whore’s enlarged vulva, slivering slime-coated and naked; pale breasts taut, nipples standing like fingers pointing blasphemously at the heavens the woman becomes conjoined with the shadow itself, she gazes into the obsidian blackness of the waters stretching out before her only to see the stars reflected from above… Turn your eyes now towards the stars!

“We are like the spider. We weave our life and then move along in it. We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream. This is true for the entire universe” – David Lynch

I came out of my half-conscious state slowly, my noctambulisms ceased and plunged myself deep into the waters to gain clarity. The waterways course and bubble through the tunnels at the roots of The Tree of Death which spring from deep within the earth. A ‘primordial ocean’ features in stories throughout the ancient world, especially creation myths, out of which they state the Gods and man arose. This water is home to She who owns the night, She who swallows all the water; the ancient chaos who lives in the meanderous labyrinths of the waters deep below the earth. Here, deep within, one may find the darkened jewels, which lurk within the hidden places. The tainted water must be skimmed, crumbling rocks upturned, and then polished to see if they shine.  Delving into Her black waters one may find themselves a step closer to the fountains of the deep, just be careful you are not perpetually glamoured by the Mauve Zone’s sinister delights – and remember, what is seen in the mirror is not in the mirror.

“Exhaustion and exhilaration shook me, accomplishment and dread filled me, judders and sighs, ecstasy and horror rocked my wind-swept mind. Those winds that had screamed down the sky, as they swept in from unknown spaces and wrapped themselves around abandoned time-battered towers, are now all but a distant memory. Inside the mirror, that mirror found deep within ourselves which gives access to that immeasurable gulf, lies deeper than sinew and tendon, matter and time.  Lost in inner-outer space; a vaster more appalling universe in which writhe and breed a multitude of nameless blasphemies, waiting to be nurtured.”   – Cold Shards Fall Unto My Refracted Oblivion

Cold Shards Fall Unto My Refracted Oblivion

Sarah-Jayne Farrer

TUNNEL 29: Robert Anderson Plimer of Courtyard Alchemy

“She Sees” – Giselle Bolotin
“Lady of Vast Antiquity” – Sarah-Jayne Farrer
“Cold Shards Fall Unto My Refracted Oblivion: Inner-Outer Space” – Sarah-Jayne Farrer

[1] Edward Guantlett’s “Scale of the Serpent: 22 Typhonian Meditations” is available from Von Zos 
[2] The verse in Liber CCXXXI relating to Qulielfi
[3] Proverbs verse 5
[4] The Shadow Tarot: Linda Falorio
[5] “Behind each of the Sephiroth there are the secret pathways… pathways developed by very specialised magicians and their apprentices within various secret sects which are based entirely on magickal discoveries and insights, and communicated by initiations on each of the secret pathways” – Grade Papers
[6] Nightside of Eden: Kenneth Grant
[7]“Here we are given power to enter the "storehouse of dreams," the akashic records, the storehouse of racial and genetic memory, recapitulating the evolutionary past via the cerebellum, the back brain, Qoph, the back of the head. Thus falling backward out of time from Universe A into the dreamtime of Universe B everything is possible. Austin Osman Spare suggests gazing at one's thumb illumined by the Moon until the eyes go out of focus, when the thumb becomes an opalescent, fantastic reflection of Oneself.” – The Shadow Tarot: Linda Falorio

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