The Book of Tides

a resource site for sea magick

What is a Sea Witch?

what is a sea witch
The Sea Witch tradition is associated with seafarers and beachcombers. It is a natural choice for those who are drawn to the element of Water. Sea Witches focus on moon lore, the ebb and flow of the tides, and practical weather magicks. All of these things focus on the element of Water to perform what is loosely termed "sea magick". If you do not live near the sea shore, your local lake, river, pond, or bathtub will work in a pinch to invoke the element of Water. Even a bowl of salt water placed on your altar with the proper intentions is sufficient for performing sea magick.

Sea Witchery is a darker path than the average Pagan cares to deal with. However, bear in mind that when you start working with the weather and the chaotic Oceanic environment, you are dealing with chaotic forces of nature. Unfortunately, most Pagans perceive chaos to be evil, but if it be called evil, it is a necessary evil.

Too many Pagans these days deal only with the light. The Sea Witch works with what is termed "grey magick" to maintain a balance of light and dark. It is definitely not a path for everyone. In fact, most Sea Witches are solitary, as few others enjoy the isolation of a sun-bleached cottage on a wind-swept seacoast.

Why sea witchery?

Early on I had not encountered any book that suggested specializing in a particular area of magick, Every book seemed with deal with the basics of Witchcraft (i.e. "Witchcraft 101"), but it was quite unusual to find a book covering more than the basics.

However, I started finding books about natural magick, and especially enjoyed reading the chapters about the magick uses of water and the gifts of the sea. It just seemed natural to specialize in sea magick since I have always been fascinated by the ocean and its wonders. After a bit of experimentation, I was able to start to work out correspondence charts for the watery realm. Once that was sorted out, it was possible to begin attempting basic sea magick spells.

Types of sea magick

What kinds of spells can one do with sea magick? Any type, but the materials used (the "spell components") will be sea-related. With a little reworking of any given spell, a pinch of sea salt will work in place of regular salt, and the types of shells available constitute an entire language of its own.

In fact, it is from the Sea Witch tradition tales evolved of women who could raise the winds to brew up storms, an accusation that even two hundred years ago could result in one being sent to the stake. A good storm (intended or not) will send the average Sea Witch running to charge his or her tools with the storm's energies.

Gods, spirits, and other entities of the Sea

Sea spirits are often capricious, but can be helpful to humans if approached properly and with due respect. They have long been regarded with a mixture of reverence and fear by those who would travel by sea. Most sea-farers would never consider leaving the shore without first making a suitable offering to ensure his or her safety while traveling across the waters.

Symbolism of the Sea

about sea gods The following items are associated with the Sea and its waters:

Note: If you are using any of the herbs in the form of essential oils, you will need a carrier oil such as jojoba oil to act as the base. I like the NOW brand jojoba oil, but use what you can acquire.

Names of the sea spirits

Selecting a magickal name

When choosing a water-based magickal name, there is truly no limit to the number of names one might choose from. There is an astonishing variety of sea-related names from which to choose. In addition to the numerous God and Goddess names available (Maris, Amphitrite, Neptune, etc.), any watery natural feature might provide the basis for an appropriate magickal name.

Consider just a few of these possibilities. One might just be the name to which you are most drawn.

magickal names

A ritual for dedication to the Sea

The time will come when you can no longer resist the call of this path. When that time comes, you should formally dedicate yourself to our Mother Ocean. A sand dollar is an oceanic pentacle with its five pointed star clearly marked.



Fill your cup with water, then hold the sand dollar and jewellry item above it.


sand dollar
This sand dollar is a symbol of my devotion
To Our Lady of the Sea.

By this gift of the Ocean
I dedicate myself to Her service.

So mote it be.

Wear your new item of jewellry and place the sand dollar on your altar as a daily reminder of your vow.

Further reading

You might also enjoy these books:

The Sea Priestess The Sea Priestess by Dion Fortune (1938): An introduction to Fortune's strongest character of Vivien Le Fay Morgan who is a Hermetic Path initiate.   Moon Magic Moon Magic by Dion Fortune (1957): The sequel to The Sea Priestess. The storyline is not as developed as The Sea Priestess. This was completed by one of the members of the Fraternity of Inner Light after her death.
Alone of all her sex Alone of All Her Sex: The myth and the cult of the Virgin Mary by Marina Warner (Alfred A. Knopf, 1976): Quite possibly the definitive work on the cult of the Virgin Mary, particularly in her guise as the Lady of the Seas. An excellent resource.    

These books can be difficult to find since many are out of print. Some great places to buy used books online include:

Tealmermaid's Treasure Grotto