Monday, September 7, 2015

5 Ways To Enchant Your Day At The Beach

You never know when inspiration will sneak up on you. Every other year we try to get the whole family to get together for vacation. I thought our trip down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina would be a pretty uneventful time at the beach--but it turned out to be quite special. No matter where you go, or how long you get to stay, any trip can be magical with a little thought and preparation, so I put together some tips for making a day at the beach an enchanted adventure. 

1. Forget the sand castle--build a labyrinth...
Being from New Jersey, trips to the seaside were always a part of every summer, along with the building of a sandcastle. This year I was working on an essay for Llewellyn's Magical Almanac about labyrinths, part of which was explaining how to lay out a simple seed pattern. The sand proved to be a good medium for trying this out:

We dug a trench in a seed pattern (click HERE for instructions), then filled it with small pebbles that we found closer to the water. Every beach is different--you can just leave the trench, or fill it with shells. Give walkers an affirmation or have them make a wish before they enter ♥ 

2. Connect to the energy of the local wildlife...
Beach habitats are filled with animals and plants you probably won't see inland, and each has its own unique medicine.

The beaches of North Carolina are nesting grounds for sea turtles, who embody the energy of change--particularly beginnings and endings--feeling at home anywhere (turtles carry "home" on their backs), and connection to water. A few houses down from where we were staying, a nest was ready to hatch! We watched for a while (the volunteers at N.E.S.T. kept a round the clock vigil), but didn't see any turtles, only changes in the nest. It is a sacred privilege to see nature at work. Be safe and respectful when it comes to wildlife; observe it at a distance.

3. Find some fulgurite...
It's always fun to find shells on the beach, especially perfect ones, but there are other touchstones to be found along the shore including sea glass, hag stones (stones with natural holes in them) and fulgurite.

Also called thunder stone or natural glass, fulgurite is sand fused together by lightening. It can be found just about anywhere where there's sand including the beach and the desert. That encapsulated power is good for use in divination, making connections to other worlds as well as "cloud busting"--rainmaking.

4. Make a wish with water and light...
Make a wish and write it in the sand--and sometimes the sand will surprise you. There have been lots of pictures on the internet (like the one below snapped by Will Ho) of beaches alight with bio-luminescent plankton. There are spots around the globe where this phenomenon is a regular occurrence--but when the conditions are right, it could happen anywhere.

For a few days, the cresting waves crashing on the Outer Banks glowed green and when we wrote in the sand, it was like using a flowing, glowing fountain pen. Look for warm sea and air temperatures, northwesterly winds, and a full moon (our plankton appeared a day or two before she was full). Read more HERE, or, you can try growing your own. Seriously--have a look HERE.

5. Look for black sand--and bag it...
Black sand is super neat--and beaches made completely of black sand are found in a few places in the world (the best are in Hawaii). These are usually comprised of volcanic material, but many beaches have patches of black sand--not volcanic, but from "placer" deposits (like the photo below), gluts of valuable minerals--this is the stuff you'll find if you were panning for gold.

Black sand often contains--though tiny--ruby, sapphire, hematite, garnet, topaz, titanium,  and iron among other things.

I would love to hear about your seaside adventures and if you found this helpful. Thanks for reading, and safe travels!

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