Sualocin of the Rushing Waves, the Numberless Caves and the Lovely Sea
The Sualocin talismans are hand crafted from jewellers wax and cast in solid Sterling Silver they are set with Abalone shells, Mother of Pearl and Pearls. A mixture of dried herbs - blue lotus, hawthorn, sage and mint are placed under the abalone shell settings and encapsulated in resin.
There are many paths to Sualocin, the binary alpha star in the eye of the Delphinus (dolphin) constellation. In my experience that the most visceral connection to the star Sualocin is found through mermaid- esque water nymph spirits. It was Sasha Ravich who first pointed me in this direction and the association resonated. A majority of my work is done though the lens of ancient Greek mythos and so I went to the Orphic Hymns looking for a confirmation and found it in the Hymn to the Nereids who are described as dolphins.
Hymn to the Nerieds
from the Orphic Hymns, translated by Athanassakis and Wolkow
O lovely-faced and pure nymphs,
daughters of Nereus, lord of the deep,
at the bottom of the sea
you frolic and dance,
fifty maidens revel in the waves,
maidens riding on the backs of Tritons,
delighting in animal shapes,
bodies nurtured by the sea,
and in the other dwellers
of Triton's billowy kingdom.
Your home is the water,
you leap and whirl round the waves
like glistening dolphins
roving the roaring seas.
I call upon you to bring much prosperity to the initiates,
for you were first to show the holy rite of sacred Bacchos
and of pure Persephone,
you and mother Kalliope
and Apollon the lord.
The more I looked for associations between dolphins and Nerieds the more threads I found. Amphitrite, one of the most well known of the Nereids, was said to be the mother of dolphins, and there are many depictions of sea nymphs with, and riding dolphins in ancient art and literature.
There are as many lenses to view the nymph spirits of Sualocin as there is mermaid folklore world over. I choose to take root in Greek mythology as the living myths of the ancient Greeks resonate deep within me and speak to my spirit, heritage and ancestral home, as I am a first generation Greek- Australian, my family being from the Odyssian island of Ithaca. The sea nymph elementals called the Nereids were my entry point to the Sualocin Working. Which by twist and turn led me to the understanding that the spirits connected to this star was also of a horse-nature due to ongoing synchronicities involving horses and dream-visions of horse spirits. When I delved deeper into my research I was delighted to find this understanding, while at first seemingly at odds, was in fact intrinsically connected to the Nereids by way of their amalgamation. For their names are suggested by scholars to be epithets and when all fifty are joined together they become an invocation to a primordial sea-mare mother divinity that is thought to predate the Greeks.
This overview of the Sualocin working includes the astrological elections, details on the making as well as some of the qualities and properties of these talismans. I weave this together with stories from Greek mythology, the reason I lean so heavily into myth in my work can be summed up in a sentence by the late Jake Statton-Kent:
“Myth endows a spirit with a history, a family, a residence in the universe and precedence for tasks undertaken on behalf of magicians and their clients…Endowed with a personality, the spirit becomes an active participant in the ritual and the creation of rituals.”
I’m also delighted to welcome back Sasha Ravich who has contributed a pact forming rite to accompany these talismans - and shared some of her own experiences which you can find an extract of at the end of my write-up.
The Sualocin working began in winter on the day of Venus’ exact conjunction to the projected degree of Sualocin with the Moon casting her rays from an exacting square. I visited Evergreen Beach; a beach hidden at the edge of a forest filled with evergreens and moss covered tree skeletons. It was high tide and the water had risen to engulf the pebble beach so that only a pocket remained. Looking out into the water I called to Sualocin and the Nereids and proffered offerings of sweets, incense and flower petals. Mesmerised by the light that danced and glistened luminous on the water's surface, I felt heard, and asked for confirmation, something out of the ordinary and headed back through the reaches of the skeleton-trees to the path. Minutes later I sensed a presence behind me and turned to see two men on horseback coming up behind. A most unusual occurrence. There was only one path leading to the shore and it was high tide. It felt like they appeared out of nowhere, in any case, the sight of horses in this area was indeed out of the ordinary and especially synchronistic considering visions of sea-horses and hippocamps that had been dancing in my mind's-eye all morning.
Sualocin as you may know is not named as one of the 15 Behenian Stars, therefore we have no reference tables of images, gemstones, and herbs from mediaeval grimoires to draw from. Instead we have an opportunity to rewild talismanic art by stepping outside the straight lines of the formulaic tables and into the words and worlds of the poets and our own gnosis. Shortly after Evergreen Beach I decided that the image for Sualoicin would be the seahorse and began carving the designs from jewellers wax. Often the work is hard, with many stops and starts and discarded efforts, but then there are occasions when pieces come together in a fervour. I will lose time, sitting for long stretches lost in the work and when I emerge I am usually the first to be surprised by what I have created. This was one of those times.
Correspondences for Sualocin:
Colours: Purple, Pink, Violet, Sea-green, Gold
Suffumigation: Myrrh, Sage, Hawthorn, Blue Lotus, Mint, Rose, Geranium,
Flowers: Water Lilies, Water Poppy, Roses, Morning Glory, Water Hawthorn, Verbena
Gemstones: Abalone Shell, Pearl, Mother of Pearl, Coral
Invocations and Prayers: Orphic Hymn to the Nereids, Invocation of Sualocin (Sasha Ravich), Invocation of the Sea- Horse Mother (myself)
Other: Caves, Honey, Seashells, Silk, Mirrors, Hippocamp, Seahorses, Horses, Horsehair, Dolphins, Sea Glass, Sea Creatures, Ocean Sounds, Rose Petals, Sweets
I chose two elections for Sualocin, the first being the heliacal rise of the star - if you want to learn about the meaning of heliacal rises I recommend reading my writing for the Antares Talismans. I calculate the helical rise as the true, first visible rise of the star in my location. The heliacal rise of Sualocin coincided with the yearly king-tide. During this election I combined and ground-together herbs for fumigation and to be placed under the gemstones settings. I meditated on the character of Sualocin, I created it (with divination approval) and engraved it onto the abalone and mother of pearl gemstones.
The morning of the second election I woke at 4am from a most lucid vision-dream which was too obviously connected for me to omit (so bear with me). I was in a large wooden lodge with many open windows and doors. It was full of spirits and a young woman singing an enchanting song, her voice ethereal and otherworldly. I moved onto a large open veranda, looking out I saw golden rolling Elysian hills against a golden sky. Through the hills ran majestic horses with golden manes undulating like waves as they ran unbridled and free. As they cavorted my heart burst with joy, it was euphoric just to be in their presence, to behold their splendour. I felt my fears and pain washed away and was filled with an ecstatic sense of freedom.
Bathing in the afterglow of this dream I prepared myself for the final election. I decided to use the elected window to complete the talismans as per the directions for the creation of fixed star talismans in Agrippa. In ritual I set engraved gemstones into each talisman placing the corresponding herbs underneath *note that I encapsulate all herbs in a resin unless stated otherwise. I used a suffumigation of myrrh, sage, hawthorn, blue lotus and mint, the Orphic Hymn to the Nereids and the Invocation of Sualocin.
Situating the Nereids
This story of the Nereids begins with the titans Tethys, the goddess of fresh water which nourishes the earth, and Oceanus, god of earth encircling fresh water. As lovers (not fighters) Tethys and Oceanus were disinterested in the wars and quibbles of the other gods and they set themselves instead to procreation, baring three thousand children, amongst them are the Okeanid-nymphs known as the Naiads. The Naiads are the nymphs of fresh water. The Naiad Doris who was considered to be the - goddess of river mouths where fresh water mingled with sea water - wed the sea-god Nereus known as the - truth-telling old man of the sea - and together they bore the fifty Nereids or sea nymphs.
The sea nymphs are known mostly as benevolent, protective forces of exceptional charm and beauty. Described as nymphs with flower-like faces, the Nereids symbolised everything that is beautiful and kind about the sea. As goddesses of the sea's rich bounty they are known as protectors to sailors and fishermen alike, often coming to the aid of those in distress. They delight in gaiety, their likening to dolphins is emblematic of their playful and freedom loving nature. They are skilled in the arts and are said to have melodious voices.
The qualities of the Nereids is reflected in the Sualocin talismans and these some of the possible effects and experiences you may have:
Propensity to turn up your charm dial, I’m talking attraction and seduction.
The fertile creativity that is the hallmark of all water spirits is strong.
Emphasis on freedom - whatever freedom means to you - Sualocin wants to gallop you there.
A protective quality - more gentle than fierce - think guiding and averting danger.
Fun and frivolity for the Nereids delight in leisure, dance, and games.
While the Nereids delight in surface (water) activities their home is in the deep grottos of the sea and it is in these depths we find another side of the Nereids' nature. Earlier I stated that Diana Rosenberg described Sualocin as a psychopomp star, interestingly the Nereids are also known to be psychopomps; in ancient Greek religion they were goddesses of mourning and transition. Like the sea journeys for which the Nereids provide aegis, the process of death may also be understood as a journey - from this world to the next - and the Nereids are known to oversee both types of passage. In ancient literature there are many accounts of the Nereids leading burial rites and escorting the dead on their (sea) journeys to the afterlife, serving as attendants during mourning and funeral rites as well as the reincorporation process.
The Sualocin talisman may serve as protector and escort through critical life transitions /initiations/ symbolic deaths, this journey or rite of passage consists of a separation from one state, a transitional phase, and a reincorporation into a new state of being.
Extending on this the Nereids are also credited with both the gift of prophecy and the powers to immortalise individuals upon death. The most dramatic examples are to be found in the stories of Peleus’ and Ino’s immortalisations. In both these stories we see Nereids coming to the aid of humans whose spirits are broken and are undergoing physical or metaphysical deaths. The story of Peleus’ immortalisation is told in Euripides' Andromache:
King Peleus’ despairing due to the death of his last living son Achillies relinquished his throne and cried:
“O city, I am dead. Farewell, my sceptre! ... And you, Nereid in your dark cave, shall see me fallen into utter destruction.” (Eur. Andr. 1214)
Hearing his cry the Nereid Thetis came to him as a divine vision and took pity on him - as they had once been married and she was the mother of Achillies - and so she granted him the gift of immortality:
I shall set you free from mortal woe and make you a god, deathless and exempt from decay. And then you shall dwell with me in the house of Nereus, god with goddess, for all time to come…go to the hollow cave on the ancient promontory of Sepias and sit. Wait there until I come from the sea with a chorus of fifty Nereids to escort you. (Eur. Andr. 1231)
The story of Ino is a further example of the Nereids' power to bestow immortality. Ino, the Theban princess is sister to Semele, the mother of Dionysus with Zeus being the father. Because of Semele’s death Ino nursed and raised Dionysus, this created great jealousy in Hera who in vengeance drove king Athamas, Ino’s husband to insanity. Frenzied Athamus tried to murder Ino and she plunged herself into the sea to escape. In the sea she entered the sphere of the Nereids where she was immortalised, becoming Leucothea (Leucothoe) the Nereid who is known for her oracular gifts of dream analysis which she shared at her sanctuary in Laconia.
Facilitates development or enhancement of seership
Wearing during sleep may induce lucid or vivid dreams
Leucothea plays perhaps one of the most prominent roles as guide and protectress of a lost sailor in Homer’s Odyssey. Odysseus had been living on an island as the unwilling lover of the Nereid Calypso - yes the Nereids are also known for abduction and taking lovers against their will. Calypso had offered Odysseus immortality to stay and be her eternal lover, but the price was too great for Odysseus who was homesick and pining for his wife Penelope in Ithaca. Finally the gods intervened and instructed Calypso to assist him in making his way home. Calypso did so but not without warning that his journey would not be easy and he would find great peril at sea.
Without Leucothea’s assistance, Odysseus would have perished before he made it to Ithaca. He was on the last stretch of his sea journey when Posiedon sent a great storm. Plunged underwater Odysseus was almost drowned, and when the sail of the raft was broken so was his hope. Leucothea came to his aid giving him a magic veil that would see him safely to land in this passage from the Odyssey:
But Ino saw him—Ino, Kadmos’ daughter,
slim-legged, lovely, once an earthling girl,
now in the seas a nereid, Leukothea.
Touched by Odysseus’ painful buffeting
she broke the surface, like a diving bird,
to rest upon the tossing raft and say:
“O forlorn man, I wonder
why the Earthshaker, Lord Poseidon, holds
this fearful grudge—father of all your woes.
He will not drown you, though, despite his rage.
You seem clear-headed still; do what I tell you.
Shed that cloak, let the gale take your craft,
and swim for it—swim hard to get ashore
upon Skhería, yonder,
where it is fated that you find a shelter.
Here: make my veil your sash; it is not mortal;
you cannot, now, be drowned or suffer harm.
Only, the instant you lay hold of earth,
discard it, cast it far, far out from shore
in the winedark sea again, and turn away.
William Blake immortalised this story in his painting “The Sea of Space and Time” on the left we see Posiedon in the water, and on the land we see Odyssus kneeling by the shore with Leucothea standing protectively over him shrouded in her magical veil. The cave of the nymphs found on Ithaca is depicted on the right. It is within this painting that we may glimpse further into the mysteries of the Nereids. Odysseus had rejected Calypso’s gift of immortality but still accepted Leucothea’s loan of the veil of immortality and this veil gave him safe passage through the turbulent sea so he may find his way to the safety of the shore. This veil can be seen as symbolic of the veils that were used to safeguard the holy mysteries from profane eyes, and to peer behind the veil is to bear witness to the great mysteries Blake alludes to in the title of this painting “The Sea of Space and Time”.
The cave of the nymphs depicted on the right speaks further to the mysteries, when Odyssus reaches his home of Ithaca he first spends time in the cave of the nymphs as described in this passage from the Odyssey:
There, on the inmost shore, an olive tree
throws wide its boughs over the bay; nearby
a cave of dusky light is hidden
for those immortal girls, the Naiadês.
Within are winebowls hollowed in the rock
and amphorai; bees bring their honey here;
and there are looms of stone, great looms, whereon
the weaving nymphs make tissues, richly dyed (sea-purple)
as the deep sea is; and clear springs in the cavern
flow forever. Of two entrances,
one on the north allows descent of mortals,
but beings out of light alone, the undying,
can pass by the south slit; no men come there.
The cave, which is described as having two entrances one for mortals and the other for immortals, represents a place of transition, a space between two worlds and is symbolic of the nature of the nymphs. To pass through the cave requires a transformation and the nymphs are the liminal beings that stand at the threshold. As agents of change the nymphs offer protection and prophetic guidance to those who walk the treacherous path seeking initiation into their mysteries.
Finding our way to the Primoridal Mother, Mare of the Sea
Earlier I described some of the horse synchronicities I experienced during this working. There was a deep knowing within me that there must be a connection to be found within the Greek mythos and while I found much about Poseidon being originally the god of a horse cult before he was a god of the seas, the most noteworthy and exciting discovery I made was in connecting and combining the epithets of the Nereids to Hesiod.
It is within the pages of Hesiod’s Theogony we find the first recorded catalogue of the Nereids. It has been suggested by scholars that in writing the Theogony, Hesiod sought to unite Greece in bringing together the gods of the indigenous people with the gods of the Greeks in his great work. In the introduction to The Orphic Hymphs, Athanassakis and Wolkow posit that the catalogue of the Nereids as found in the Theogony is a fragment of religious text from an older tradition and the names of the Nerieds are in fact epithets of a primordial divinity; a Mother of the Waters:
“Hesiod's catalogues of the daughters of Nereus and of the daughters of Okeanos are religious documents [that] come from an old religious tradition. A deity must be invoked by words that refer to its attributes. In all likelihood the names of the daughters of Nereus are in fact epithets of the sea, at times older than even Hesiod, epithets that point to a Mother of the Waters. The sea has countless potencies, countless faces. The sea is both a great blessing and treacherous element that is fraught with peril. 'The fact that great numbers of feminine divinities, essentially Daughters of the Sea, so frequently rise out of the sea is indicative of a deeply entrenched and old religious feeling that the sea às feminine and maternal, a huge counterpart to the masculine sky. Zeus is the Indo-European sky god. When people pray to him they also pray to the sky. In a tradition that pre-dates the arrival of the Greeks in Greece, the sea and its in-dwelling divinities must have received more attention. The new religion that emerged introduced a male god whose dominion became preeminent. The lists of the daughters of Nereus are prayer lists that come from an older religious order. Every one of these names has a meaning.”
I was not able to find a complete version of what Athanassakis and Wolkow coined as a prayer list to the Mother of the Waters, so I set to completing it myself, taking word for word the passage that catalogues the Nereids from Hesiod’s Theogony and replaced each Nereid’s name with her epithet as listed in Kerenyis, The Gods of the Greeks. I am ecstatic to share my findings, which is without a doubt an invocation to the Mother of the Waters who is also of horse nature, for she is described multiple times as a horse. I have given her the title: Primoridal Mother, Mare of the Sea and I recommend using this Invocation/ prayer in your devotions to Sualocin.
The Epithats of the Nerieds - Invocation to the Primoridal Mother, Mare of the Sea
First One, bringer of fulfilment, sea-goddess, and saviour,
She of good gifts, great mistress of the sea, calm weather, and the sea-green,
Of the rushing waves, of the numberless caves, swift (nimble), and the lovely sea,
Seen by all, the awakener of desire, and of the happy victory of the rosy arms.
Graceful honey sweet, she of good haven, and noble,
The giver, the bringer, and of the powerful seas,
The dweller on the islands, the dweller on the coasts, and the first queen,
Gift giver, all seeing and knowing, and of the beautiful milky white,
Swift as a mare, the lovely, and wild as a mare of the rosy arms,
The wave-gather, who with the wave stiller, and the fair-ankled sea-goddess,
Easily calms the waves in the misty sea and the gusts of stormy winds,
Wave-goddess, shore-goddess, and fair-wreathed sea-goddess,
Laughter-loving dweller in the green-sea, and seafarer,
Smooth talking, eloquent, and queen of the people,
Giver of reason, giver of inspiration, and the redeeming mistress (queen of freedom),
Of the lovely body and unblemished face,
The sand-goddess of the graceful build, and splendid brave and courageous mare,
The island-goddess, she of good escort, customs and providence,
And truthful, whose mind is like that of her immortal father.
Excerpts from the Pacting Rite by Sasha Ravitch
O! Euphorbraxiis! Lady of a Thousand Bleeding Grins, She Who Swims the Sea into Waves of Abandon, Waves of Unconditional Pleasures, Waves of Rolling Laughter! She, Who with Her Sisters, casts the World in Rose Gold, Makes More Redolent the Smell of Perfumed Air, Braids Dreams into Reality through the Gilded Scrimshaw of Her Nails. O! Euphorbraxiis! My Lady, My Lover, the Many Faceted Jewel of the Ocean’s Endless Horizon, the Queen of Bedlam Burning Bright Across the Slurries, the Sailor’s Mirage of Ardor, the Scarlet Siren of the Sea!
These Sisters are each extremely unique in personality, but they share many overlapping qualities that are kindred to the nature and virtue of the Star and her cadre of firmamental creatures: they are flirtatious and glamorous, they are alluring and enchanting, they are pleasure-seeking and pleasure-curating, they are lovers of beautiful objects and people, they are revelers in playfulness and languor, they are ambitious and high spirited, they are driven toward freedom and abundance. They are unsympathetic to pity, malaise, and wallowing in one’s lack of satisfaction; instead, they curl themselves around you like silk scarves and whisper in your ear: “the world is your oyster”, and they, of course, are the Pearl which makes everything so much more decadent, so much more liberating, so much more empowering.
The aphrodisiac nature of these spirits is accompanied by the power of their glamour and magnetism, their coquettish charisma, and their desire to revel in embodied sensuality. They want you to swim in the waters of ecstatic enchantment with them, and it will be very tempting to allow yourself to, with reckless abandon, acquiesce to their constant call for play. (Talisman makers edit: I find this not to always be the case and is more dependent on your personality) This is why the Rite includes a consecrated horse-bit, which you will use to help rein in some of the wildness these spirits bring to the Witch Body and the life of the Witch, in turn.
Following as you did the previous steps, speak this aloud while anointing the pink rose:
“For I, [name here], run free with my Sisters, pink as the cheeks flushed within unquiet yearning, swollen with ardor and made supple with cunning. I am the gift of unabashed pleasure, I swim in Desire and flirt without fret. I am the pink-wild wondrous rapture, and in the grotto of Euphorbraxiis I am granted my access. Cleave open your bosom and allow me into the Heart of Beauty.”
The increase in creativity has been profound, as well, but not in the ways I had initially anticipated. At first I had suspected this would provide immediate boons to my writing and material productivity around creative endeavors; however, as with most matters of witchcraft, it was not as direct as that. Instead, I became the art, I began to embody the phantasy, the mirage, the ideal, the world I wanted to enter, the spirit I wanted to dance with, the creature I dreamed of. Reality blended, blurred, and softened enough at the edges to allow me to hedgeride the boundary between the mundane and the numinous, and instead of creating contrived art to post as content, I began to live as creation itself: a rosey womb birthing dreams into reality, and re-enchanting the viscera of daily living.
The most profoundly beautiful part of this experience has been that these talismans are genuinely capable of radically and demonstrably transforming your life. I have never had such vivid, transformative experiences in relationship to a talisman (and I have a number of talismans!), nor have the spirits associated with the talismans shown up in such tremendously material and immediate ways. I could wax philosophically, poetically, romantically about Euphorbraxiis and Her Sisters all day, but I want to return to the most beautiful gift these relationships have provided me with: a return to a truly active agency in my life, and my life’s pursuit of pleasure, of sating desire, of being unashamed or unafraid of living, and perhaps more distinctly, living well. Without hesitation I can say I am a much more active and present agent in my own fate-making, and where once I might have shied away or felt doubt or insecurity, I feel reborn in a sea-foam sweet confidence and a fealty to creating my life in its most idyllic image. Each day, and each interaction with my Sister, and with this talisman, has led to untold joys, to the capacity to turn tides and change outcomes, and gallop through life with a sense of re-wilded delight in the inscrutable potential before me.****
Stratton-Kent, J. Geosophia the argo of magic: From the greeks to the grimoires. Scarlet Imprint/Bibliothèque Rouge, 2010.
Euripides, Andromache, Line 1.” Perseus Digital Library, https://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Eur.%20Andr. Accessed 13 Apr. 2023.
Athanassakis, Apostolos N, and Benjamin M Wolkow. The Orphic Hymns. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.
Barringer, Judith M. Divine Escorts: Nereids in Archaic and Classical Greek Art. University of Michigan Press, 1995.
Hesiod, and Apostolos N Athanassakis. Theogony. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022.
Homer, and Robert Fitzgerald. The Odyssey. New York, Farrar, Straus, And Giroux, 1998.